Council Tax Discounts

People and Properties that qualify for Council Tax Discounts   

Discounted Groups | People with Disabilities | Empty Dwellings

Discounted groups

The full council tax bill assumes that there are two adults living in a dwelling. If only one adult lives in a dwelling (as their main home), the council tax bill will be reduced by a quarter (25%).  

People in the following groups do not count towards the number of adults resident in a dwelling:

  • Persons under 18 years of age
  • patients resident in hospital (ie long term patients)
  • full time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth training trainees
  • people who are being looked after in care homes
  • people who are severely mentally impaired
  • 18-19 year olds who are at (or have just left) school
  • care workers working for low pay, usually for charities
  • people caring for someone with a disability who is not a spouse, partner or child under 18
  • members of visiting forces and certain international institutions
  • members of religious communities (monks and nuns)
  • people in prison (except those in prison for non-payment of Council Tax or a fine)

Other Discounts Available

  • Unoccupied and unfurnished properties discounted at 100% for up to six months
  • Annexes occupied by family members or utilised as part of the main home discounted at 50% 

Normally a full time student is a person who is undertaking a college or university course lasting at least one academic year, and the course involves at least 21 hours of study per week, however there are some exceptions to this rule. 

If you think you may be entitled to a discount, you should contact Customer Services.

If you have a change in your circumstances that might affect the amount of Council Tax you pay you must inform us straight away.

Council Tax Change of Circumstance Form

Council Tax Discount for Care Leavers

Care leavers will receive the following discounts up to their 25th birthday:

  • Care leavers who are solely liable to pay Council Tax in their own right will have their bill reduced to nil;
  • Care leavers who are jointly liable to pay Council tax will have the bill reduced in proportion 50% (if 2 adults), 33% (3 adults), 25% (4 adults);
  • There will be no discount where the care leaver is not liable to pay Council Tax, except where the care leaver lives in a household where the liable person would be exempt if the care leaver did not reside with them.  In this case full discretionary discount will be applied.

Cumbria Care Leavers Policy

Care Leaver Discount Application Form

As the Care Leavers Policy is an existing policy that covers all of Cumbria it will continue for the new Unitary Councils.

Changes from April 2023

Council Tax Premium for Empty Properties

Where a property has been left empty for more than 2 years it will be subject to a Council Tax Premium, meaning for these properties the liable person will pay an additional charge on top of their normal Council Tax.  The following Council Tax Premium charges will apply on long term empty properties from the dates specified.

At a meeting of its Shadow Authority on 7th March 2023, Westmorland And Furness Council made a determination to set the following:

Number of years properties have been unoccupied and unfurnished

% of premium payable

% of Council Tax in total payable

Date payment comes into effect from:

2 to 5 years



1 April 2023

5 to 10 years



1 April 2023

Over 10 years



1 April 2024

Apply for an Exception to the Council Tax Premium

The Council will consider removing the Council Tax Premium for applicants who meet the following qualifying criteria

  • For those owners who are genuinely attempting to sell or let their property which has been vacant for at least two years. In such cases, the premium can be removed for a maximum period of up to 12 months.
  • Where a new owner is subject to the premium from the day they purchase the property or within 6 months of the purchase date and they are renovating the property to move in themselves or to let out the property.  In such cases, the premium can be removed for a maximum period of up to 12 months.
  • For those owners experiencing legal or technical difficulties which are preventing the sale or letting of a property. In such cases, the premium can be removed for a maximum period of up to 12 months.  

If the property is to be a second home or a holiday let the premium will not be removed as this does not meet the Council's aim of increasing the supply of homes in the area.

Premium Exception Policy 80kb

Premium Exception Application Form 97kb

Print, complete and return the application with the supporting documentary evidence to the address below.

Contact details:

Westmorland and Furness Council made a determination at its meeting on the 7th March 2023 to set the following Council Tax Discount from the 1st April 2023

  • A discount of 100% for a maximum period of 6 months for properties which are unoccupied and unfurnished
  • There will be no discount for properties that are undergoing structural alteration or are undergoing or in need of major repair work
  • There will be no discount for properties which are unoccupied and furnished

People with Disabilities

If you (or someone who lives with you) need a room, an extra bathroom, kitchen, or extra space in your property to meet special needs arising from a disability, you may be entitled to a reduced council tax bill. 

The bill may be reduced to that of a property in the band immediately below the band shown on the valuation list.

These reductions ensure that disabled people do not pay more tax on account of space needed because of a disability. Properties in BAND A were also included from April 2000.

Disabled Band Reduction Form(amended)

Exempt Dwellings

Some properties are exempt, including properties occupied only by students and/or their non-British spouses, and vacant properties which:- 

  • are owned by a charity (exempt for up to six months)  
  • are left empty by someone who has gone into prison, or who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital or a home or elsewhere
  • are left empty by someone who has moved in order to provide personal care to another person.
  • are left empty by students
  • are waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted (and for up to six months)
  • have been repossessed
  • are the responsibility of a bankrupt's trustee
  • are empty because their occupation is forbidden by law
  • are waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion
  • are unoccupied annexes ('Granny flats') or occupied in certain circumstances 
  • are occupied by persons under 18
  • are unoccupied caravan pitches or boat moorings 
  • are occupied solely by severely impaired people. 

NB persons living in annexes should contact the council as they may be eligible for a discount or exemption