Council Tax exemptions

Some homes may be exempt from Council Tax. This depends on the reason they are empty or the special circumstances of the people who live in them.

Apply for a Council Tax exemption

You can log in or register for an online account to apply for a Council Tax exemption. You can also tell us without signing up for an account. To do this click on 'Continue without registering' after you have clicked on 'Apply for a Council Tax exemption' below.

Apply for a Council Tax exemption

Please include your Council Tax reference number, which can be found on your bill.

Cancel a Council Tax exemption

Reviewing Council Tax discounts and exemptions

Wirral Council regularly reviews all customers who receive Council Tax discounts and exemptions. This is to ensure discounts and exemptions are still valid and our information is up to date.

These reviews may be carried out by email. Any surveys about your discount or exemption will come from ecitizenfinance@wirral.gov.uk. The email will contain a link for you to update or verify your details.

Occupied properties

The following are exempt from Council Tax. There are specific criteria that must be met for each exemption:

  • lived in only by full time students. If the husband, wife or dependant of a student is not a British citizen and their visa prevents them from taking paid employment or claiming benefits, the exemption will still apply as long as the other person is a student
  • lived in only by people below the age of 18
  • a property which forms part of a single property including at least one other property (granny flat) and which is the only or main residence of a dependant relative of someone in the main property
  • lived in by a foreign diplomat or senior official of certain international organisations or Forces barracks and married quarters
  • lived in only by people who are severely mentally impaired (subject to qualifying criteria below)
  • Qualifying criteria for severely mentally impaired Council Tax exemption (PDF, 88KB)

More information about Council Tax discounts and exemptions

Empty properties

The following are exempt from Council Tax. There are specific criteria that must be met for each exemption. If the property is or has been:

  • owned by a charity (exempt for up to six months). A dwelling owned by a body established for charitable purposes only, which is unoccupied and has been so for a period of less than 6 months and was last occupied in furtherance of the objects of the charity¬†
  • left empty by someone who is now in prison
  • left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital or a home, such as a nursing home
  • Repossessed (in possession of the mortgage company)
  • waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted, and for up to six months after
  • the responsibility of a trustee in bankruptcy
  • empty because the law has said it must not be lived in
  • waiting to be lived in by a minister of religion
  • left empty by students who live elsewhere to carry out their course
  • unable to be let separately because it is part of a main property or there is a planning restriction

If you own an exempt property, you do not receive a Council Tax bill but you are sent an Exempt Dwelling Notification.

There is no Council Tax discount for empty or unoccupied properties, the full Council Tax is payable unless it is exempt for one of the above reasons.

Empty Property Premium

A premium is an additional amount of Council Tax to be paid on top of the standard Council Tax charge.

The Government introduced an amendment to legislation in October 2023 - the Levelling up and Regeneration Act 2023 - which gave billing authorities the ability to charge a Council Tax premium from 1 April 2024 on properties that are unoccupied and unfurnished after 1 year (previously the premium was applied after 2 years) and properties that are unoccupied and furnished (often referred to as second homes) from 1 April 2025.

At its Budget Council meeting of 26 February 2024, Wirral Council decided to apply the new Premium with effect from 1 April 2024 for long term empty and unoccupied properties, and from 1 April 2025 for second homes.

The premiums for properties that are empty for 5 to 10 years and 10 or more years remain unchanged.

Long Term Empty Property Premium

The Long Term Empty Property Premium charges from 1 April 2024:

Duration Charge
1 to 5 years a premium of 100% making a total payable of 200% of the full Council Tax charge
5 to 10 years a premium of 200% making a total payable of 300% of the full Council Tax charge
10 years + a premium of 300% making a total payable of 400% of the full Council Tax charge

The premium applies to the property and is based on the length of time the property has been empty. An empty period starts from when the property became empty and unfurnished. A premium charge will still apply if you have recently purchased or leased/rented a property that has previously been empty for a long period and remains empty and unfurnished, as the charges relate the to the property and are not related to the ownership or tenancy changes.

To ensure the Council Tax is correct, please inform the Council Tax office when your property is either, sold or let providing full details of the new tenants or owner. The premium will end when a property becomes occupied, and it is the occupier's sole or main property.

Report a change online

Tackling empty residential properties is a priority for Wirral Council and the Council would like to encourage owners of empty properties to get in touch and find out about the assistance available to help them improve, let or sell their property in order to facilitate the return to use of their premises and avoid payment of the additional long term empty premium.

For further advice please contact the Housing Standards and Renewal Team on 0151 691 8132 or email emptyproperties@wirral.gov.uk

Find out more about housing information and advice

Second homes discount

For Council Tax purposes, second homes are properties that you own or rent, which are furnished, and where no-one lives as their main residence.

A full Council Tax charge is currently payable on furnished second homes.

From 1 April 2025, properties that are unoccupied and furnished, often referred to as second homes, will be subject to a 100% premium (200% payable), provided no exemption criteria has been met.

We will provide more information about this premium once the government provides further guidance. This may include information about second homes (unoccupied and furnished properties) that may be exempt from this premium.

Properties having structural alterations or repairs

Properties requiring or undergoing structural repairs, or those that are uninhabitable, are no longer exempt and no discount will apply. A full Council Tax charge will be payable.

Find out more about Council Tax exemption criteria

Council Tax Privacy Notice