Council tax - am I getting ripped off?

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parusmajor
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Hi all,

I'm an overseas post-grad student studying full-time, and trying to wrap my head around the council tax in the UK. Everywhere I have looked says that full-time students are basically "invisible" and shouldn't count as adults in the household. I live with my partner who is not a student but who currently doesn't work and is on universal credit. We applied for a discount. The application was rejected however based on my savings. More than half of my savings is the amount I still owe to the uni which is due next month. I can't wrap my head around how they can reject a council tax discount application from a household which isn't making any income, based on money a full-time student has saved up to afford the exorbitant overseas tuition. Am I missing something?
Thanks.
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tjames988
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As far as I am aware yeah if you are a student then you are invisible and you are exempt from paying any council tax, so if there is only one other in your flat/ house i.e. your partner then they should get the 25% discount for being in a single household.
Not entirely sure as I have never paid it, but that is what I have heard

https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/disco...-time-students
https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/who-has-to-pay
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QuentinM
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(Original post by parusmajor)
Hi all,

I'm an overseas post-grad student studying full-time, and trying to wrap my head around the council tax in the UK. Everywhere I have looked says that full-time students are basically "invisible" and shouldn't count as adults in the household. I live with my partner who is not a student but who currently doesn't work and is on universal credit. We applied for a discount. The application was rejected however based on my savings. More than half of my savings is the amount I still owe to the uni which is due next month. I can't wrap my head around how they can reject a council tax discount application from a household which isn't making any income, based on money a full-time student has saved up to afford the exorbitant overseas tuition. Am I missing something?
Thanks.
Why did you provide any details on savings? Is this specifically because of your status as an international student?

I don't know how different this is between councils, in my current city the University can provide a council tax exemption letter (where they confirm you are a student with them and hence exempt) which you can send to the council, hence making you not liable for any of the payment. Your partner should be able to get a discount because they are living with someone who is a student. Equally on universal credit you should be able to apply for another discount
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parusmajor
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(Original post by QuentinM)
Why did you provide any details on savings? Is this specifically because of your status as an international student?

I don't know how different this is between councils, in my current city the University can provide a council tax exemption letter (where they confirm you are a student with them and hence exempt) which you can send to the council, hence making you not liable for any of the payment. Your partner should be able to get a discount because they are living with someone who is a student. Equally on universal credit you should be able to apply for another discount
The application for the discount asked to list all savings in bank accounts in the joint household, so we did. I separately filled out a student status application to the council, and in their rejection letter it says they have received it and are aware that I'm a full-time student. Maybe I shouldn't have put my savings down at all but the form didn't specify if "invisible" people can do that, and I didn't want to be liable for concealing something I'm supposed to disclose to them. Plus then my partner would be presenting himself as living alone on the application.
That's a good idea about a letter from the Uni, I'll write to them and ask for one.
Last edited by parusmajor; 8 months ago
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Keele University
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(Original post by parusmajor)
Hi all,

I'm an overseas post-grad student studying full-time, and trying to wrap my head around the council tax in the UK. Everywhere I have looked says that full-time students are basically "invisible" and shouldn't count as adults in the household. I live with my partner who is not a student but who currently doesn't work and is on universal credit. We applied for a discount. The application was rejected however based on my savings. More than half of my savings is the amount I still owe to the uni which is due next month. I can't wrap my head around how they can reject a council tax discount application from a household which isn't making any income, based on money a full-time student has saved up to afford the exorbitant overseas tuition. Am I missing something?
Thanks.
Hi!

Hopefully this website will explain everything: https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/disco...-time-students.

Essentially if everyone in your household is a full-time student, you are exempt from council tax. If you live with non-students, you still have to pay council tax but you may be able to apply for a discount (https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/who-has-to-pay).

If there is just you and your partner in the household, you can apply for a 25% single occupancy discount on your council tax (as you are a full-time student and therefore exempt, making your partner the only qualifying adult for council tax purposes living in the household). There's usual a form on your local council's website to apply for this - you just need to send them details of your student status (usually your student status letter that your university can provide).

Hope that helps!

Amy
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parusmajor
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(Original post by Keele University)
Hi!

Hopefully this website will explain everything: https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/disco...-time-students.

Essentially if everyone in your household is a full-time student, you are exempt from council tax. If you live with non-students, you still have to pay council tax but you may be able to apply for a discount (https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/who-has-to-pay).

If there is just you and your partner in the household, you can apply for a 25% single occupancy discount on your council tax (as you are a full-time student and therefore exempt, making your partner the only qualifying adult for council tax purposes living in the household). There's usual a form on your local council's website to apply for this - you just need to send them details of your student status (usually your student status letter that your university can provide).

Hope that helps!

Amy
Thanks, we applied for a discount and the application was rejected.
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Keele University
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(Original post by parusmajor)
Thanks, we applied for a discount and the application was rejected.
It's strange that they rejected you on the basis of your savings - possibly different local councils have different requirements for their discounts. My local council didn't require any proof of savings or income to apply the discount - just confirmation of my student status. It's possible your local council have different rules.

It might be worth asking if you can apply for the discount again once you have paid your savings over to your university. It might also be worth asking your university's Student Services team if they can help you with this - navigating your local council and the UK benefits system can be really hard, especially if you're not familiar with UK administrative systems but they should be able to help you work out what you're eligible for and how to apply for it.

Citizens Advice can also help you and make sure that you and your partner are getting any benefits you are entitled to, as well as any exemptions or discounts you might be eligible for: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Amy
Last edited by Keele University; 8 months ago
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parusmajor
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(Original post by Keele University)
It's strange that they rejected you on the basis of your savings - possibly different local councils have different requirements for their discounts. My local council didn't require any proof of savings or income to apply the discount - just confirmation of my student status. It's possible your local council have different rules.

It might be worth asking if you can apply for the discount again once you have paid your savings over to your university. It might also be worth asking your university's Student Services team if they can help you with this - navigating your local council and the UK benefits system can be really hard, especially if you're not familiar with UK administrative systems but they should be able to help you work out what you're eligible for and how to apply for it.

Citizens Advice can also help you and make sure that you and your partner are getting any benefits you are entitled to, as well as any exemptions or discounts you might be eligible for: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Amy
Yeah, we'll definitely be reapplying. Unfortunately it's very difficult to get any sort of advice during Covid - we couldn't get through to anyone on Citizen Advice. I was just wondering if there are firm national rules that the local council may be disregarding on this. On Gov.Uk it says pretty clearly that full-time students are exempt.
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Keele University
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(Original post by parusmajor)
Yeah, we'll definitely be reapplying. Unfortunately it's very difficult to get any sort of advice during Covid - we couldn't get through to anyone on Citizen Advice. I was just wondering if there are firm national rules that the local council may be disregarding on this. On Gov.Uk it says pretty clearly that full-time students are exempt.
Unfortunately council tax is administered by local government rather than central government. You might want to check the details of your local council's website if you've not already done so - mine has a pretty clear list of council tax exemptions and discounts.

Citizens Advice are really busy at the moment - I have a friend who works for our local branch and she's advised it really is a case of just keeping trying to contact them. They are working but they're taking a lot of calls and emails right now.

Your Student Support/Services team at uni are also probably working - at Keele ours certainly are! Although the physical office is closed, they should be contactable via email and, possibly, also by phone and it's worth getting in touch with them to see if they can advise and offer support. You may also find that your Students Union has an advice service for students - at Keele we have a team called ASK who offer advice to our students on a variety of financial issues so it's worth seeing if your SU offers something similar.

Amy
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