What is Council Tax Support?

Council tax support is a reduction in your council tax bill based on

  • your income
  • the size of your household
  • other adults who live with you
  • the amount of council tax you have to pay

It is shown on your council tax bill as a reduction. It does not matter if you rent your property or own it. There are slightly different rules for working age customers and pension age customers.  If you think you might qualify, don't delay as council tax support cannot be backdated.

You can make a new claim for council tax support online

Make a claim online

If you already receive council tax support, you can report your change online

Report a change in circumstances

Click below to find out more information ...

  • View your account online

    •  

      You can see how your council tax support has been calculated and any outstanding balance you owe. You can also:

      » check the payments you have made and when any future payments are due
      » set up or amend a direct debit
      » view or print your current and previous bills

      If you also receive housing benefit, you will be able to see details of your housing beenfit, including how much you receive, when your next payment is due, and details of any housing benefit overpayment you might have.
      View my account online

    • The website is available 24 hours a day and it is updated regularly, so you can see up to date information and check the progress of changes you have told us about. You will need to register but you will only need to do this once. 

  • Important changes to council tax support from April 2017

    •  Below are the frequently asked questions about the changes that may affect you in 2017-2018 if you receive council tax support.

    • Why are the changes being made?

      The money that Bolton Council receives towards the cost of council tax support from the government was reduced a few years ago and until now the council has managed to subsidise the scheme. However, due to further reductions in funding the council has had to make this difficult decision because it cannot afford to do this any longer.

    • What are the changes to council tax support from April 2017

       The changes only affect working age people

      » All working age people will now have at least 12.5% of their council tax to pay

      If you already pay some council tax then it’s likely that you will need to pay more depending on your circumstances and your income.

      » If you have £3000 capital or more you will not be eligible for council tax support (there are some exceptions to this if you are in receipt of certain welfare benefits) 

    • When will I find out how much council tax support I will receive

      » The council tax bills and council tax support letters for 2017/18 will be posted during the first two weeks of March 2017

    • Will my savings affect the amount I can get?

      »  If you are working age and  have £3000 capital or more you will not be eligible for council tax support (there are some exceptions to this if you are in receipt of certain welfare benefits) 

      »  If you are pension age, the capital limit is  £16000 for council tax support

    • Is there extra financial help if I cannot afford to pay my council tax?

       There is additional financial help available via the discretionary council tax support reduction scheme (DCTRS).

      These payments are only intended for short term help. Even if you apply for extra help, you might not be awarded extra money. We will look at each application individually. 

      You should make payments while you are waiting to hear about the outcome of your application

    • If I no longer qualify under the working age rules, do I need to apply when I reach pension age?

      » Yes, you must make a claim when you reach pension age. 
       

    • How do I pay the council tax I owe?

      All payment options are on the back of the bill
      » Post office
      » Paypoints
      » www.bolton.gov.uk
      » Over the phone
      » Direct debit

    • Can I change the way I pay my instalments?

      You can make changes to your instalments online. There are lots of choices around how to pay including:
      » paying over 12 months instead of 10
      » the frequency you want to pay over – such as weekly, fortnightly or monthly
      » the date or day you want to pay
      » the method of payment – such as direct debit, standing order, cash or debit/credit card
      Change my instalments 

    • What if I already have council tax arrears?

      To help you manage your payments:

      » Sign up to pay by Direct Debit – it’s the easiest way to pay. You can set up your Direct Debit online today.
      » Ask us to spread your annual bill over 12 months on a date that suits you.
      » Claim council tax support if you are on a low income.
      » See if you are eligible for a discount or if your property is exempt.
      » Contact us as soon as you receive a reminder, final notice or a summons to make a payment arrangement.

      We will work with you to agree an affordable repayment based on your income and outgoings. If you delay you may incur further costs and charges which will have to be paid.

       

    • Am I affected if I get universal credit, employment and support allowance (income related), job seekers allowance (income based) or income support?

      » Yes, all working age customers who receive council tax support are now expected to pay a minimum of 12.5% of their council tax bill directly to the council.

      » If you receive universal credit, employment and support allowance (income related), income support or job seekers allowance (income based) you will not be affected by the £3000 capital limit.

    • Does it matter what band my property is in?

