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Council Tax

Energy Bills Rebate

South Somerset Energy Rebate Mandatory Scheme

On 3 February 2022, the Government announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

This includes a £150 non-repayable Council Tax Rebate payment for all households that are liable for Council Tax in Bands A-D in England. Please note that this ‘rebate’ will be in the form of a £150 payment per household, paid directly into bank accounts in order to help with rising energy costs.  It is not a reduction in your Council Tax bill.

You don’t need to do anything at this point, we will be in touch

It is important to note that government guidance related to this scheme is updated regularly and may change over time. If you are entitled to the rebate we will make contact with you. We are dealing with approximately 60,000 Band A to D properties within South Somerset, so this is a significant challenge. Central Government is proposing that all payments are made by 30 September 2022.

£150 Council Tax Energy Rebates issued by SSDC so far

In the first instance, for efficiency, we are paying customers who pay by direct debit and who have successfully set up a direct debit before 1st April 2022

So far we have made 38,992 payments to Direct Debit Payers, totalling £5,848,800.

We have a requirement from government to verify bank details by waiting for receipt of the first Council Tax DD payment of the financial year, and we'll continue to issue £150 Council Tax Energy Rebates throughout May and June 2022 as these first direct debit payments are received. 

When householders receive their £150 Council Tax Energy Rebate payment, it will show on their bank statement as South Somerset DC.

If you pay your direct debit but have not received your Council Tax Energy Rebate

It could be that there is an anomaly on your file that is preventing the payment process, for example, if a customer's bank details do not match the name on the Council Tax bill.  We have deployed staff to check records for anomalies and will contact customers to apply for the rebate, along with those that do not pay by Direct Debit if we are unable to resolve this in-house.  If a mismatch can be corrected or resolved, providing a successful Direct Debit payment has been made, these customers will receive their £150 Council Tax Rebate at the next payment run which is currently once per week.  (To put this in context, officers are working their way through a list of 1600 mismatches, which understandably takes some time.)

If your Council Tax is paid by a 3rd party on your behalf

If the Council Tax direct debit is paid by a 3rd Party on the householder’s behalf, the householder will need to apply using the same process as for those who do not pay by direct debit. We are finalising the claim process and will publish this as soon as it is ready.

Please be reassured that we are working to get the rebate to everyone who is eligible as a matter of priority.

Eligibility

The grant is being provided on the assumption that those in receipt were a liable Council Taxpayer (or would have been if the property were not exempt) and that the property met the criteria set out below on 1 April 2022. If this is not the case, the grant may be liable for recovery. 

To be eligible, the property must be: 

  1. Valued in council tax bands A to D. This includes property that is valued in band E but has an alternative valuation band of band D, as a result of the disabled band reduction scheme;
  2. Someone’s sole or main residence; or
  3. A chargeable dwelling, which receives an exemption for one of the following reasons:

i.    property occupied only by students
ii.   property occupied only by people under 18 years of age
iii.  property occupied only by people who are severely mentally impaired
iv.  self-contained annexes occupied by elderly or disabled relatives

*The Ministry of Defence will be in touch with residents of armed forces accommodation that is exempt under class O about corresponding cost of living support.

The grant is being provided to support all residents of the household.

If you have received an energy rebate payment and do not meet the above criteria please contact us using the form here 

South Somerset District Council will not charge you for this scheme, so please be vigilant if anybody contacts you asking for bank details or requests a fee to claim this payment on your behalf. The council may ask for your bank details but this will be as part of an official application process, we will not cold call you.

  1. How does the Council Tax Rebate scheme work?

    • 80% of households in England are in Council Tax Bands A-D, so will benefit from this rebate. The rebate will not be paid for second homes or empty properties.
    • Households in England in Bands A-D that pay less than £150 or do not pay Council Tax as a result of Local Council Tax Support will also be eligible for a payment of £150.
    • People in receipt of the Single Person Discount in Bands A-D will be eligible for a payment of £150.

    The Government has also produced guidance but left some of the detail, including the payment process, to the local authorities, in this case South Somerset District Council. The rebate will be made by local authorities as a one off payment to households. This won’t have to be repaid.

    It is important to be aware that the energy rebate scheme will be based on the Council’s records as at 1 April 2022 and not at the time we produced the Council Tax bills for 2022/23. Therefore, until close of business on 1 April 2022 we will not know how many households are eligible or who should expect a payment (as every day we make dozens of changes to reflect the changing circumstances within the district’s properties).

  2. How will payment be made?

    If you pay your Council Tax by Direct Debit, we already have your bank details. We will pay the money straight into your bank account. We will do our best to make these payments as soon as possible and are aiming to make the first payments in April 2022 and the vast majority by the end of May 2022 for those that have paid their first Council Tax payment by Direct Debit. If you don’t currently pay by Direct Debit but would like to, you can set up an instruction by telephoning 01935 462462 or by completing the Direct Debit mandate enclosed with your annual Council Tax bill.

