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Council Tax Reduction

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

2. Council Tax Reduction Scheme

From 1 April 2013, Council Tax benefit was replaced with a local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

You can apply for a council tax reduction whether you have your own home, if you rent, are unemployed or if you're working.

You may get a reduction if:

  • You pay council tax
  • You have a low income, or are entitled to a benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions or the Pension Service

You can't get council tax reduction if you:

  • Are not the householder, or the person liable to pay council tax,
  • Have more than £16,000 in capital (savings and investments), unless you receive guaranteed pension credit
  • Are excluded from receiving public funds, due to your status in the UK

Most asylum seekers and people sponsored to be in the UK cannot get council tax reduction and most full-time students cannot get council tax reduction. To apply for council tax reduction you'll need to fill in our form.

How do I apply?

To apply for council tax reduction, you need to complete the Benefits application form, and follow the instructions attached.

Return your form to:

Benefits Section, Gravesham Borough Council, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent DA12 1AU

What happens next?

As part of your application we'll need to see original documents, not photocopies. If your original documents are posted to us or left at our offices, they will be posted back to you. If you post or leave original documents to us you do this at your own risk.

There are three steps to take if you don't agree with our decision.

  • Step 1 - Ask for an explanation of the decision

This needs to be done within one month of the date on your decision letter. We'll then send you a 'statement of reasons' which tells you how everything's been worked out.

  • Step 2 - Ask us to look at your application again

If you think we have made a mistake you can ask us to look at our decision again; this is called a grievance.  We will check your application thoroughly and take account of any information you have given.

If the decision can be changed

We will send you a letter explaining what the new decision is. If your request is within one month of our decision letter, the new decision will apply from the date of the decision. If we receive your letter later than one month after our decision letter, the new decision will normally apply from the date we receive the request. If you don't agree with the new decision you can still ask for it to be looked at again.

If the decision can't be changed

We will send you a letter confirming the original decision. The letter will tell you if you can appeal. If you can and want to appeal, you must start this process within one month from the date of the letter confirming our decision.

  • Step 3 - Appeal against the council tax reduction decision

An appeal against a council tax reduction decision must be made directly to the Valuation Tribunal within two months of us writing to you about your grievance. You can also appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal if we have not responded to you within two months of you writing to us about your grievance. The Valuation Tribunal will only consider your appeal if you have first written to us to ask for your decision to be looked at again.

The Valuation Tribunal cannot hear appeals about the contents of our council tax reduction scheme, only about the way the scheme has been applied to your individual case. Details of how to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal will be sent with your grievance decision letter.

Exceptional Hardship Scheme

From 1 April 2017 we have introduced an Exceptional Hardship Policy to provide additional assistance if you receive Council Tax Reduction but are facing exceptional hardship.  Exceptional Hardship awards are designed as short-term help to the applicant only. There is no statutory right to an exceptional hardship award as it is at the discretion of the Council.


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