council tax on op tours

I am certain this must have been raised before but anyway...

Am off to a far away place in April and thought i would contact my local council to see if I was entitled to a council tax rebate/discount while my property is empty for the next 6 months. (am the sole occupier)

Was very surprised to hear that as forces personnel deploying on operations we are entitled to Zip, nil, nowt, didly...

Was even more surprised to hear that if i went down the road and mugged some poor old lady of her pension and got banged up then i would not have to pay a penny!!

Does this sound wrong to anyone else???


Sorry to hear that you wont get a rebate but sadly it does not surprise me.

Once again the hard working people are penilised whilst the scumbags get every entitlement going.

What a Sh1t country we are living in. Just have to watch the news any night of the week to see that this country is a fecking shambles.

Keep trying circus mate you never know somebody with a brain might realise that you are deserving of a rebate.


War Hero
If the property is not occupied, you can get a reduction. Some councils deem this to be no furniture in it, some deem it to be no beds (!) I spoke to the office and said i was going to live away and therefore the property would be empty. I had to give the address i was going to be at outside the uk and they reduced the bill to 25% i think it was. This was in 2004. When i came back i phoned them and told them my circumstances had changed and they recalculated the remaining 6 months with me living there.

I think i had to say i was away for indefinate future as i was working abroad, but so long as you correct it when you come back then alls fair.
I would get a discount (50%) if i was to remove all my furniture and place it in storage... however the cost of doing this (not to mention the hassle) would just not be worth it.

Am sure everyone else who has deployed is equally as put out by this.

sign of the times we live in today, when societys "pond life" get to pay nothing for breaking the law and those of us who pay our taxes and bills deploying on operations get shafted once again..


Nearly as demonstrably illogical and as unfair as those registered as blind being required to hold a television licence and prosecuted in default of compliance.

On this particular issue, I have heard it argued on behalf of the local authority that although the individual council tax payer is not the beneficiary in any personal sense of any of the local services for which council tax is required while he is out of the country - to suggest otherwise would be manifestly absurd, the property owned by him is.

Such property for example, if torched by vandals, still requires the paid services of the fire brigade, maintained and paid for by council tax payers. Such property requires to be policed, again, resourced by Council Tax payers, and so on. If a water main situated on the property bursts and causes a haazard while unoccupied, but nevertheless owned, it is the local authority who must find the resources necessary to enter the property and rectify the damage and so on and so fourth.

I take no particular view on the efficacy of such an argument other than to articulate it and invite comment upon it's utility.

Regards and best wishes


War Hero
Ask them specifically what furniture you need to remove, or more than that just pull the curtains. Providing no-one can see in who is to tell. My council told me just had to remove the beds so no-one could sleep there. I said i had they made the discount. I clearly could prove i wasnt living there and no-one else had access.

If you want to quote the council invovled pm me and i will name them.
The local council where my house is located refused to give me the second home discount, despite my having spent less than a month there in the last 6 years.

The principal reason given was that I could not demonstrate that I paid Council Tax for another home. I produced evidence of CILOCT being paid, but this was rejected on the grounds that CILOCT is paid to central government and not a local authority.

I wrote to my MP (a Cabinet minister), suggesting that this is an iniquitous situation. He was unable to provide anything like a cogent response - MOD claim they can do nothing as it's Treasury's responsibility whilst Treasury say MOD haven't suggested there's a problem.
Funnily enough i have also written to my local MP to seek assistance on this. Seeing as a large proportion of his area are Forces and the fact he used to be a shadow defence cabinet memeber, I thought he may be willing to fight the case. Nothing heard yet mind but it would certainly be a vote winner for him in his own area... but then pigs might fly ;o)


Papa_Lazarou said:
. I clearly could prove i wasnt living there and no-one else had access.

Just be carefull on your property insurance as well. most state property not to be unoccupied for periods of 28 days or less...


Rosie Brown housing specialist AFF has latest info on Council Tax Discounts. Apparently if you are serving in UK your empty home qualifies for 50% discount. HOWEVER IF YOU ARE SERVING ABROAD, your empty property only qualifies for 10%. With LOA in Germany going down think this stinks. Rosie Brown is trying to get this ruling changed so please email her with your comments
you only qualify for the 50% discount if the home is left unfurnished... i think carpets, curtains and fixtures (ie kitchen etc) can remain.. other wise you dont qualify for anything.

Cant comment on the Germany.... i know nothing about it..
Many councils will also only apply the 50% discount for 6 months, and some not at all.

The problem is that the legislation seems to have been so badly drafted that it can be interpreted in a number of ways.
perplexed said:
Rosie Brown housing specialist AFF has latest info on Council Tax Discounts. Apparently if you are serving in UK your empty home qualifies for 50% discount.


But not perhaps for much longer. In support of the Government's drive to reduce the amount of 'under-utilised' housing (their words not mine), councils are now starting to apply the full rate of Council Tax whenever a property is unoccupied.

Colchester has recently announced just such a policy (no link unfortunately). Impact will hit those letting properties as well as those actually deployed so best get those letting voids sorted soonest.



War Hero
I got into a bout of verbal with my local council over this when I went off for 8 months to Iraq. As everyone else has pointed out I got the square root of fukc all discount because as the lady said at the other end of the phone:

"It is still your house and you can go home whenever you want"

And there was me thinking I had to stay on Ops until I was told to sod off and go home.

