GB News: Expert discusses potential rise in Council Tax
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You could shrink your Council Tax bill or even cut it to zero by claiming one of the following five discounts or exemptions. Pensioners and others could benefit by taking action now. There is no time to lose, with average Band D Council Tax bills set to rocket.
Council tax bills rise every year on April 1, and in 2021/2022 the average Band D bill will hit a thumping £1,898, up £81 on last year, a rise of 4.4 percent.
That is only the start of the pain. The average bill could climb by £474 over the next three years as councils struggle to fund soaring social care costs, the Local Government Association has warned.
This is yet more “disastrous news” for hard-pressed households, as inflation soars and other taxes also rise, said Danielle Boxall, media campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance.
“It’s time to fight back. Here are five options to reduce bills that every pensioner should check.”
1. You are living alone. If you live alone, the single person’s discount could entitle you to 25 percent off your council tax bill, Boxall said. “You are also entitled if you live with someone who has a severe mental impairment like dementia, a long-term hospital patient or a care home resident.”
If someone moves out and your are due a discount, tell your council. You can claim this from the date they moved out, even if you told your council later.
2. You qualify for Pension Credit. More than a million pensioners on low incomes fail to claim a valuable top-up called Pension Credit.
This increases a single pensioner’s income to £177.10 a week or £270.30 a week for couples.
It also offers help with Council Tax bills and a range of other valuable benefits, Boxall said. “Recipients could get a reduction or even a full exemption depending on the council and their personal circumstances.”
If you or your partner receives the “guarantee” part of Pension Credit, you will be entitled to the maximum reduction.
For those who get the “savings” element, your council will calculate how much of a reduction you are due.
To check eligibility, phone the Pension Credit Claims line on 0800 99 1234.
3. You are on a low income. If you don’t receive Pension Credit but are on a low income, your local council may still give you a Council Tax Reduction.
How much you get will depend on factors such as whether you get benefits or live with other people.
Contact your council to find out, Boxall said. “It will need to work out your weekly income to see if you are entitled to a reduction and how much you can claim.”
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4. You live in a self-contained annex. If you live in an annex and are a dependent relative of the person who is responsible for paying Council Tax on the main property, you will not be charged Council Tax.
To qualify for the full deduction, you must either be 65 or over, severely mentally impaired, or have a substantial and permanent disability. This is often called a Granny flat exemption.
5. You are a live-in carer. If you care for someone who is not your partner, spouse, or child under 18, you can claim a discount of 50 percent on your Council Tax bill.
Boxall said these are all hugely valuable ways to reduce your bills, but many do not realise what is available. “These exemptions are restrictive, complicated and difficult to uncover for those who don’t have access to the internet.”
She added: “The TaxPayers’ Alliance would much prefer councils to implement lower and simpler taxes across the board.”
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