Council tax discounts and exemptions

Find out what discounts or exemptions you might get on your council tax bill.

You might be able to pay less council tax if you come under one of the discounts or exemptions below.

Types of discounts and exemptions

Single person

If you are the only adult (anyone 18 or over) living in your home you can apply for a 25% discount on your council tax bill.

Your home must be your only or main residence for you to apply.

When you apply you will need to provide your council tax account reference and the details of any adults who have moved out of your property.

If you get council tax support your 25% discount will be taken off the full amount of your council tax, and your council tax support entitlement will be worked out again.

Apply for a single person council tax discount

Remove your single person discount

If you should not be getting a single person discount - for example if your partner has moved in with you - you can ask for the discount to be taken off your bill.

Remove a single person council tax discount


If you are a full-time student you don't have to pay council tax.

You are considered a full-time student if:

  • you are aged 18 or over and are at college, university or similar (including student nurses and foreign language assistants)
  • your course lasts at least 24 weeks in the year and it involves at least 21 hours of study a week

When you apply you will need to prove your student status with either:

  • a student ID from the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, University for Creative Arts or Canterbury College and
  • a copy of your student certificate given to you by the college or university.

You can get a 25% discount on your council tax bill if you live with students and you're the only other person over 18.

Apply for a student council tax discount or exemption

People under 20 in further education

If you get child benefit for someone who is:

  • living with you
  • aged over 18 and
  • in full-time further education

and you are the only other adult living in the property, you can apply for a 25% discount on your council tax.

The further education course must last at least three months and include 12 hours of work a week to qualify.

When you apply you will need to provide proof of the student's status. This can include proof of child benefit, a student certificate, or a letter from the head teacher with the course start and end dates.

Apply for an under 20s further education council tax discount


Apprentices are not counted for council tax.

This means you can get a 25% discount on your council tax if you are the only adult in your household other than an apprentice.

An apprentice is someone who is:

  • employed to learn a trade, a business, a profession or a vocation
  • receiving training leading to a qualification accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority
  • gets a salary or allowance (or both), which are in total less than £195 gross a week (before deductions – we don't count bonuses and overtime) and
  • can expect to earn a lot more when they are qualified.

When you apply you'll need to give us a letter from the employer confirming the start and end dates of the apprenticeship and a wage slip.

Apply for an apprentice council tax discount

Youth trainees

Youth trainees are not counted for council tax.

This means you can get a 25% discount on your council tax if you are the only adult in your household other than a youth trainee.

A youth trainee is someone who:

  • is under 25 years old and
  • is training under an individual training plan funded by the Skills Funding Agency or Young People's Learning Agency.

Youth Credit, Options, Future and Next Step trainees are also eligible if they are under 25.

Apply for a youth trainee council tax discount

Houses having repairs done

Important information

We've made the decision to remove the discount previously given to properties undergoing structural alteration or major repair. 

If you applied before 1 April 2024, we will process them as normal and give the award if you meet the criteria. If your property already has the discount applied, this will continue for the maximum 12 months or until the property is furnished and occupied. For example, if a discount was awarded 10 October 2023, it will not be removed until 9 October 2024 (as long as nothing changes).

About the houses undergoing repair discount

If your property needs or is undergoing structural alterations or major repair to make it liveable you might get a 100% discount on your council tax for up to 12 months. The property must be empty before any work starts.

If the property is still empty and unfurnished after 12 months, you might have to pay a long-term empty premium charge

Properties that can get a discount

The property must be unfurnished and unoccupied and:

  • be undergoing major repair works or structural work, or
  • it had major repair or structural work done and less than six months have passed since it was completed and the property is still empty.

Unfurnished means it must have no furniture that would make it liveable, including beds, chairs and tables, wardrobes and cabinets, TVs and other personal items.

Structural alterations are work that would change the fabric of the property and make it unliveable - for example, removing a load-bearing wall.

Examples of work that qualifies

  • structural repairs to the main structure of the property, like major roof repairs, replacing defective solid floor or ceiling joists, rebuilding internal or external walls
  • major electrical rewiring
  • major replumbing
  • walls being removed
  • underpinning because of subsidence
  • replacement of kitchen or bathroom together with other works
  • a considerable amount of work to make the property liveable with substantial repairs costs

Examples of work that does not qualify

  • general refurbishment and modernisation, like replacing just a kitchen and bathroom
  • new heating including repairs and renewals of services
  • replacement or repairs of bathroom and kitchen or any other fittings or fixtures
  • timber or damp proof treatments
  • replastering and redecoration in between tenancies
  • repointing or window or door replacement
  • minor alterations to the structure, like roof windows

If the work involves more than one of the above, it might still be considered for a discount as 'a considerable amount of work'.

