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Discounts, exemptions and reductions

Discounts for single person households, disabled people and students as well as some other groups exist, which may allow people in those groups a discount on their council tax bill.

Check with your local council to see if you're eligible for a discount or reduction.

Council tax exemptions and reduction

Being 'exempt' from paying council tax means you do not have to pay.

People with low incomes may be eligible for help through Council Tax Reduction, administered by your local council.

Responsibility for assisting those who need help with their council tax in Scotland sits with each local council.

Support is available through a scheme of council tax reductions.

Shared accommodation

If you share a public space such as bathrooms, kitchen or toilet with other residents in a rented accommodation and you're receiving housing support, you may be exempt from paying council tax.


If you're a student and live alone or share the rent with other students, you may be exempt from paying council tax.

If you're a student, but are sharing with someone who is not a student, you may be eligible for council tax reduction.

Students living in halls of residence are exempt from paying council tax.

Mental impairment

If you or someone you live with are severely mentally impaired, you may be exempt from paying council tax. To claim council tax exemption, contact your local council to get a form for your doctor to sign.

Short term empty and unfurnished homes

If your property's unoccupied, your local council may give a discount for a limited amount of time if you can prove:

  • you're in the process of renovating
  • it's for sale or rent

A previous owner or occupier's use of the property may affect how much discount you get and for how long.

Long term empty and unfurnished homes

If your property has been unoccupied for more than 12 months, your council has the option to charge double the normal rate of council tax. This is called a surcharge.

Councils have discretion to either:

  • grant no discount for empty homes
  • increase the council tax by 100% for certain properties which have been empty for 1 year or more

You should always check with your local council.

Second homes and holiday homes

You may be able to get a discount on your council tax bill if you own a second home or a purpose built holiday home. This discount does not reduce your water and sewerage charges. Councils have discretion either to grant no discount for second homes, or to grant a discount between 10% and 50%. You should always check with your local council.

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