      »No, if you are working age the changes may affect you. It doesn’t matter what band your property is in from April 2017.

       

    • I am a working age joint tenant and share liability for the council tax with my elderly parent. We are both getting council tax support. Will I still have to pay 12.5% of my share of council tax bill?

      From April 2017, working age council tax support claimants will have at least 12.5% of their part of the council tax bill to pay. Where there are two joints tenants, this would work out as 6.25% of the total council tax for the property.

      The pension age tenant in receipt of 100% council tax support on their part of the bill, will continue to receive 100% council tax support for their part of the bill which should be 50% of the total council tax due.

    • I am a working age joint tenant and share liability for the council tax. I receive council tax support. Will I still have to pay 12.5% of my share of council tax bill?

      From April 2017,where there are two joints tenants, this would work out as 6.25% of the total council tax for the property.

    • What can I do if I can't afford to pay my council tax bill when these changes happen?

      » You can pay your instalments over 12 months rather than 10 and change the frequency that you pay.

      » There is additional financial help available via the discretionary council tax support reduction scheme (DCTRS).

      These payments are only intended for short term help. Even if you apply for extra help, you might not be awarded extra money. We will look at each application individually. 

      You should continue to make payments while you are waiting to hear about the outcome of your application

       

    • If I don’t pay, what will happen?

      » A reminder will be sent to request the account is brought up to date, if it isn’t then your instalments will be cancelled and you could then be summonsed to court which could cost you more.

      You can find out more about further recovery action and costs at Council Tax - Problems paying 

       

    • Can I appeal against this decision to make me pay council tax

      If you are liable for council tax, you cannot appeal against this, but

      » We can look at your claim again if you think we have used the wrong income and capital in the calculation of your council tax support, or

      » If you think you or your property should not be subject to a council tax charge, you can contact us.

    • Will I receive a bill every month?

      » No, we will send a bill in March ready for the start of the financial year. If you make your payments regularly you will not receive any further letters from us. You will receive a letter if the amount you need to pay changes.

       

    • Can it be taken directly from my benefits?

      » Not right away. We can only apply for an attachment of benefits if we have taken you to court for not paying. This would mean adding additional costs to what you owe. 

    •  

  • What information/ evidence do I need to provide?

    •  When you complete an online claim for council tax support, or an online change in circumstances form, you will be advised what information you need to provide.

      » You will need to provide original documents.

      » You should provide the evidence to support your claim within one calendar month. If you do not, we will not be able to award you council tax support.

      Evidence we can accept

  • What income and capital is used to calculate council tax support?

    • Council tax support is a means tested benefit.  We need to know about how much income and capital you have to work out how much council tax support you are entitled to. 

      If you are entitled to jobseekers allowance (income based), income support, employment support allowance (income related) or the guarantee pension credit you will be entitled to at least 100% of your council tax liability in council tax support minus any non-dependant deduction if applicable.  This will reduce to 87.5 % from April 2017.

       

    • Capital

      » If you (and your partner) have £6,000 or more in savings and capital, you will not be eligible for council tax support if you are working age. If you are pension credit age, you can have up to £16,000 in capital. 

       » From April 2017, if you (and your partner) have £3000 or more in savings and capital, you will not be eligible for council tax support if you are working age. If you are pension credit age, you can have up to £16,000 in capital.

      You will also need to provide evidence of your income, for example your wage slips, tax credit letter and capital for example bank statements, share certificates.  
      Evidence we can accept.  

    • Income

      Benefits

      » If you are getting income support, jobseekers allowance, employment support allowance, universal credit, pension credit or tax credits you will need to provide your benefit entitlement letter.

      Employed Earnings

      » If you are employed you will need to provide evidence of your earnings.  You will also need to provide this if your partner or non dependant is working. You will need to provide the following evidence for each job you have:

          » five weekly consecutive wage slips
          » three fortnightly consecutive wage slips
          » two monthly consecutive wage slips

      We cannot accept photocopies or hand written wage slips. We will take off the amounts of tax and national insurance contributions you pay through your wage and half of any private pension scheme you pay into. 

      » You will need to provide proof of any other income you have, this could be on a payment slip, award letter or bank statement. 

