Council Tax discretionary relief policy

The Council can reduce Council Tax liability relating to individual cases or classes of case(s) where national discounts and exemptions cannot be applied.

Introduction

Section 13A (1) (c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as amended) allows the Council to reduce the liability for Council Tax in relation to individual cases that it may determine where national discounts or exemptions cannot be applied. It says;

(1) The amount of Council Tax which a person is liable to pay in respect of any chargeable dwelling and any day

a) in the case of a dwelling situated in the area of a billing authority in England, is to be reduced to the extent, if any, required by the authority’s Council Tax reduction scheme;

b) in the case of a dwelling situated in the area of a billing authority in Wales…

c) in any case, may be reduced to such extent (or, if the amount has been reduced under paragraph (a) or (b), such further extent) as the billing authority for the area in which the dwelling is situated thinks fit.

Paragraph(c) allows the Council to reduce the Council Tax liability for any taxpayer including those who are already in receipt of a reduction through the Council Tax reduction (Council Tax support) scheme.

Procedure for dealing with requests

It is expected that there would be evidence of extreme financial hardship to justify any reduction and that this should be viewed only as short term assistance rather that a long term reduction of Council Tax liability. Any awards made will be due to exceptional or unforeseen circumstances.

  • Requests must be made in writing by the customer, their appointee or a recognised third party, acting on their behalf with a full explanation of why the reduction is requested along with the period that it is requested for. The written application must be submitted to localtaxation@burnley.gov.uk
  • The application must also include a full income and expenditure breakdown of the applicant, together with that of any other household members. This should be done by completing the Council’s online Means Test form. Click on the button below to do this.
  • There must be evidence of extreme hardship caused by exceptional or unforeseen circumstances to justify a reduction in Council Tax liability.
  • The application has been made as a last resort and prior to this, the applicant must have explored entitlement to Council Tax reduction, exemptions and discounts before making an application under Section 13A (1) (c)
  • Eligibility for a Discretionary Housing Payment must have been considered, if appropriate.
  • The taxpayer must not have access to other assets which when realised could be used to pay the outstanding Council Tax.
  • The Council’s finances will allow for a reduction to be made.  The Council has to fund the cost of all Section 13A (1) (c) awards through the General Fund, and awards must therefore be in the interests of all local taxpayers.

Considering the requests

The request for Section 13A (1) (c) awards will be considered by the Council’s Finance Manager.

In considering awards, the Council may also ask for supporting evidence to be submitted. This may include, but is not limited to:
• Utility and household bills
• Bank statements
• Credit card statements/ proof of loan arrangements

The reduction may be granted at an appropriate amount up to 100% of the full charge.

The start date of the reduction shall not be earlier than the start of the financial year in which the application was made. The reduction shall be awarded no later than to the end of the financial year in which the application was made.

The Council will advise the taxpayer of the decision regarding an application within 21 days or as soon as practicable thereafter.

Appeals

Any appeal against a decision must be made in writing within 1 month of the date of the letter informing the taxpayer of the decision, and must detail the grounds upon which the appeal is based.

The Council will review the decision and will respond within 2 months. 

If the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the result of the review, they can, within two months of the Council’s reply, appeal to the independent Valuation Tribunal Service. 

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