Apply for a council tax discount for a house having work done

People with disabilities

If you have adapted your home to meet the needs of a disabled person who lives there full time and is permanently or substantially disabled because of illness, injury, congenital deformity, or another reason, we might be able to reduce your council tax bill (known as disability relief).

The disabled person does not need to be an adult for you to qualify for the discount.

Properties that can get disability relief

To get a reduction the property must have at least one of the following:

  • a room other than a kitchen or bathroom which the disabled person needs, or
  • a second kitchen or bathroom (not toilet) which the disabled person needs, or
  • enough floor space to allow the use of a wheelchair by the disabled person.

Rooms that are counted for the discount are as follows:

  • a specially built treatment or therapy room
  • a room used to store medical equipment
  • a room adapted for dialysis treatment
  • a specially adapted bedroom

The second bathroom or kitchen must be essential to meet the needs of the disabled person. They don't need to use it all the time, it can be occasional use. 

If they need to use a wheelchair this must be for indoor use as well as outside. The discount won't apply if the wheelchair is only stored inside or they normally use it inside but can't because of narrow doors or corridors.

The wheelchair they use must be considered of 'major importance' for their wellbeing. This means:

  • they would find it physically impossible or very difficult to live in the property without extra space, or
  • their health would suffer or their disability might get worse without the space

Care homes that can get disability relief

To get a reduction you must:

  • show that there is a feature in the home that specifically meets the needs of a person or their disability, even if it's used by other residents. For example, this could be a second bathroom on the ground floor because they can't use the bathroom on another floor.
  • show that the extra room or space is related to the disabled resident - if there is a disabled resident living there but you have no extra rooms or space, you won't get a discount.

Apply for council tax disability relief

We'll contact you when we've had your application. 

If the discount is given then your council tax bill will be reduced to the next band down. If your home is in Band A we'll reduce your bill by 1/9th of the Band D charge. You'll get a new council tax bill showing the discount.

You can still apply for another council tax discount or exemption or council tax support if you get the award.

People who are severely mentally impaired

If you live with someone who is severely mentally impaired and you're the only other adult in your home you can apply for a 25% discount on your council tax bill.

If everyone living in a property is severely mentally impaired then the household will not have to pay any council tax.

When you apply you will need to have your form signed by a doctor or someone in the medical profession and submit proof of one of the following benefits:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • the high or mid rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • an increase in the rate of Disablement Pension
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support (which includes a disability premium)
  • the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Unemployability Supplement
  • Unemployability Allowance 
  • Universal Credit (that includes an element for limited capability to work, or limited capability for work and work-related activity)

You can download and complete the severe mental impairment council tax discount form and return it to us:

Carers and people being cared for

If you are a care worker or home carer, you or the person you're caring for might be able to pay less council tax, as long as:

  • you leave your property empty when you move to look after someone or get care, and
  • you are permanently living at the new address.

Who counts as a carer

A home carer is someone who:

  • lives with the person they care for
  • provides care for an average of at least 35 hours a week
  • is not caring for their husband, wife, or partner
  • is not a parent caring for a child under 18.

The person you care for must be getting one of these benefits:

  • higher or lower rate of Attendance Allowance
  • higher or middle rate of care component of Disability Living Allowance
  • the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
  • an increase in the rate of Disablement Pension or an increase in Constant Attendance Allowance

A care worker is someone who:

  • provides care or support on behalf of a relevant body - like a local authority or charity - or was introduced to, and is employed by, the person they care for by a relevant body
  • is employed to provide the care for at least 24 hours a week
  • is paid £44 or less per week and lives in the property provided by their employer or the relevant body to carry out the work.

Apply for a carers or people being cared for discount

How you apply depends on where you've moved to do the care work or where you are getting care. 

If you've moved to a hospital, care home, or nursing home, apply for a care home or hospital discount.

If you've moved somewhere else, apply for a council tax discount if you're getting care somewhere else.

If you're giving care to someone, apply for a care provider discount.

