The full Council Tax is made up of a property element (50%) and a person element (50%). The full charge assumes that there are two (or more) adult occupiers and if there is only one adult occupier a discount of 25% may be claimed.
You can claim by completing a Single Person Discount form available from the Council Tax office and Local Offices, or by writing to the Council Tax office claiming the discount and giving the date from which you wish to claim.
You should apply when you first become entitled. We may check your claim by visiting the property and checking other records. Because it is almost impossible to check backdated claims, we will not usually backdate a discount more than a short period unless you have a very good reason for not applying at the right time and you can provide good documentary evidence to support your claim.
Not realising that you needed to apply is not a good reason. The type of reasons we would need to consider whether we might award a backdated discount are:
Each case will be treated on its merit and other reasons will be considered.
If you want us to consider backdating your claim a long way, you should send a letter with the claim form explaining why you did not apply when you first started living alone and provide any documentary evidence you may have to support your claim.
It is difficult to provide documents or other evidence showing that you live alone, but the sort of evidence that might be acceptable would be copies of claims for various state benefits which involve declaring your personal circumstances. Examples are claims for Council Tax and Housing Benefit. In the case of Council Tax and Housing Benefit we normally check matters with the Benefit Section.
Absences because someone is working away from home or taking extended holidays are not usually enough to give rise to a Single Person Discount. In the case of married or unmarried partners even if someone is away a lot of the time because of work, the 'marital home' remains their residence for Council Tax purposes. Adult children taking extended holidays are usually considered to have their main residence at the 'family home' unless their absence is total and very long, i.e. years rather than months. (See Sole or Main Residence)
Some people are 'disregarded' for Council Tax purposes - that is they are treated as if they are not resident, which can result in a discount (see Council Tax Discounts).