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  • FIRST POST
    • Rerun57
    • By Rerun57 16th Jun 17, 9:00 AM
    • 3Posts
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    Rerun57
    Council Tax for empty property
    • #1
    • 16th Jun 17, 9:00 AM
    Council Tax for empty property 16th Jun 17 at 9:00 AM
    Hello all. I recently bought a property in Wales. The property was empty when it came onto the market and has remained empty and unfurnished since I acquired it pending renovation work.

    I have been told that I am entitled to a discount of 50% on the council tax because the property is empty. I expected to be entitled to a six month period where I would not be required to pay council tax as the property was empty.

    The valuation office has since told me that I am not entitled to the second discount as this was taken up by the previous owners in January 2016 via probate. They had the house cleared immediately.

    The discount is applied to the property NOT the owner (apparently).?

    Does this sound right? It seems illogical to me! Any advice and comments would be most welcome. MTIA.
Page 1
    • Le_Kirk
    • By Le_Kirk 16th Jun 17, 9:37 AM
    • 1,984 Posts
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    Le_Kirk
    • #2
    • 16th Jun 17, 9:37 AM
    • #2
    • 16th Jun 17, 9:37 AM
    Possibly have a read of this link. It's possible that mistakes are being made as there is a section about only paying council tax 6 months after being granted probate.
    • dj1471
    • By dj1471 16th Jun 17, 9:04 PM
    • 764 Posts
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    dj1471
    • #3
    • 16th Jun 17, 9:04 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Jun 17, 9:04 PM
    Yes, that is usually how it works. The discount is available for the property for a limited period, a change in owner doesn't reset the clock.

    Be grateful you're getting any discount, a lot of councils don't offer this any more.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 16th Jun 17, 9:58 PM
    • 9,903 Posts
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    CIS
    • #4
    • 16th Jun 17, 9:58 PM
    • #4
    • 16th Jun 17, 9:58 PM
    The valuation office has since told me that I am not entitled to the second discount as this was taken up by the previous owners in January 2016 via probate. They had the house cleared immediately.
    Council Tax discounts etc have nothing to do with the Valuation Office so they shouldn't be advising on it - it's the council's remit.

    Reductions on an unoccupied and unfurnished property take in to account the status of the property and not that of the owner - a change of owner does not 're-set' the periods used to calculate the reduction (it stops ownership being moved around to avoid charges - which does happen).

    Presumably you wanted a Class C exemption for the 6 months and instead you've just been given the council's 50% follow on discount ? - if so then the 6 month would have started ticking from when the property first became unoccupied and substantially unfurnished. If this was more than 6 months ago then the exemption would not apply until the qualifying period could be re-set.

    Craig
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Mr.Generous
    • By Mr.Generous 16th Jun 17, 10:08 PM
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    Mr.Generous
    • #5
    • 16th Jun 17, 10:08 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Jun 17, 10:08 PM
    We get hit with a council tax surcharge of +50% when a property has been empty 6 months or more, from the date purchased sometimes. Council tax has guidelines and they are slightly differently interpreted on occasion.

    Some major renovation work can give you an exemption, rotten floor joists are about the least awkward!

    Otherwise move in alone and claim a single persons discount. Done that when surcharged +50% to halve the bill, ie billed at 150%, move in 1 adult, now qualifies for std tax less 25% discount - so 75%.

    I hate council tax.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 16th Jun 17, 10:24 PM
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    CIS
    • #6
    • 16th Jun 17, 10:24 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Jun 17, 10:24 PM
    We get hit with a council tax surcharge of +50% when a property has been empty 6 months or more, from the date purchased sometimes. Council tax has guidelines and they are slightly differently interpreted on occasion.
    A long term empty property premium (from 0% - 200% increase depending on where exactly the property is) can only apply after 12 months in Wales, 2 years in England or 12 months in Scotland.

    Otherwise move in alone and claim a single persons discount. Done that when surcharged +50% to halve the bill, ie billed at 150%, move in 1 adult, now qualifies for std tax less 25% discount - so 75%.
    Moving in solely to claim a discount would not work if the council are given the full information - 'intention to return' and 'sole or main residence' would prevent it applying.

    Craig
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • Annie1960
    • By Annie1960 18th Jun 17, 6:10 PM
    • 2,664 Posts
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    Annie1960
    • #7
    • 18th Jun 17, 6:10 PM
    • #7
    • 18th Jun 17, 6:10 PM
    There are no longer national rules on council tax discounts. Each LA sets its own policy, so you will need to check with them.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 18th Jun 17, 8:29 PM
    • 9,903 Posts
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    CIS
    • #8
    • 18th Jun 17, 8:29 PM
    • #8
    • 18th Jun 17, 8:29 PM
    It is correct that the % discount can be varied by local authorities but the majority of other rules, such as what happens on the change of owners, aren't (yet) delegated.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
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