Discretionary Reduction Policy
POLICY FOR THE AWARD OF COUNCIL TAX DISCRETIONARY
Under Section 13A(1)(c) Local Government Finance Act 1992
This Policy applies to decisions made on or after 1 February
1.1 Section 13A(1)(c) of the Local
Government Finance Act allows a billing authority to reduce the
Council Tax payable after taking into account any discounts,
disregards, reliefs, and exemptions. It can be used for
individual cases or the Council can determine classes of case in
which liability is to be reduced.
Statement of objectives
2.1 The Council will consider
using its powers to reduce Council Tax liability for any Council
Tax payer or class of payer. The Council will treat all
applications on their individual merits, however, subject to
section 6 below, some or all of the following criteria should be
met for each case:
must be evidence of financial hardship or personal circumstances
that justifies a reduction in Council Tax liability.
taxpayer must satisfy the Council that all reasonable steps have
been taken to resolve their situation prior to application.
taxpayer has applied for Council Tax Support (if the dwelling is
the taxpayer’s sole or main residence).
taxpayer has applied for all other eligible, discounts, reliefs and
taxpayer does not have access to other assets that could be used to
pay Council Tax.
taxpayer can demonstrate that the current circumstances are
unlikely to improve in the following 12 months, making the payment
of Council Tax extremely difficult.
Council’s finances, taking into account the effect on Council Tax
yield, allow for a reduction to be made.
- It is
reasonable for the Council to award a reduction having regard to
the interests of other local Council Tax payers.
2.2 A Discretionary Reduction
should not normally be awarded where the outstanding Council Tax
has arisen as a result of fraud by the taxpayer or the taxpayer has
failed to provide information promptly.
3. Applying for
a Discretionary Reduction
application requesting the Council to use its discretionary powers
under Section 13A(1)(c) Local Government Finance Act 1992 to reduce
the amount of Council Tax payable must be made either in writing or
by electronic communications. It may be requested that an
application is made in a specific format or using a form that is
provided for the purpose of making an application. Such
evidence as the Council considers reasonable to enable it to make a
decision regarding an application must also be provided upon
must state the reason for the request and should supply evidence to
support the request.
are required to provide all information reasonably requested by the
Council. No reduction will be awarded in cases where
information reasonably requested by the Council is refused or has
not been supplied.
3.4 The Council may, at its sole
discretion, waive the requirement for a written application where
is it satisfied that it holds sufficient evidence to support a
decision to make an award of a discretionary reduction in
accordance with the other requirements of this Policy.
Determination of Applications for Discretionary Reduction
Applications which relate, or potentially relate, to a class or
classes of case (for example to grant an exemption to dwellings in
a locally flooded area) will be determined by the Executive
following consideration of a report from the Finance Portfolio
Holder and Chief Finance Officer.
Council’s Chief Finance Officer shall designate suitably
experienced and qualified officers to determine applications and
requests for review of decisions in respect of individual
cases. In making a determination under this Policy the
decision maker shall have due regard for the requirements of the
Discretionary Reduction awarded will normally be a percentage of
the net Council Tax liability (i.e. the Council Tax payable after
taking into account any exemption, discount, disregard, or relief)
for a specific period. The reduction may be up to 100% of the
Council Tax liability where this is considered appropriate having
regard to the individual circumstances of the application.
5.1 It was
the Council’s policy under the Council Tax Benefit regulations
where discretion was allowed to disregard in full any income from
war pensions. To the extent that Council Tax Reduction Scheme
(Prescribed Requirements) (England) Regulations 2012 and the
Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Default Scheme) (England)
Regulations 2012 allow, those sums shall also be disregarded for
the purpose of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
the law does not allow for such sums to be disregarded then a
discount shall be awarded under Section 13A(1)(c) Local Government
Finance Act 1992 so that the amount of Council Tax the person is
required to pay for any day shall be the same sum that the persons
would be required to pay were the income disregarded.
Awards outside the Scope of this Policy
Council does not wish to unduly fetter its discretion and
recognises that from time to time exceptional circumstances may
arise where it is appropriate to award a discretionary reduction
outside the criteria set out in this Policy.
Finance Portfolio Holder (or other person authorised through the
Council’s Constitution) may determine an award outside the scope of
this policy if satisfied that there are very exceptional
circumstances that justify an award having regard to the interests
of other local Council Tax payers.
Period of Award
award of any reduction will not normally be backdated to reduce
liabilities in respect of which a demand notice was first issued
more than 12 months prior to the date that the application is
received by the Council. In exceptional circumstances an
award may, within the scope of this Policy, be backdated beyond 12
months where the applicant can demonstrate good cause for not
award of a reduction will normally be considered as assistance of a
temporary nature and the Council would not normally award a
reduction indefinitely although each case would be considered on
its own merits.
award of a reduction will normally cease at the end of the
financial year unless an earlier date is specified, but an
applicant is not precluded from reapplying for a further award in
Notification of Awards
Council will normally determine applications within two months of
the application and all supporting information being received, and
the decision will be notified to the applicant as soon as
Action to Recover Unpaid Council Tax whilst a Decision is
is no entitlement to withhold the payment of Council Tax pending
the determination of an application or a request of a review.
Receipt of an application for a reduction will not negate in any
way the taxpayer’s obligation to pay the Council Tax as
demanded. If a taxpayer has overpaid Council Tax it will be
Council may, at its sole discretion, agree not to take action to
enforce payment whilst an application is being considered.
Review of Decision
10.1 The Council will accept a taxpayer’s
request for a further review of its decision. Applicants may
request a review within a calendar month of the issue of the letter
notifying them of the Council’s decision. Such requests must
be made in writing and must give the reasons why it is believed the
decision should be amended. The Council can, at its
discretion, allow such representation to be made
electronically. New or additional information may be
included, but only if it is relevant to the decision making
10.2 A person aggrieved by a decision made
regarding an application for a Discretionary Reduction may submit
an appeal against the decision to the Valuation Tribunal where
(a) the aggrieved person is
notified in writing by the Council that the Council believes the
request for review is not well founded, but the person is still
(b) the aggrieved person is
notified in writing, by the Council, that steps have been taken to
deal with the request for a review but the person is still
(c) the period of two
months, beginning with the date of service of the aggrieved
person’s notice, has ended without his being notified under
paragraph (a) or (b) above.
10.3 Request for a review of the Executive’s
decision in respect of a class or classes of case can only be made
by a judicial review as the Council would be exercising a
11.1 The Policy will be reviewed regularly as
considered appropriate to take account of operational adjustments
and or changes to legislation and at least once every five
You should contact
the Local Taxation
Office for more information or
it you wish to apply for a reduction.