Foster carers approved by Thurrock Council can get relief amounting to full exemption from paying council tax, where eligible.
This exemption is in addition to payments of fostering allowance and is reviewed annually.
Who is eligible
As a foster carer, you will be eligible for full council tax relief if you:
- are fully approved as a foster carer by us and meet the care skills standard – go to GOV.UK: foster carer training, support and development standards
- have provided foster care to a child for a total of 26 weeks (182 days) in the previous 12 months from 1 April to 31 March – this need not be 182 consecutive days or for the same child, and may include 'staying put' arrangements where the arrangement meant you weren't able to accept other placements
- maintain your approval as a foster carer with us
- maintain your availability to foster
- either live within Thurrock, or live outside Thurrock but were a foster carer approved by us as of the previous 1 April
- claim all relevant benefits and discounts to which you would usually be entitled
- claim this exemption only on the one property in which you live
- agree to receiving this council tax relief
These eligibility criteria also apply if we have recognised you as a 'connected person' – that is, a relative, friend or other person connected with a child – and approved you as a 'family and friends' foster carer.
Newly-approved foster carers can benefit from council tax relief when they meet all the eligibility criteria. This means you would have had to provide placements to children for at least 182 days in a 12-month period from 1 April and 31 March.
If you transfer to us from another fostering agency, the same eligibility criteria apply. If you have at least one child placed with you by us, then the days the child has been placed with you will count towards the 182 days for eligibility.
Eligibility is not back-dated.
If you are eligible
If you are eligible, your exemption relief from paying council tax will be automatic and you do not have to make an application.
If you live outside Thurrock but are eligible for council tax relief, having been approved by us as a foster carer throughout the previous period from 1 April to 31 March, you should send us a copy of your council tax bill. You must still pay council tax to your local authority, but we'll provide you with quarterly payments to cover the cost.
If you live outside Thurrock and are approved by us after 1 April, you will not usually be eligible immediately but we may review this on a case-by-case basis where have been approved as a foster carer by another agency and either:
- you have been caring for children placed by us on a long-term basis and the council tax relief contributes to placement stability
- you are caring for children placed by us and have transferred to foster for us
If you move in to Thurrock and were not previously receiving council tax relief, you will become eligible if you meet all the other the eligibility criteria.
If you move out of Thurrock, you will still receive council tax relief as long as you're still eligible.
If you believe you are eligible but have been charged council tax, you should write to the manager of our Fostering team, giving reasons why you believe you are eligible.
When you are not eligible
You will have to pay council tax if you:
- resign as a foster carer
- decide to take break from fostering – but not resign – for more than 30 days, in which case you will be liable for council tax from the 30th day
- receive a qualifying determination for de-registration from our agency decision maker, although you may get a refund if you make a successful appeal against the decision
- are a foster carer approved by another fostering agency but not by Thurrock Council
If you stop being eligible
If you stop being eligible, you will have to pay council tax from the day your eligibility ended. We will notify you when this applies.
If you live outside of Thurrock and stop being eligible, you may have to pay back any overpayment of council tax relief you have received.
Find out more about fostering and let us know if you're interested or would like more information.