Council Tax Support Frequently Asked Questions

A guide to the words used to describe the options we are consulting on

Possible changes to Council Tax Support (CTS) -   

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)  

What is Council Tax Support?   

Council tax Support helps people on low income, or with no income, to pay their Council Tax bills. Council Tax Support was introduced on 1 April 2013 and replaced the government’s Council Tax benefits scheme. Pensioners are protected by legislation and are not covered by the scheme.       

Who has to pay Council Tax?   

Council Tax is usually paid by the people living in a property (the occupants). Council Tax is based on the idea that there are at least two adults living in the property. If there is only one person living in the home, they may be eligible for a discount. For an unoccupied property, the property owner pays the Council Tax and will not get Council Tax Support.     

Who can get Council Tax Support?   

Anyone who is liable to pay Council Tax for a property they live in as their home can make a claim for Council Tax support.  All claims are means tested based on household income.    

What does ‘non-dependant’ mean?  

A ‘non-dependant’ is an adult who lives with you but is not your partner or joint tenant, or anyone who pays you rent on a commercial basis.  Non-dependants are usually relatives such as grown-up children or older family members.    

What is a ‘liability’?      

If you need to pay (are liable to pay) Council Tax your liability is the amount of Council Tax you must pay.  This is a legal term used to explain the amount of money you pay in Council Tax for your council to spend on providing local services.  

Who will the proposed changes affect?   

All current working age Council Tax Support claimants could be affected by these proposals, and could see their council tax support change. Some of the options for change could make more difference to some groups than others, but any one option chosen through this consultation will give more generous support than now.    

What is 'baseline claim data’?  

‘Baseline claim data’ is data the council holds about the race, gender, disability and age of all Council Tax Support claimants. We can then tell the percentage of people in different groups and use ‘baseline claim data’ to identify if different groups might be more affected by one option for change compared with the others we propose.    

What is the ‘liability reduction’?  

Most people cannot receive Council Tax Support to cover 100% of their Council Tax liability. With the liability reduction currently set at 20%, the maximum Council Tax Support anyone can get is 80% of their liability. Council Tax payers must pay the 20% difference.    

What is a ‘protected group’?  

Some groups of people are protected from the liability reduction.  They can receive Council Tax Support to cover 100% of their liability.  Protected groups are:  

  • people registered as disabled  
  • carers  
  • war widows/widowers 
  • families who have their benefit reduced by the benefit cap    

How much will I have to pay in future?   

How much you have to pay depends on the amount of Council Tax due and your family circumstances.  It will also depend on the outcome of this consultation and which option for changing Council Tax Support people choose.    

Will Council Tax increase as a result of these proposals?   

The amount of Council Tax due will not directly change as a result of these changes although your council and the Mayor of London may choose to increase Council Tax.   

If you receive Council Tax Support, these proposals are more likely to decrease the amount of Council Tax you need to pay.   

Why are you consulting on the proposed changes?   

If we want to make changes to our Council Tax Support Scheme we must, by law, ask you about it. We want you to tell us what you think about these options to enable us to create a local Council Tax Support Scheme that takes your views into account.