Council tax discount to continue
West Oxfordshire District Council is one of the first councils to introduce a local discount scheme for unoccupied properties under repair following last year’s floods. This means that householders, whose properties were initially exempt from Council Tax whilst being renovated, are not forced to pay Council Tax on their temporary accommodation and on their flooded property now that the one year exemption has ended.
Currently, one year on from the flooding, there are 80 such properties in West Oxfordshire, but in total 220 householders have received Council Tax exemptions over the last year.
West Oxfordshire District Council estimate that the cost of exempted Council Tax up to mid-July 2008 is around £300,000. This exemption is available as a right but the cost is met by all local tax payers. However, one year on the Government has announced that it will help meet the costs of any discretionary local discount scheme from July 2008 so that affected householders can continue to receive a discount on their uninhabitable homes.
Cllr Simon Hoare, Cabinet Member for Resources said, “We welcome the Government’s proposals to meet the additional costs. Without them they would otherwise have fallen on West Oxfordshire taxpayers. Our scheme will mean that owners of properties that are still under renovation as a consequence of last year’s flooding will not have to pay Council Tax on their home in addition to their current temporary accommodation. “
The Council estimates that up to 50 properties will remain vacant up to December 2008 and the cost of the local discount could be in the region of £50,000.
As soon as the property is reoccupied then the householder will pay their normal Council Tax. Properties exempt from Council Tax are reviewed regularly on a case by case basis.
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