Civvies - a virus on the military planet.
Iolis said:
Nearly as demonstrably illogical and as unfair as those registered as blind being required to hold a television licence and prosecuted in default of compliance.


I do not think that is illogical and unfair. A blind person can still listen to the telly. This is more so in the age of Freeview where radio channels can be decoded by tellys.

Hence it is logical that they pay half - the cost of and the very concept of a tv theres a debate.
well i have had a response back from my MP. He raised the issue with the head of the coucil and got the reply expected. He now says that he is going to raise this issue in Westminster.. should be interesting..

I suggest everyone contacts their local MP for support on this.. the more pressure is brought to bear then the better it might be..

I think everyone agrees that a discount seems only fair (say 50%)


All forces families living in married accommodation in England and Wales with a second home are entitled to a 50% second homes discount on their council tax. This concession was fought for by the forces policy branch unfortunately when they tried to extend the policy to families living abroad, it did not receive the ministerial support required as it was deemed to be unfair to other UK citizens living and working abroad on a temporary basis. If councils are not applying this legislation go onto the AFF website and click on the Council Tax on Second Homes link, you can then access the appropriate statutory instruments which refer to this legislation. Take these to your local council and if they still insist you are not enititled to the 50% discount, contact the AFF Housing Specialist on
The Department of Communities and Local Government have given the following reponses to questions on council tax for deployed personnel:

All Regular and Reserve service personnel who own or rent a private property remain liable to pay council tax on their own property to the local authority whilst absent from that property, as this normally remains their sole or main residence. Council Tax concessions are a matter for local authorities, rather than the MOD, and they are responsible for the intrepretation of regulations concerning 'sole or main residence'. In reaching their decision they consider case law arising from earlier council tax appeals which takes various factors into account including the amount of time spent at a property, whether it is the family home and security of tenure.
The interpretation of 'sole or main residence' was developed in a number of high court judgements concerning the community charge. Factors a local authority will take into account may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the place of residence of immediate family, the security of tenure and the reason for the occupation of the dwelling, for example, whether occupation is solely in relation to a job. Temporary absence from a property of either a long or short duration does not necessarily constitute a change of sole or main residence and there is no requirement that someone has to have their sole or main residence in this country.

Decisions about where a person has their sole or main residence are a matter for individual local authorities to determine. However if a person disagrees with a local authority's decision, they have the right of appeal to a local Valuation Tribunal.
Council Tax is essentially a means of contributing towards the cost of providing a range of services throughout a local area rather than a charge for specific services used or enjoyed directly by individual households. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) do not think it would be practicable or fair to charge council tax just on the basis of the services individuals use directly.

For forces families living in their own homes in UK, whose spouses are serving married unaccompanied abroad, believing that they should be benefiting from the single persons discount ....herewith the following reponse from DCLG:
This is down to the local authority to determine the sole or main residence of the service personnel.

Having read through this information, if you are still unclear as to where you stand in relation to Council Tax, please contact the AFF Housing Specialist, contact details on the AFF website at under Housing Specialist section.


War Hero
Do you know if it is possible to claim this back as we have been in this situation for two years now and have been paying full whack?


Book Reviewer
Ahhh Welcome to my world

I went on Telic 4 and have had these arguments for 2 years with York council
I left an empty house,cut the water off at the mains shut everything down
Tried to argue for a council tax let off to no avail
Heard every excuse in the book off them
If you left furniture there it is livable
You can come back to it any time you want
We still had to provide refuse collections and police
Are you saying you emptied my bins from an empty house?
Can you ring the police and ask them how many times they were called to my house
Errr Why
I want to know if they arrested your bin men for breaking in to my shed where I placed the unused empty bin
In the end I got told it was because the office of John Prescott had issued there was to be no discounts for soldiers on ops
In fairness to the lady she had every sympathy but couldn't do anything
By the way don't let pride get in thge way I went all the way to court and they arrested my wages and lifted £350 a month until they got there cash

How chuffed was I to read where my council tax went
From the Yorkshire evening press

TRAVELLER'S sites in York are getting a £300,000 facelift.

The money will be used to upgrade City of York Council's three authorised gipsy and traveller sites at James Street, Water Lane in Clifton and Osbaldwick.

The council submitted a bid for £402,220, although 25 per cent of this amount has to be met by the council.

A programme of work, which has already begun, will see electricity supplies at the James Street site upgraded, as well as the refurbishment of amenity blocks, the replacement of doors, the installation of fencing and improvements to drainage at all three sites.

Christine Shepherd, trust co-ordinator at York Traveller's Trust, said: "The traveller's community is pleased that these sites are being refurbished at last. There are about 52 pitches in total across the three sites and quite often there are two families to a pitch which is not ideal so any improvements are welcome."

The money equates to £6,000 per pitch.

Steve Waddington, head of housing services for the council, said: "It is particularly important to build on the early consultation because the gipsy and traveller community is one of the most socially excluded, deprived and isolated ethnic group in the UK.

Ther reason they are excluded is because you can't park within two miles of these camps and come back to your car window intact
Likewise the drains are fukced because of all the transit parts and shite down them

Nice to know we rank lower than Gypos and peadofiles

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