Council tax for students
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Exemption for full-time students
Any household that consists solely of full-time students (that is students studying for at least 21 hours each week for a calendar or academic year) is exempt from paying council tax.
Your university or college will provide you with a certificate that you must send to your local authority immediately.
Where a household is a mixture of students and non-students, the exemption does not apply, although you may be entitled to some reduction so keep your certificate.
Only full time students qualify for any type of council tax reduction, but you may be entitled to make a claim under the council tax reduction scheme if you are on a low income.
Council tax reduction scheme and students
Council tax reduction scheme is intended for those with a low income who may have difficulty paying their bill. As full-time students are mainly exempt they are not entitled to claim under the council tax reduction scheme.
Part-time students and students with dependant children may be entitled to council tax support, based on their circumstances.
Contact us to discuss your situation, details at the end of this page.
Households consisting of students and non-students
The full exemption applies only to households that consist solely of full-time students.
If the household consists of a mixture of students and non-students the rules are different.
Households containing student and income support / jobseekers' allowance claimants
In this situation, all of the students are disregarded when the bill is worked out. council tax support is calculated with the claimants receiving whatever they would have been entitled to if the students were not living there.
If only one claimant lives with any number of students, the claimant is also entitled to a 25% single occupant’s discount.
If the household also includes people in employment, these people are also included in the calculation so the claimant can only claim council tax support for part of the overall charge.
Households consisting of students and people in employment
Students are disregarded when the Council Tax bill for a household is calculated if they live with non-students who are working.
So if two students share a house with one non-student, the bill is worked out as if only one person lives there and a 25% discount is granted. Even if five students shared with one non-student the bill would be the same, because only the one person would be counted.
If two or more non-students live in a household, there is no discount or reduction.
Joint and several liability
Joint and several liability usually applies to any household where more than one person shares the property either as joint owners or joint tenants. It means that all of the occupants are jointly responsible for paying the bill.
From 1 April 2004 the legislation regarding joint and several liability changed, affecting the way students are registered for council tax. Where a household is occupied solely by students, all occupiers will appear on the exemption notice issued. It is very important therefore that everyone living in the property registers so that all of the names appear on the notice.
When an exemption or discount comes to an end for any individual(s), any council tax due for payment is the responsibility of the non-students only, and they will be named on the bill.
Examples of where a bill will need to be paid are:
A student and a person in employment live together, so a 25% discount is granted but 75% of the bill remains payable. Only the person in employment will be named on the bill
A student and a benefit claimant live together but the claimant does not receive enough council tax support to cover the bill completely. Only the benefit claimant will be named on the bill.