Which students qualify for a Council Tax discount or exemption?
Only those students who match the definition of a full-time student as set down in Council Tax law, which is summarised here:
- you must be enrolled with a ‘prescribed educational establishment’ and
- your course must be one of the following:
- a course which lasts at least one full academic or full calendar year, and which requires you to undertake at least 21 hours per week of study, tuition or work experience, for at least 24 weeks in that academic or calendar year, or
- a course which is not higher education, which lasts for more than 3 calendar months and requires you to undertake more than 12 hours of study. (You must be under 20 if you are on this type of course).
Even if your college describes your course as full-time, you cannot be granted a student discount or exemption if your course doesn't match the definition of full-time in Council Tax law. So if you are studying for over 21 hours per week but your course is not for a full academic or calendar year, you will not qualify for a student discount or exemption.
When does an exemption apply?
An exemption from Council Tax can only be granted if all the people living in a property are full-time students as described above (or qualify for the school or college leaver discount).
What happens when students and non-students live in the same property?
If there is one person who is not a student, only a 25% discount can be granted. If there are two people who are not students, no discount can be granted at all.
If the residents are joint tenants, usually the non-student residents will be liable for the Council Tax, not the students.
What if a student has a non-British spouse or dependant living with them?
If the spouse or dependant is not a student but has a visa, and the terms of the visa prevent them from taking paid employment or claiming benefits, an exemption will still apply (as long as all the other residents are full-time students).
How to claim the student discount or exemption
To apply for either the discount or exemption, you can use the online claim form under Top tasks or look in the Documents section of this page for a downloadable claim form.
You may be asked to get a Council Tax Student Certificate from your university or college if we are unable to verify your student status.
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