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Properties exempt from council tax

In certain circumstances, you may be able to claim an exemption from paying council tax on your property.

If you submit a claim you will need to meet a number of conditions before we can apply an exemption.

Occupied properties

An occupied property may qualify for an exemption if it meets one the criteria below:

  • M – halls of residence predominantly occupied by students
  • N – occupied only by students
  • O – armed forces accommodation, owned by the Ministry of Defence
  • P –  visiting forces accommodation
  • S – occupied only by a person or persons aged under 18
  • U – occupied only by a person or persons who is/are severely mentally impaired and who would, but for this exemption, be liable to pay the council tax
  • V – occupied by diplomats, persons who have diplomatic immunity and certain members of their household
  • W – forming part of a single property and which are occupied by a dependent relative/relatives of the family living in the rest of the building (e.g. properties with an annexe or similar self-contained unit).

Unoccupied properties

An empty property may qualify for an exemption if it meets one of the criteria below:

  • A –  uninhabitable/undergoing repair – a discount of 50 per cent is given for up to a maximum duration 12 months and zero per cent discount thereafter.
  • B – owned by charities (may be exempt for up to six months)
  • C – unfurnished properties – a discount of 100% is given but for a maximum duration of up to one month. Full council tax liability resumes after the one month discount period has expired. These steps are being taken to encourage unoccupied dwellings back into use.
  • D – which are left unoccupied by prisoners (except for non-payment of council tax or a fine)
  • E – left unoccupied by long-stay hospital patients and also by people who move permanently into a nursing home or residential home
  • F – dwellings left unoccupied by deceased persons where grant of probate / letters of administration has not been obtained, and for a period of six months after such grant has been obtained
  • G – where occupation is prohibited by law
  • H – held vacant for a minister of religion
  • I –  left unoccupied by persons away receiving care
  • J – left unoccupied by persons away providing care
  • K – left unoccupied by students
  • L – where the mortgagee has repossessed
  • Q – unoccupied dwellings in the possession of a trustee in bankruptcy
  • R – a pitch/mooring not occupied by a caravan/boat
  • T – forming part of a single property which includes another dwelling and may not be let separately from that other dwelling (annexes).

If a an empty property does not meet any of the above criteria then, depending on how long it has been empty, it may be liable to addition charges – for more information see Long-term empty properties.

Important – tell us about a change of circumstances

If you receive a discount or exemption, but experience a change in circumstances that may affect your entitlement, then you must let our council tax team know immediately – please complete our change of circumstances form.


  • If you inform another council department, such as the elections team, rather than the council tax team, then this information cannot lawfully be shared with us and your change of circumstances will not dealt with.
  • Telling the DWP, Pension Service or HM Revenue & Customs of a change does not mean that we will be notified of the change. You must tell us directly.

Failure to provide this information to us within 21 days is a criminal offence and could lead to prosecution or a financial penalty being imposed.

Contact us - Council tax

0345 302 2315
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

Vale of White Horse District Council
PO Box 882