Section 13a - Discretionary Hardship Award

All Local Authorities must have a Section 13A scheme through which any person can make a request for an amount of Council Tax to be reduced or written off. The award is discretionary.  The local authority must have a system in place to allow a person to make the request.

All claims will be considered on an individual basis.  There is a financial implication to the Council as funding for any section 13A discounts must be provided by the Council. All applications are considered on their individual merits.


Every Council Taxpayer is entitled to make an application for a discretionary Council Tax reduction. Although, the discretionary reduction will only be granted to Council Taxpayers in exceptional circumstances and will normally be for a short-term period.

When considering an application, the following factors will be considered: 

  • There must be evidence of financial hardship or unforeseen, exceptional circumstances to justify any reduction. 
  • All other eligible discounts/reliefs must have been explored prior to an application being made.
  • The Council Taxpayer does not have access to other funds/assets that could be used to pay the council tax.
  • All other legitimate means of resolving the situation have been investigated and exhausted by the liable council tax payer. If they have not been, it is unlikely that an award will be made.
  • The payment record history of the Council Taxpayer.
  • The amount outstanding must not be the result of wilful refusal to pay or culpable neglect.
  • Relief will only apply to council tax payer’s primary home. 

Applying for a Section 13A Discount Award

  • Discretionary Council Tax reductions must be applied for in writing by the Council Taxpayer, their advocate/appointee or a recognised third party acting on their behalf. Please send your section 13a request to P.O. Box 355, TW3 4PJ.
  • Where the application is on the grounds of financial hardship evidence must be provided. You will be required to provide proof of earnings for you and your households and proof of savings.
  • The application should normally relate to the current Council Tax year, unless the Council Taxpayer has only recently received a bill following a retrospective change to a previous year. 

The Head of Revenues and Benefits will determine Discretionary Discount applications. 

Successful applicants will be notified in writing of the amount and period a Discretionary Council Tax reduction has been awarded for. Any entitlement is applied to the Council Tax account and a revised bill is sent. Awards are limited to the end of the financial year in which the application is made. 

A decision will be made within 10 working days of receiving all the information required. 

The right to appeal

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing together with the reason for the decision. They will have the right of appeal.  All appeals must be submitted in writing clearly explaining reasons for their appeal. All appeals must be submitted within one calendar month of the decision being made on the application.

If more information is required, the customer must provide it within one calendar month or a decision will be made on the available information.

If you are unhappy with the Council’s decision and wish to appeal the matter further, you would need to appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal Service (VTS). Further information can be found at


If a reduction has been made because of a false or fraudulent claim the Council reserves the right to withdraw the award. The Council will consider prosecuting any applicant who makes a false statement or provides fraudulent evidence in support of an application. 

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