Council Tax Reforms
The Government, through the Local Government Finance Act 2012 replaced certain Council Tax exemptions with locally determined discounts. On 12th December 2012 the Council's Executive agreed the following policy:-
|Exemption / Discount||Charges applicable to 31/03/2013||Charges applicable from 01/04/2013|
|Class A - vacant property which requires, is undergoing, or has recently undergone major repair work to make it habitable or structural alteration||100% exemption for up to 12 months whilst the qualifying conditions exist||100% discount for up to 12 months whilst the qualifying conditions exist|
|Class C - unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings||100% exemption for up to 6 months whilst the qualifying conditions exist||100% discount for up to 3 months whilst the qualifying conditions exist. 100% Council Tax charge after 3 months|
|2nd Homes - furnished property but in which no person has their sole or main residence||10% minimum statutory discount so a 90% Council Tax charge applies||0% discount so a Council Tax charge of 100% will apply|
|Long Term Empties - property which is unoccupied and unfurnished and empty for 6 months or more||10% discretionary discount so a 90% Council Tax charge applies||0% discount so a Council Tax charge of 100% will apply|
|Empty Homes Premium||A long term empty charge of 90% lasts indefinitely until a property is brought back into use.||A Long Term Premium charge of 50% will be applied to properties that have been empty for more than 24 months. This equates to 150% of the Council Tax charge.|
These changes were developed in consultation with the Somerset West Private Sector Housing Partnership which consists of Sedgemoor District Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset District Council.
The charging policy supports the aims of the partnership in bringing empty property back into use as soon as possible and provides consistency in charges across the three authorities.
There is a growing need for housing and accommodation in the area which has increased as the proposed development of Hinkley Point C continues. These charges will encourage owners to bring long term empty properties back into use to help meet increasing demand.
Although not the main purpose of these changes they will also increase Council Tax revenue across all three authorities.
Single Persons discount on council tax bills - make sure you are claiming correctly
Across the country, The National Fraud Authority estimates fraudulent single person discounts cost councils and taxpayers £92m a year. This figure is based on earlier work by the Audit Commission which estimated that the rate of single person fraud totals 4% of council tax claims.
Continuing the crackdown on fraud, all councils in Somerset will be running checks to make sure that people claiming a single person's discount on their council tax bill are claiming legitimately.
In Sedgemoor, there are approximately 16,000 people who claim the discount. Sedgemoor District Council is checking by cross-referencing with other sources of information about their household by using sophisticated data matching technology. The methods used do not infringe on any data protection issues.
Currently a 25% discount, ranging from a minimum of £195.25 a year and up to a maximum of £754.25, is given to anyone who claims to be living in a property on their own. If the checks indicate that another adult is living at the address, the discount will be withdrawn.
Residents who are genuinely claiming the discount have nothing to worry about, but anyone found to be deliberately misleading the Council could face a fine and legal action.
Find out if you may be entitled to a Council Tax discount, which types of dwelling are exempt from Council Tax, special reductions for people with disabilities, as well as details on how you can pay your Council Tax, and what can happen if you don't.
The information contained on these pages should not be regarded as a complete guide to the law.
A booklet is available below explaining how properties in England are valued and how you can appeal against your valuation. You can view a copy of this booklet at the Sedgemoor District Council office, or alternatively you can visit the Valuation Office website. A further free booklet explaining Council Tax Benefit is available from post offices and some local Social Security offices.
If you have further questions you should contact us, or the Citizens Advice Bureau.
What does the Council Tax pay for?
The Council Tax goes towards providing all of the services provided by the County Council, the District Council, the Police Force, the Fire & Rescue Service and local Parish Councils. It is not a direct charge for any particular services you may or may not receive.
Sedgemoor District Council only retains 9% (an average of £135 per year, per household) of the total collected to run the services it is responsible for. The rest of the money collected is paid over to Somerset County Council, the Police, the Fire Service and parishes.
With the 9% of the Council Tax it retains, Sedgemoor District Council provides the following services:
What savings will Sedgemoor District Council be making?
Sedgemoor District Council have made savings of £595,480 for 2013/14 this is from increased income of £252,730 which is a mixture of income lines including Planning fees, car park income, increased green waste charges and council tax reforms which includes charging 100% for second homes and long term empty homes and reducing the short term empty charge from 6 months to 3 months. Also there was reduced expenditure of £342,750 which included a reduction in our audit fee following the abolition of the Audit Commission, value for money reviews and doing a zero based budget exercise.
A full list of the savings can be found in Reports And minutes on the Internet in the Full Council 20th February 2013 paper work which can be viewed under Related Links at the foot of this page.
The priorities of Sedgemoor are Housing, Efficiency, Regeneration and the Environment. It is into these functions that the Council has directed its limited resources, which have also been impacted upon by the continuing recession and falling income coming into the Council.