Council Tax Exemption or Disregard

After reading some posts here a while ago regarding severe mental impairment and Council Tax, I contacted the council and asked them about my mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009. I wondered if she might be exempt from the tax altogether. This is part of the letter they sent to me

My records show that you are in recei[p]t of a 50% all resident disregard. 25% has been awarded as Mrs B[…] is SMI
and a further 25% has been awarded as you are her carer, therefore the 50% disregard is correct.

Unfortunately no further discount is applicable.

To me, there seems to be really contradictory information with regard to exemptions and disregards on what I’ve read and the council’s response. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks, David

I suggest you ring the Carers UK helpline.

My son gets the SMI exemption, he lives alone, pays nothing.
I thought, but may be mistaken, that when both of you were exempt, you paid nothing.
It would be helpful to others if you could share the response.
Has mum’s exemption been backdated to the day of diagnosis?

I phoned the helpline some time ago but they were unsure about this.

According to the Council Tax Bills I’m reading now they were fully “Less Council Tax Benefit” from 2009 until 2013 whereupon reductions came into force.


Clearly explanation in the above link.

Thank you sunnydisposition. According to the link you posted above, the local council here are correct.


But if you look at the leaflet on the .gov site it says you shouldn’t pay anything.

Hello bowlingbun

According to our local borough council (from the GOV.UK site) “Council tax benefit has been replaced by the council tax reduction scheme” and it appears this reduction must be paid. So yes, the Government site maintains clearly that people “who are severely mentally impaired are not included when working out Council Tax” but, on following the links, things change.

And I thought the language was quite grey regarding ‘discretionary discount’. The line between ‘exemptions’ and ‘reductions’ becomes blurred again

“If you are receiving council tax reduction and still have to pay some council tax you may be able to receive further assistance.”


Go to the .gov site and look at the " leaflet". What you need is there!

I couldn’t access the information on my Hudl, earlier on. Now on my computer, where it was saved. You need to look at the last line of Section 5 regarding disregarded people. It clearly says there is not charge if everyone in the household is disregarded. As mum has SMI and you are not her spouse or parent, you come into this category. I’m no good at links, but you should be able to find this easily, print it off and give it to the council so that they can see for themselves.
I hope this helps others in a similar situation.
The exception from eligibility for parents or spouses is cruel, in my view.

The link information on original post is dated 21 October 2020

Have a look at this one …

"If a property is made up of occupying residents who are exempt (for example full time students) then there is no council tax payable".
“Paying the right level of council tax” leaflet on the .gov website.

What could be clearer???

Hello bowlingbun and sunnydisposition

Forgive any late replies from my end but we need the plumber here today.

I’d like to try to understand the facts regarding this situation more. But I really do think things could be made much simpler by using cleaner language. I still don’t know why they seem to be confusing ‘exemption’ with ‘reduction’.


This is all explained in the .gov document. It’s called something like “The simple guide to…”

Try this link …

Can I claim a council tax discount? Council tax bills assume that two adults occupy the property as their main home. If only one resident lives there, the bill is reduced by 25% - known as the single-person discount. Some people are not counted as a second resident for council tax bills, even if they live in the property. These are known as ‘disregarded persons’. You may qualify for a 25% single-person discount if you share your home with people who are considered ‘disregarded’. If everyone in the home is ‘disregarded’, you’ll usually get a 50% discount (unless every resident is exempt, in which case there’ll be no bill to pay). Disregarded people for council tax include:

Disregarded people for council tax include: an apprentice studying for a recognised qualification a young person (under 25) in approved training an 18 or 19-year-old in full-time education a student nurse people staying in hostels or night shelters carers (providing at least 35 hours’ care a week) if they are not the main resident’s husband, wife or civil partner monks and nuns members of visiting forces a full-time student (attending university or college, or under the age of 20 and studying A levels or their equivalent) resident hospital patients people living in care homes people who are severely mentally impaired (this can include people with dementia) prisoners individuals with diplomatic privileges and immunities.

Read more: How to get a council tax reduction or discount - Which? - Which?

From what I’ve just read bowlingbun is absolutely correct, in our domestic case at least.

According to “Paying the right level of Council Tax: a plain English guide to Council Tax”, which was published 26 May 2019, in “5. Council Tax discounts” the final sentence of the section “‘Disregarded’ people”…

“If a property is solely made up of occupying residents who are exempt (for example, full-time students), then there is no Council Tax payable.”

Mum and I satisfy the descriptions of a “severely mentally impaired” person and a person “caring for someone with a disability who is not a spouse, partner or child under 18” - both mentioned in the “‘Disregarded’ people” section.

As bowlingbun asked, what could be clearer?

But surely a council is a aware of a situation like this?

Almost certainly, but it’s advantageous to them to feign ignorance.

Never trust anyone in those situations to do the best thing for you.

I was born cynical, but I’m also often correct.

You will discover that a lot of things that are shared on the forum represent failures of highly paid medical and social care staff to do their jobs properly!

Until recently, the dot gov site said that the CT exemption could be backdated, it still can be, but that sentence has disappeared. I wonder why?

Long ago, when Attendance Allowance was introduced, part of my work involved helping people to claim what they were entitled to.
One lovely man, a double amputee, former captain of a liner, was initially turned down as not needing enough help to qualify!!
His poor wife was in floods of tears, I called in to see her on my way home and promised to sort things out, which I did. She was a lovely lady, tall, slim, elegant, her hair always in a french pleat. Very brave about her husband’s disability, but the rejection was the last straw for her.
I have used this as an example ever since.
Carers always have to be brave when supporting someone else, we do our best, but it is tough.
Why is it so difficult for us to get help? Without us and our carees, they wouldn’t have a job!!!

In 3 years I’ve a seen specialist once regarding my uncontrolled epilepsy. He was arrogant and unhelpful. Due to the virus they cancelled my April appointment and rearranged it for an October phone appointment. That was cancelled and rearranged for 30 November. I had tonic clonic seizures in August and September and 3 partials this past week. I made a complaint once over a decade ago and I’ve often wondered if that has followed me around with regard to epilepsy. My former GP, himself an epileptic, inferred to me at the time that it might have been unwise.


With reference to our Council Tax situation though, should I simply wait for the libraries to open up again and do what bowlingbun recommends - print off a copy of that Government guide and present it to them? Would they give way just like that? That’s about 7 years excess money they owe.


If you don’t have a printer, just point them in the direction of the document. Load the details up on your device, then ring them and take them to the right section.The highest refund I’ve heard of is about £8,000! Please tell us how you get on. There may be others here who will benefit.