    If you have recently set up a new Direct Debit instruction, in order to verify your details, we will wait until after your first Direct Debit has been successfully collected before you receive your energy payment.

    In cases where the name on the bank account differs to the name on the Council Tax record these customers are likely to have to follow a claim process, details of which are not currently known. We will write to all customers who need to submit a claim. You don’t need to take any action yet.

  3. How we will make payment – for those who don’t pay Council Tax by Direct Debit

    If you don’t pay your Council Tax by Direct Debit, and are eligible for an energy rebate payment, we will contact you by to let you know how to claim your payment.

    We will not be able to make payment by cheque or in cash.

    You don’t need to take any action yet.  We are finalising the claim process as a priority, and anticipate that the application process will open in late May and we will contact you to apply.

    Please note that the Council will not telephone you to ask for your bank details.

  4. Who is eligible?

    The person or persons named on the Council Tax account who meet all of the following criteria at 1 April 2022

    1. Their home is valued in council tax bands A – D. This includes property that is valued in band E but has an alternative valuation band of band D, as a result of the disabled band reduction scheme
    2. It is the council tax payer’s sole or main residence;
    3. It is a chargeable dwelling, or is in one of the following exemption classes
    • N – property occupied only by students
    • S – property occupied by only by people under 18 years of age
    • U - property occupied only by people who are severely mentally impaired
    • W - self contained annexes occupied by elderly or disabled relatives

  5. Who is not eligible

    No energy rebate will be paid in respect of:

    • A property that has no permanent resident and is someone’s second home
    • An unoccupied property (for the purposes of calculating council tax)
    • Where the council tax payer is exempt from paying council for any reason other than one of the four classes referred to earlier
    • Where the person who is liable to pay the council tax (or would be were the property not exempt) is a local authority, a corporate body or other body such as a housing association, the government or governmental body
    • If you live in a Ministry of Defence property, your payment will not be made by South Somerset District Council, the MOD will be in touch with you.

  6. How to check which Council Tax band your property is in

    Your Council Tax band is shown on your Council Tax bill. Alternatively, you can check your band by entering your postcode on the Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) website.  As the effective date for the Council Tax Energy Rebate is 1 April 2022, changes made to the Council Tax band of your home after this date will not be taken into consideration.

  7. What about retrospective changes to Council Tax records?

    Eligibility for the £150 rebate is based on the information we hold on our Council Tax records on 1 April 2022.

    We are likely to be notified of some changes of Council Tax payer, or changes to Council Tax bands after this date that apply retrospectively to 1 April 2022.

    Where we are advised after 1 April 2022 of a change of Council Tax payer that will affect liability at 1 April 2022 we will take reasonable steps to clawback payment from the person or people who received payment but should not have been named on the Council Tax records on 1 April 2022. We will also take reasonable steps to pay the person or people who should have been named on the Council Tax records on 1 April 2022.

    Where the council is notified of a change of valuation band, either upwards or downwards, after 1 April 2022, regardless of when the change takes effect, the change will be ignored for the purpose of this rebate scheme. Any payments we make will be based on our records at 1 April 2022.

    The exception is where a property is a new build and at 1 April 2022 not yet banded. In these cases, eligibility will be determined based on the official band subsequently allocated by the Valuation Office Agency, (VOA), provided this has an effective date before or on 1 April 2022. However, the final payment date for the rebate is 30 September 2022. No payments for whatever reason can be made after that date.

  8. Discretionary Council Tax Rebate scheme

    For those who need help with their energy bills but are not eligible, the government are providing local authorities with discretionary funding. South Somerset District Council will determine locally how best to make use of this funding and will publish its discretionary scheme on this page together with details on how to apply.

  9. Frequently Asked Questions

    What if I move house after April 1st?
    You will be entitled to the Council Tax Energy Rebate for the address you occupied on 1 April 2022.

    What if my new build doesn’t have a valuation band yet?
    When the VOA provide the band, you will then be entitled to the Council Tax Energy Rebate as long as the chargeable band is in A to D and it is backdated to 1 April 2022 or before.

    What if my household isn’t eligible?
    You may be entitled to a rebate under our discretionary scheme. Details will be available on our website when a decision is made about who will be entitled under the discretionary scheme. The Government have given local authorities until the end of November 2022 to make payments under the discretionary scheme.

    What if I am not liable for Council Tax? (HMOs / care homes etc)
    You may be entitled to a rebate under our discretionary scheme. Details will be available on our website when a decision is made about who will be entitled under the discretionary scheme. The Government have given local authorities until the end of November 2022 to make payments under the discretionary scheme.

    What if my Council Tax account wasn’t set up on April 1st? (due to SSDC backlog for example)
    As long as we hold the information needed to amend our records by September 2022 and any amendment is backdated to 1 April 2022 or earlier, and you meet the criteria, then you will be entitled to the rebate when your Council Tax account is set up.

