Property exemptions, discounts and premiums

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Unoccupied but furnished properties. 

There are no reductions for unoccupied but furnished properties, 100% Council Tax is charged.

Unoccupied and unfurnished property

Empty properties are defined as those which are unoccupied and unfurnished. A 25% discount is granted for a period of 28 days from the date a property becomes unoccupied and unfurnished. Note that the 28 day discount is awarded against the property, not the owner. When the discount ends the full charge is payable. If the property remains empty for more than 2 years (from when it first became empty) the level of charge will increase.

Visit our Moving home webpage to tell us if you are moving house. If the empty discount is due, it will then be applied automatically. 

Property empty for over 2 years

From 1st April 2019 when a property has been empty for over 2 years, a ‘long-term empty premium’ of 100% is applied, so the rate of Council Tax payable is 200%. (Prior to this date the premium charge was 50%, making the previous rate payable 150%).

For the financial year beginning on 1 April 2020 the maximum premium is;

  • Long Term Empty 2-5 years –100%
  • Long Term Empty 5 years and over - 200%

For the financial year beginning on 1 April 2021 the maximum premium is;

  • Long Term Empty 2-5 years –100%
  • Long Term Empty 5 - 9 years - 200%
  • Long Term Empty at least 10 years and over – 300%

This means that from 1st April 2021, properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished more than ten years will be charged four times the standard amount of the band for the property, see the example below: -

Council Tax£1,500
300% Premium (10 years & Over)£4,500
Council Tax Payable£6,000

Structural alterations or major repair work - uninhabitable property

If a property is undergoing substantial refurbishment work or structural alterations are taking place, you can apply for a 10% discount for up to 12 months. After this time, the property will be treated as a standard empty property. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) may decide to delete the property from the Council Tax list. The VOA will only do this if:

  • the property is derelict and uninhabitable, or
  • if the work is substantial and the property is being rebuilt or structurally altered

Read more information on uninhabitable properties 

Exemption Classes

The homes in the lists below are exempt from Council Tax.

Apply now

Exempt Unoccupied Homes

Exemption Category



Homes owned by a charity; (exemptions are allowed for up to a maximum of six months from when the property became unoccupied)
DHomes that are left empty by an owner or tenant who was living there until going into prison.
E/IHomes that are left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital, a home, or elsewhere.
FHomes that are waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted. Exemption continues for up to six months after they are granted.
GHomes that are empty because it is against the law for anyone to live in them.
HHomes that are waiting for a minister of religion to move in.
JHomes that are left empty by the owner or tenant who was living there until moving away to care for someone.
KHomes that are owned by a student and were last occupied by that student.
LHomes that have been repossessed.
QHomes that are the responsibility of a bankrupt's trustee.
RHomes that are a site for an individual caravan, mobile home, or a mooring.
THomes that are part of a property which also includes another home and cannot be let separately.

Exempt Occupied Homes

Exemption CategoryDetails
M/NHomes that are only occupied by students.
SHomes that are only occupied by people aged under 18.
UHomes that are only occupied by people who have a severe mental difficulty and who would otherwise have to pay.
VHomes that are occupied by a diplomat or member of certain international organisations.
WAn annexe occupied by a person over 65 or disabled or severely mentally impaired who is dependant on the relatives that are residing in the main part of the property.

Exempt Occupied and Unoccupied Homes

Exemption Category


OHomes that are forces barracks or married quarters. The Crown will pay towards the cost of local services through a special arrangement.
PHomes where the taxpayer is in any visiting force (for example the United States Air Force), or is a dependant of a serviceman who doesn't normally live in the UK.

Classes A to W above are only broad descriptions of the available exemptions. If you are waiting for the outcome of an application for an exemption, you must continue to pay the current bill. When an exemption ends we will send you a bill for the remainder of the financial year's charge.

Please remember, if your circumstances change, you must tell us within 21 days.

Contact Details

Council Tax,
Ipswich Borough Council,
1W Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,

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01473 432000