Empty properties – council tax discounts
From April 2016 council tax discounts for empty properties and second homes are changing. This is to help make savings and protect other important council services.The questionnaire below explains the proposals and then asks for your views.
View your account online
You can view your council tax account online, request e billing or set up a direct debit for council tax. You will need to register.
View your account
Council Tax charges for 2015 to 2016
View previous years Council Tax charges
If you live in Blackrod, Horwich or Westhoughton then an extra charge will be added to pay for services provided by the Town Council.This is called a parish precept and the money collected by the Borough Council is paid over to the Town Council. For more information on the town councils, click on Links
Council Tax bands
Properties are placed into one of eight bands (A-H) depending on their market value on 1st April 1991.
The Valuation Office Agency is responsible for deciding the band for each property and the band will determine how much council tax you have to pay.
|| House Values as at 1 April 1991
|| up to £40,000
|| over £40,000 up to £52,000
|| over £52,000 up to £68,000
|| over £68,000 up to £88,000
|| over £88,000 up to £120,000
|| over £120,000 up to £160,000
|| over £160,000 up to £320,000
|| over £320,000
How to challenge your council tax band
It's free to challenge or enquire about your council tax band.
You can ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to check it (e.g. if you think your home was valued incorrectly). They will tell you how your council tax band has been worked out and they can review your band if you provide information that suggests it is wrong (e.g. evidence that identical properties in your street are in a different band). Then if they agree your band is wrong, they'll put it right. The council will then update your Council Tax bill.
You can also make a formal challenge to the VOA - however, you can only do this in certain circumstances (e.g. if your property has changed significantly since it was valued).
Further information is available at www.voa.gov.uk and www.gov.uk/council-tax-appeals
Contact the VOA
You must continue to pay your council tax bill while you have a banding review or appeal pending.
Changes in Circumstances
You must inform the council tax office, within 21 days of any changes that affect your charge or your right to a discount, reduction or exemption. If you fail to do this you may be required to pay a penalty of £70.
Details on changes you must tell us.
Charges for unoccupied and unfurnished properties
From 1 April 2013 the following discounts and charges apply based on when your property first became unoccupied and substantially unfurnished:
The first 3 months - a 100% discount will be given from the date of vacation for a period of up to 3 months, so there will be no charge.
After 3 months and up to 6 months - if the property remains unoccupied and substantially unfurnished a 25% discount will be given so the council tax charge will be 75% of the full charge for the property.
After 6 months and up to 2 years - if the property remains unoccupied and substantially unfurnished no discount will be given so the full council tax charge will payable for the property.
After 2 years - when the property has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for 2 years then a 50% premium will be payable on top of the full charge. This will mean that a 150% charge will be payable.
However, the 50% premium should not be charged on any property that:
- would be the sole or main residence of a person in the armed forces who is posted away from home; or
- is an annex to a property that is being used as part of the main residence of the main dwelling.
If your property falls into either of these categories, please contact us so that we can cancel any premium that you have been charged.
You can also find more information and advice on how to bring your empty property back into use on the empty residential properties page.
View more on discounts and exemptions
Charges for second homes and properties which are unoccupied and furnished
From 1 April 2013 there will be no discount on these properties whilst they remain substantially furnished. So this means that a full (100%) charge will be payable.
View more on discounts and exemptions
What the council class as substantially furnished or substantially unfurnished
There is no definition of 'substantially furnished' or ‘substantially unfurnished’ within council tax legislation therefore each council has its own criteria regarding what is acceptable. We have taken it to mean the following;
There is sufficient furniture in the property for occupation. We would expect the property to have beds, chair/sofa, cooker/microwave and fridge freezer.
Sufficient furniture has been removed to leave the property incapable of occupation. As a minimum we would expect beds, chairs, sofas, tables, wardrobes, cabinets, televisions, stereos and personal effects to be removed. We do not class curtains, carpets, fitted white goods (fridges, freezers, and washing machines) or fitted wardrobes as furniture
If you think that you or your property should not be subject to a council tax charge, you may appeal to the council tax office. Please contact us.
Times are displayed in a 24 hour format.