People living in an annexe

If you live in an annexe then you won't have to pay any council tax if the annexe:

  • is counted for council tax separately to the rest of the property, but a dependent relative is living in it as their main home
  • can't be let separately from the property without breaching planning permission
  • is only lived in by students or people under the age of 18 

If the type of annexe you have means you still have to pay council tax you might be able to get a 50% discount if:

  • the annexe is part of a single property and is being used as part of the main home by the person who pays the council tax
  • you are a relative of the person who pays the council tax on the main property and the annexe is your main home

Apply for an annexe council tax exemption or discount

People that go into prison or are detained

If someone living with you goes into prison or is detained, and without them you are the only adult living in your home, you can apply for a 25% discount on your council tax. 

If a property is left empty because the person who used to live there has gone into prison or is detained under the Immigration or Mental Health Acts you can apply for an exemption.

You won't be able to get a discount or exemption if the person is in prison for not paying their council tax.

Apply for a prison or detainment council tax discount

People living in armed forces accommodation

Properties owned by the Secretary of State for Defence held for the purposes of UK armed forces accommodation - including barracks and military bases - are exempt from paying council tax.

Apply for an armed forces council tax exemption

People living in a religious community

If you are a member of a religious community and apart from you there is only one adult living in your home, you can apply for a 25% discount on your council tax. 

You must be dependent on the religious community for things like food and clothing and must not have any income of your own. 

Apply for a religious community council tax discount

Diplomats and international representatives

Diplomats, members of visiting forces, and members of international headquarters don't have to pay council tax.

If someone living with you is a diplomat or international representative you might get a 25% discount on your council tax bill.

They must not be:

  • a permanent resident of the UK
  • a British citizen
  • a British subject or
  • a British protected person

Apply for a diplomat or representative council tax exemption

People living in hostels or night shelters

The owners of hostels and night shelters are responsible for paying council tax.

They can claim a discount on the bill if the main or only purpose of their property is to give people with no fixed address and no settled way of life somewhere to stay.

Apply for a hostels and night shelters council tax discount

People that have just left care

If you're leaving care to become independent and you are aged between 16 and 21, Kent County Council may be able to help support you.

You'll be able to get support if you're 16 or 17 and either of the following apply:

  • you've been looked after before, you started care after 14, or you are still in care
  • you're what is known as a relevant young person - you're not being looked after anymore but you were an eligible young person

You'll be able to get support if you're 18 to 21 and either of the following apply:

  • you were a relevant young person
  • you've left care having previously qualified for support, or been a relevant young person, or both

Apply for a care leavers discount

Charity buildings

You might not have to pay council tax for a property if it:

  • is empty and has been for less than six months
  • is owned by a charity or charitable organisation and was last used for that purpose.

Apply for a charity council tax exemption

People participating in Homes for Ukraine

The government has set out guidelines to help protect you if your council tax bill might have increased because you're hosting a Ukrainian refugee as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

What you need to do

For any discount or exemption below that normally applies to you, please contact our council tax team with the name(s) of the people you're hosting, the date they arrived at your home, and evidence that they can stay in the UK under the scheme.

Single person discount

If you're the only adult aged 18 or over in your home and are getting the single person discount, you will still get 25% off your bill.

Occupied properties that don't pay council tax

If your property is:

  • only occupied by students (class N)
  • only occupied by people under 18 (class S) or
  • only occupied by people who are severely mentally impaired (class U)

you will still get an exemption.

Empty properties that don't pay council tax

If your property is:

  • owned by a charity that is empty for less than 6 months (class B)
  • empty because someone is in prison or detained (class D)
  • empty because someone has moved into a care home or hospital (class E)
  • empty because the owner has died and probate is still to be awarded (class F)
  • empty awaiting a minister of religion to move in (class H)
  • empty because someone moved out to get personal care elsewhere (class I)
  • empty because someone moved to give personal care to someone (class J)
  • empty because it's owned by a student (class K)
  • repossessed (class L)
  • empty because someone went bankrupt (class Q)
  • empty because it forms part of an annexed property that can't be let out separately (class T)

you will still get an exemption if a Ukrainian refugee is living there.

Empty properties where full council tax is being paid

If you pay the full rate of council tax for an empty property - either furnished or unfurnished - and you host a Ukrainian refugee there you will get a 50% discount on the bill.

Because council tax bills have to be issued in the name of a UK resident, the person living there would then be liable to pay the other 50%. You might want to make the payment on their behalf, with the bill staying in your name -  in this case you could then also make a claim for council tax support.