50% Council Tax discount?

Discussion in 'Army Pay, Claims & JPA' started by FNUSNU, Apr 12, 2010.

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  1. In this months Soldier magazine, there was a reply from a Lt Col saying that the guide to council tax states:

    "If you have a second home because of the nature of your job, for example because you are a tenant publican or a member of the clergy and are provided with accommodation as part of your work, then the council
    must give you a 50% discount on your second home."

    Can anyone else advise further? My local council are very evasive and are suggesting that the forces aren't on the 'right list'. The above statement doesn't mention any list and suggests that any job that meets the criteria should get the discount, any ideas / advice??
  2. From my understanding as dealing with council tax enquirys (note I am not an actual council tax officer but a customer service advisor) I am lead to believe that to qualify then you have to live there as a condition of your job.

    For example the warden at a nursing home etc.

    I'll try and clarify the exact criteria at work tomorrow
  3. I can state with confidence that I am fully liable for my council tax on my property, unless it is occupied by tennants.

    I moved into a MQ last year and consequently rented my gaff out. Once it was empty, I spoke to the Borough Council who put a freeze on my Council Tax for 6 months (in which to find tennants). Fortunately this took 4 months otherwise I would have ended up paying full rate 2 months down the line.

    So if you are in a similar situation and currently own a house, but occupy either SFA or SSA - you are liable for council tax unless occupied by tennant (in which case they pay).

    On a final note - different boroughs operate under slightly different rules - so it's always worth giving their switchboard a ring anyway.
  4. I own a house which I pay council tax at 50% and is classed as my second home. My first home being the mess I live in during the week, and the odd weekend.
  5. This is not necessarily the same discount. As Jester stated many councils offer different discounts. Ours do a 10% second property discount and only offer the 50% if it is a condition of employment.

    Sorry to be pedantic Jester but the 6 month "freeze" is a Class C 100% empty & unfurnished discount. You are always liable unless it is being rented out basically, though to complicate matters you're still liable if the property is a HIMO (multiple occupancy - basically individuals renting rooms as opposed to a joint tenancy where all tenants rent the property together)

    The amount of times I hear people say that they are exempt / not liable etc.... grr! That said it's been 17 years since Council tax was created but people STILL call it Poll tax :twisted: !! Sorry I'm rambling now!!!
  6. Exactly Homer...being in the Army means it is a condition of employment. The guide is national so the local council shouln't matter. It seems that the discount isn't know about by many, and the councils woulndn't want us knowing either.
  7. You're right about it not being known well.. as stated I do it as my job and I can't recall the actual criteria!! I've can count on one hand the occasions I have discussed it in over a year of doing it!!

    That said I believe it's quite specific, i.e you have to live at that particular building rather then at a particular location due to posting. Like I said I'll refresh myself tomorrow with the good gen and update.
  8. Homer - not pedantic, that's pretty much spot on. My borough were happy that the furniture that was left in the house was not considered enough for basic living standards. I.e. A couple of chairs, one bed but no mattress, no bookcases, cabinets etc.

    And yes, it is now under a 4-way joint tennant occupancy. Not by room.

    But like we both referred to, it differs depending on which borough, as I found with mates at work, who weren't allowed so much as a lamp in the property for exemption.
  9. Thanks for the help, I look forward to your reply, have a good night!! (When I find my copy of Soldier I'll post the page the Lt Col's letter is on).
  10. First off cheers about this never knew it existed!

    If your place is unoccupied is it not rate free anyway or does that depend on the council?
  11. If the property is uninhabited and uninhabitable then you are entitled to a 100% freeze until it is inhabitable (I found during renovation that fitting the bathroom last of all pretty comprehensively made it uninhabitable).

    If the property is unoccupied, as has been discussed here, ad nauseum, you are entitled to a 50% reduction, but not all councils have the same guidelines and not all staff are aware of the national governing guidelines and can at times mislead callers (as happened to me with my property).

    The best way to resolve the issue is to write to the council tax offce and have them come out and review your proerty. That way a fully trained and informed assesor makes a fair and balanced assesment of your property and circumstances in concert with local and national rules for the application of council tax. It may be slightly more laborious, but it is the best way in the long run!
  12. The item is on page 64 of this months Soldier under 'PS...', written by a Lt Col, SO1 Families and Non-Oerational Welfare.
  13. can you get a discount if you go on tour?
  14. You get a rebate paid into your salary (at least I did anyway) and it's a small percentage - I cannot remember exactly how much. Either way, it was totally eclipsed by the Op Tour bonus.
  15. Dear FNUSNU,

    The problem is that you are probably being dealt with by someone who has no inkling of the regulations relating to crown employees and the like. You also do not state the status of the property. That said:

    If the property is unoccupied and unfurnished you should qualify for a rebate - some councils will give you 100%
    If the property is unoccupied and Furnished then you should qualify for about 50% reduction.
    If the property is occupied by only by your spouse/other half/live in/pet tortoise and or children and you visit only when on leave then you should qualify for a single occupany reduction.

    How to get it - write a letter to your council quoting you CT Ref No, address of the property and your contact address. Letter should be worded something like this:

    Dear Sir,

    I am currently serving with HM Forces overseas and maintain my own home at ___address___. But for my service overseas I would occupy the property, however currently is unfurnished/*furnished/* and/or unoccupied/occupied by my spouse. As you are aware, and pursuant to 1992 Social Security Administration Act, dispensation has been given to members of the armed services and I should be grateful if you would make the necessary reduction to my council tax from (insert date).

    I look forward to your prompt response,

    Yours faithully,

    Note - take the attack, use the legislation - they will then have to look it up. So far I have only had one awkward council and that was in Renfrewshire. The first letter was ignored the second letter was addressed to the Council Ombudsman - the soldier concerned got his rebate. NB they may request proof that your property has been empty from the date stated

    Hope this helps - PM me if you need further info