Council Tax Reduction Discretionary Relief Policy

1.0 Purpose of this document

This document is a guide to the Council Tax Discretionary Relief (CTDR) scheme operated by Arun District Council. The scheme is intended to offer additional support to those who already receive local Council Tax Reduction (CTR) and are experiencing severe financial hardship.

2.0 Aims

The scheme aims to:

  • alleviate poverty
  • encourage and sustain employment
  • help those who are trying to help themselves
  • keep families together
  • support the vulnerable in the local community
  • help claimants through personal crises

All applications are considered on their individual merits.

3.0 What can a CTDR payment cover?

CTDR can cover up to the difference between the amount of Council Tax charged per day and the amount of local CTR awarded. 

4.0 What cannot be covered by CTDR?

The following cannot be covered by an award of CTDR:  

  • recovery costs, for example court fees 

  • previous year’s arrears of Council Tax

5.0 How is a claim made?

A claim can be made by completing an online CTDR application form

If you prefer a paper application form, you can request one by emailing revenues.benefits@arun.gov.uk 

All applications (online or paper) must be followed up with evidence of all expenses and bank statements for the previous 2 months. If these aren’t supplied at the time of the application the decision making process might be delayed.  

We realise that there might be some circumstances where it is not possible for a claimant to supply the evidence that we would like. In these circumstances the claimant should detail why the evidence is unavailable to assist the decision maker. 

6.0 Who can make the claim?

The applicant must be in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.  

The claim should normally be made by the person liable for Council Tax; however, a claim could be made by a person acting on their behalf such as an appointee or advocate if the customer is vulnerable and requires support. 

7.0 How will CTDR be paid?

CTDR will be credited directly to the Council Tax account. A revised bill will be issued for the remainder of the financial year once the CTDR has been applied.  

8.0 Considering the application

Applications will be considered in date order and each application will be considered on its own merits.  

In order to qualify for additional help under the scheme the applicant must demonstrate that they are experiencing severe financial hardship. The decision maker will carry out a financial assessment comparing all household income with expenditure. By income we mean items such as wages, salary, benefits (including those benefits disregarded under other schemes) etc. The decision maker will also consider whether the applicant has access to other funds to help pay their bill such as savings.  

Where the award of local CTR has been reduced by a non-dependent deduction, we will not normally make a discretionary payment to cover this.  

In some instances, the decision maker will offer alternative solutions to alleviate the hardship, for example, deferred payments or spreading the cost of the bill over more instalments.  

The outcome of the application will be notified in writing within 14 days of receipt of all required information and evidence or as soon as practicable thereafter.  

The award letter will specify the amount of the award and the period for which it will be paid. Where an award of CTDR is turned down the letter will give the reason why the award was not successful.

9.0 How long will an award be for?

The period and amount of the award will be decided by the Council. This will not normally be for more than 6 months but may be for a shorter period  

In deciding the period of the award, we will: 

  • consider the likelihood of a change of circumstances  

  • any exceptional circumstances

10.0 Revisions of award

The period and amount of award may be revised at any time if there is a relevant change to the applicant’s circumstances. Any revision to the award will be notified in writing as above.  

11.0 Dispute procedures

Under Section 16 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, there is a right of appeal if a customer applying for CTDR under Section 13A is unhappy with our decision. 

If the claimant disagrees with our decision, they can write to us or email us, explaining why they disagree. We’ll get back to them within 2 months – either to say we’ve changed our decision or to explain why we haven’t. 

If the claimant is still unhappy with our decision after that, they can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal for England. They can also appeal if 2 months have passed and they haven’t heard from us. 

To make an appeal write to:  

Valuation Tribunal for England  

First Floor  

Hepworth House  

2 Trafford Court  

Doncaster  

Yorkshire  

DN1 1PN  

Phone 0300 123 1033

Email appeals@vts.gsi.gov.uk 

12.0 Equality

We are committed to the equality of opportunity and valuing diversity in the provision of services. We believe everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and we are committed to the elimination of unfair and unlawful discrimination in all of our practices, policies and procedures. 

We aim to ensure no member of the public, employee or job applicant receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of age, gender, transgender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, socio-economic status or by any other requirement that cannot be justified.  

13.0 Data Protection

This policy is compatible with Data Protection requirements.

14.0 Publicity

We will publicise the CTDR scheme and will work with all the interested parties to achieve this. A copy of this statement will be made available for inspection upon request and will be posted on our website. Information on the amount spent will not be made available except at the end of the financial year.  

CTDR application forms can be requested at our offices, online, by letter or telephone. 

15.0 Implementation and training

This document will be made available to all staff. This will be reinforced with training and management supervision of all staff involved.

16.0 Complaints

Our complaints procedure will be applied in the event of any complaint received about this policy. 

17.0 Review

This guide will be managed and reviewed every year and from time to time, updates and re-issues will be circulated. However, the guide will be reviewed sooner if a weakness is highlighted, in the case of new risks and/or changes in legislation. 

 

Last updated 31 January 2019