      Disregarded income

      There are certain types of income that we will not count as income in your benefit calculation:
      » War Pension or War Disablement Pension
      » Attendance Allowance
      » Disability Living Allowance
      » Personal Independence Payments
      » Child benefit

      » We can also take off an amount for childcare payments in certain circumstances, this must be through an approved childcare provider.  

      Self employed income

      If you or your partner are self employed then we will need to see evidence of your accounts.

      You will need to provide either:
      » current certified accounts done by an accountant, or
      » an online self employed accounts form .
      We will ask for evidence, e.g., receipts, to confirm what you have stated on your form. 

  • How is council tax support calculated?

    • » If you do not get income support/job seeker's allowance (income based)/employment and support allowance (income related) or guarantee pension credit we work out your reduction by comparing the money you get each week with your applicable amount (the amount the government say you can afford to live on each week).

      » The maximum council tax support payable to working age customer from April 2017 is 87.5% of your council tax liability.

    • » If your weekly income is above your applicable amount, the amount of council tax support you receive will reduce.  

       

  • Other adults who live with you

    •  If there are other people, aged over 18 who live with you, they will be expected to pay towards the council tax. These people are called non dependants and we take a set amount off your benefit for them based on their gross income.

      View the current rate of non dependant deductions

      You should tell us if someone moves into, or out of your home so you receive the correct amount of benefit.

  • Going away from home

    • Normally you have to be resident in your home to be eligible for council tax support. However, there are some reasons you can continue to get council tax support if you are away from home. You need to tell us about the change in your circumstances.
      Report a change in circumstances

    • Absences up to 13 weeks

      » You can be away from home for any reason up to 13 weeks and still qualify for council tax support, as long as you intend to return home. We will still need to know your income for the period you are away. If you also receive housing benefit, the rules are different.

    • Absences up to 52 weeks

      You must be intending to return home and must not be letting, or subletting, the part of the home in which you usually live while you are away. You must also be in at least one of the following categories:

      » a remand prisoner awaiting trial or sentence
      » required as a condition of bail to live in a bail hostel, or away from home
      patient in a hospital or similar institution
      » undergoing (or your partner or dependent child is undergoing) medical treatment or convalescence, other than in residential accommodation
      on an approved training course
      » providing medically approved care for someone
      caring for a child whose parent or guardian is away receiving medical treatment
      receiving medical care, other than in residential accommodation
      » in a residential care home, other than on a trial basis
      » a student
      » you have left home because of fear of violence in the home, or from a former member of your family.

       

  • What to do if you disagree with a decision

    • Please check the notification letter carefully to make sure that your income and other details are correct. If they are not, please contact us straight away.

      You can:
      » Ask us to explain it
      » Ask us to look at the decision again. This is called a reconsider.
      » Appeal to an independent tribunal to look at the decision

      See more about how to appeal 

    •  

  • Bolton's council tax reduction scheme

    • » The scheme for working age customers is decided locally, but the scheme for pension age customers is decided by central government.

      You can view the pension age scheme and the subsequent amendments under Links

      You can use the links below to view the council tax reduction scheme for the current year, and previous years which has applied to working age customers.

    • » 2017-2018
      » 2016-2017
      » 2015-2016
       
       

  • Extra help with your rent/council tax

    • If the benefit you receive does not meet you full rent or council tax charge, there are discretionary schemes which can help you if you can show you need extra help.

      Apply online

    • Discretionary help with rent

      » Discretionary housing payments are a way of helping you if the amount of housing benefit or housing costs in your universal credit you get is not enough to pay your rent.
      » There are no set criteria for deciding whether you can have a discretionary payment. We will look at each application carefully and consider your individual circumstances

    • Discretionary help with council tax support

      You could get extra help with your council tax if:
      » your council tax support does not meet your full council tax liability
      » you are affected by the welfare reform changes introduced in April 2013
      » you are affected by the changes to the council tax support scheme from April 2017 

      To qualify for a discretionary council tax reduction:

      » you must be the person responsible for the council tax and
      » we must be satisfied that you need financial help

      The scheme is purely discretionary; there is no statutory right to a reduction in council tax.
      Apply online

              Housing Benefits

              Bolton Council

              P.O. Box 4

              Bolton

              BL1 1RX

              Telephone 01204 331590
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