    My property is showing as unoccupied, but it isn’t.
    You should supply us with the full details of occupation (names of occupiers and effective dates) so we can amend our records by visiting Contact us | South Somerset District Council

    The name on my bank account doesn’t match the name on my Council Tax account. (married / divorced etc)
    You should clarify the reason for the discrepancy in writing/email as we may need to amend our Council Tax records. We may be able to process a payment automatically or we may require you to complete the online application process. Please report this by visiting Contact us | South Somerset District Council

    I am a joint tenant – will we get £75 each?
    No, the guidance states that one payment of £150 should be made to each household regardless of the number of liable council tax payers. The local authority is not able to split the payment down into parts. If the Council Tax is paid via Direct Debit, then the full £150 rebate should be paid into the bank account that is used to pay the Council Tax.  

    I don’t want to set up a Direct Debit because I have Council Tax arrears
    Any new Direct Debit that is set up will cover current/future year instalments only. It will not be set up to cover any summonsed arrears. You will also receive a demand notice in advance of any payments being taken informing you of the amounts and payment dates.

    I am exempt from paying Council Tax
    If you live in the property (main residence) and fulfil the other qualifying criteria, then you will still be entitled to the payment. On the assumption that you won’t have a Direct Debit set up, we will require you to complete the online application process. Details of how to apply will be announced in due course so please keep checking back to this webpage. If your exemption is due to the property being vacant then you will not qualify for the rebate.

    I have a bank account which doesn’t allow Direct Debits
    We will require you to complete the online application process. Details of how to apply will be announced in due course so please keep checking back to this webpage.

    My bank account is overdrawn – how do I make sure I get the money?
    You can speak to your bank about “first right of appropriation”. This gives you the right to tell your bank/building society how you want the money paid into your account to be used. Further advice/sample letter can be found at National Debtline.    https://www.nationaldebtline.org/sample-letters/ask-your-bank-pay-partic...

    Where does the money for the Council Tax Energy Bills Rebate come from? 

    The government is providing the funds as part of a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.  The council tax rebate is part of the Government’s Energy Bills Rebate package. 

    Do I have to pay the Council Tax Energy Bills Rebate back? 

    If you are an eligible householder and have received the £150 Council Tax Energy Bills Rebate you do not have to pay it back. 

    Does the £150 Council Tax Energy Rebate get deducted from my council tax bill? 

    This ‘rebate’ is part of the government's Energy Bills Rebate package and is to support residents with rising energy costs. It is not a reduction in your council tax bill. 

    Why were people who pay their Council Tax by direct debit given the Energy Bills Rebate first? 

    We are working our way through approximately 60,000 eligible households and want everyone who is eligible to receive their £150 energy bills rebate as soon as possible. As we already hold bank details for those who pay by direct debit it is efficient to issue payments to these residents first. In the meantime we are working hard to find the best way to pay those who do not pay by direct debit and will published how to claim as soon as possible. Everyone who is eligible will receive the £150 in due course and the government have asked that everyone who is eligible be paid by September. 

    I pay by direct debit but have not received my Council Tax Energy Rebate

    It could be that there is an anomaly on your file that is preventing the payment process, for example, if a customer's bank details do not match the name on the Council Tax bill.  We have deployed staff to check records for anomalies and will contact customers to apply for the rebate, along with those that do not pay by Direct Debit if we are unable to resolve this in house.  If a mismatch can be corrected or resolved, providing a successful Direct Debit payment has been made, these customers will receive their £150 Council Tax Rebate at the next payment run (currently once per week).  

    Why don’t people in Band E and above receive the Council Tax Energy Bills Rebate? 

    For those not eligible for a rebate under the core criteria in council tax bands A-D in England, but are struggling to meet the costs of rising energy bills (including those in higher council tax bands) a discretionary fund is being launched by the Government. This will be made available through local authorities and we will be informing residents with more information and how to apply soon. Please keep checking our web page.

    What happens to people who pay reduced or no Council Tax? 

    If you live in the property (main residence) and fulfil the other qualifying criteria then you will be entitled to the payment. On the assumption that you won’t have a direct debit set up, we will require you to complete the online application process. Details of how to apply will be announced in due course so please keep checking back to our web page

     

    What is the difference between the £150 Council Tax Energy Bills Rebate and the £200 that is coming later in the year?

    The £150 Council Tax Energy Rebate is a one off payment made to all eligible householders to help with the cost of rising energy prices. This does not have to be paid back.

    The £200 Energy Bill Discount Scheme later this year will give a £200 discount on energy bills for domestic electricity customers in Great Britain. The government will provide funding to all suppliers for them to pass on to their domestic energy customers from October. This will be paid back automatically over the next 5 years.

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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