THOUSANDS of households could get their council tax bill reduced by 100% under £38million plans being mooted.
North Yorkshire councils are currently in talks to introduce a single set of council tax policies which would apply to all areas across the region come April 2023, when all eight county, district and borough councils will merge into one unitary authority.
Thousands of households could get their council tax bill reduced by 100% under £38million plans being mooted.
Currently, various tax policies apply across the eight different authorities and the way discounts are applied to low income households vary.
But under new rules being mooted, more low income households could be eligible for a discount on their council tax from next April.
One of the main proposals being discussed is to extend the council tax discount to 100% for all those on low-income households.
The change would affect thousands of households.
Cllr Gareth Dadd, deputy leader and executive member for finance, said the move would help those struggling through the cost of living crisis.
He said: “Rising costs have affected us all, but it is those who are on the lowest incomes who are feeling the effects the most, and this new scheme will be essential to ensure that they are given the greatest amount of support possible.
He added: “As a council, we are committed to helping the most vulnerable in society, both financially and socially, and the proposed new scheme will be an important addition to that mission.”
It is expected the cost of the plans will be around £38million and a further £2.3million will be needed to help deliver it.
The new approach to council tax reduction being mooted would be the biggest shake-up in local government in North Yorkshire in almost 50 years.
It comes with inflation hitting 9.4% as prices for food, fuel and more go up.
The Bank of England has warned that figure could reach as high as 11%.
When can I get a discount on my council tax?
If you’re struggling to pay your council tax but you don’t live in North Yorkshire there are options available to you.
Millions of households have or are due to receive a council tax rebate grant worth £150.
Then chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the scheme earlier this year as part of a raft of other measures to help people struggling with rising energy bills.
But only households in council tax bands A to D will get the cash – around 15 million homes across England.
If you don’t know what council you fall under, you can use the government’s tool by entering your postcode.
But just because you’re not in a council tax band home A to D, that doesn’t mean you won’t get anything.
Those in higher bands can apply for help through a £144million discretionary fund.
The fastest way to get your money through the council tax rebate is if you normally pay by direct debit and you will get your money paid into your bank account if this is the case.
If you don’t pay by direct debit, you may have to apply to your local council to get hold of the money.
It is best to check with your local council on how to do this.
Payments for the council tax rebate started to be rolled out from April 1, but many households are still waiting.
You can also get a 25% discount on your council tax bill if you live on your own.
The discount also applies if there is one adult and one student living together in a home.
This also applied is there is one adult and one person classed as severely mentally impaired in the home.
If you live with someone who doesn’t have to pay council tax, like a carer or someone who is severely mentally impaired, you could even get an up to 50% reduction as well.
Meanwhile, if you live in a household filled with students, you could get a 100% discount.
A full list of circumstances that exempt you from paying council tax can be found on Citizens Advice.
If you’re in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you could get a 100% council tax discount.
If you don’t receive this, you can still get help if you’re on a low income.
Usually, pensioners with less than £16,000 in savings could be eligible for a reduction.
And the single person’s discount is available to pensioners living alone.
Low Income households
Households on a low income or receiving benefits can also get a reduction on their council tax bill, if they qualify.
The eligibility requirements will vary depending on where you live so it’s best to check in with your council in the first instance.
You can find out your local council by using the government website.
If you don’t qualify for a reduction but you’re struggling to pay your council tax, you can set up a deferral with your council.
It may let you set up a different payment plan.
There are bodies that can help offer advice as well, such as Citizens Advice and StepChange.
One thing to bear in mind is that council tax is a priority bill, so if you fall behind you might have to pay the full year’s balance in one go.
Non-payment could also see bailiffs at your front door, court action or even imprisonment.
To apply for a council tax discount you should check out the government’s website in the first instance.
Be ready with personal details such as national insurance number, passport and bank statements.
If you think you’re paying to much council tax but you’re not eligible for a discount, you can apply to have your home re-banded.
But to do this you’ll need to find out what council tax band your neighbours are in and how much your property was worth in 1991.
There’s also no guarantee your claim will be successful and you might even be moved into a higher band and pay more.
If you want to make a challenge, you can contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in England and Wales or the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA) in Scotland.