If you are at University then for Council Tax purposes a Student Certificate, to confirm you are a full-time student, is usually required by a Local Authority before they will consider awarding any Council Tax reduction. This Certificate is not however an absolute requirement and you can get by without one if need be.
What is the Student Certificate issued by a University?
The Council Tax (Discount Disregards) Order 1992 (as amended) sets out that a Student Certificate will confirm that the person named on it is or has studied on a full-time course of education (as defined for Council Tax purposes). The Student Certificate is used to assist in proving to the Local Authority that you should be regarded as full-time University Student when Council Tax is being calculated.
Should I get a Student Certificate from the University ?
Paragraph 5(1) of Schedule 1 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 requires that a University “shall, on request, supply a certificate” where a person is or was a student (this being the Council Tax definition of a student – note that this has been amended slightly via subsequent legislation). Note however that where a person finished the course of education more than 1 year ago the University can refuse to supply the Certificate.
What if the University refuses to give me a Student Certificate ?
In Council Tax legislation there are two main areas in which they can refuse to issue the Student Certificate:
- Where a person finished the course of education of education more than 1 year ago the University can refuse to supply the Certificate.
- The Student Certificate is issued to a ‘student’. For Council Tax purposes a ‘student’ (this being the Council Tax definition of a student – note that this has been amended slightly via subsequent legislation) is one who meets the full-time hours requirement etc set out in legislation. If the University believe you are not a ‘student’ for Council Tax purposes then they do not have to issue the Student Certificate.
Do I have to have a Student Certificate ?
If the University will not provide a Student Certificate then you should apply to the Local Authority in any case as they themselves will make the final decision. In undertaking the final decision there is no specific requirement within legislation to have to provide a student certificate as proof (although it does help if you can !) and so any relevant reduction can be applied without one where need-be.
If I apply retrospectively can I still get a reduction ?
There is nothing in Council Tax legislation which prevents a reduction being applied for retrospectively in most cases. You should be aware of the Limitation Act however as many councils will quote it to try and stop backdating occurring.
Individual students are disregarded when Council Tax is calculated and in most cases a property which is occupied only by full time students will be exempt. It should be noted however that there are however some specific situations where a student can still be liable for a Council Tax charge on a property.
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This article is solely the view of LGFA92, the Council Tax experts, based on our interpretation of legislation. Your local authority is free to dispute this view. A binding decision may require the intervention of a valuation tribunal.