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Council Tax Exemptions

Council Tax Exemptions

Important changes for unoccupied properties came into effect from 1st April 2014.

Long Term Empty Properties

From April 2013 the Government made changes to the rules around council tax discounts for empty properties through The Council Tax (Variation for Unoccupied Dwellings) (Scotland) Act.

The change allows the council to vary the council tax charge after a property has been empty for 12 months. These rules have been set to help tackle property shortages across the country.

The council implemented the change from 1st April 2014 and will mean that if you are an owner of a property which has been empty for 12 months or more, the council tax charge for the empty property will increase by an additional 100%.

An exemption will still apply to an empty and unfurnished property for up 6 months from the date it was last occupied. After this, a 50% discount will be awarded for a further 6 months. Once 12 months has elapsed the discount will end and the charge will increase to 200%.

It is important that you advise us as early as possible if the circumstances of your property change.

Unoccupied properties

Unoccupied and unfurnished

Each of these discounts relates to the property.

A previous owner or occupier's use of the property may affect how much discount you get and for how long. A discount may be applied with time limits.

What does unfurnished mean?

Any single piece of removable furniture that is not listed below, will mean the property is partly furnished

  • carpets
  • curtains or blinds
  • items that are built into the property such as some cookers, gas fires and fitted wardrobes or cupboards
  • white goods such as fridge, freezer, dishwasher

If the property is unoccupied and unfurnished, a 100% exemption may be awarded against your Council Tax, water and sewerage charges. The exemption is for up to 6 months from the date the property was last occupied for 3 months or more.

A newly built property will also qualify if it is unoccupied since the date it was first entered on the Council Tax valuation list.

After this, you may get a 10% Council Tax discount for a further 6 months. You will be liable for the full water and sewerage charges.

You will have to pay an extra 100% Council Tax surcharge if the property remains unoccupied at the end of 12 months.

Your water and sewerage charges won't increase.

Unoccupied and furnished

Each of these discounts relates to the property.

A previous owner or occupier's use of the property may affect how much discount you get and for how long. A discount may be applied with time limits.

If the property is unoccupied but furnished, a 10% discount may be awarded. This is for a maximum of 12 months from the date the property was last occupied for 3 months or more. Your water and sewerage charges won't be reduced.

You will have to pay an extra 100% Council Tax surcharge if the property remains unoccupied at the end of 12 months.

Your water and sewerage charges won't increase.

Unoccupied and uninhabitable

Each of these discounts relates to the property.

A previous owner or occupier's use of the property may affect how much discount you get and for how long. A discount may be applied with time limits.

An uninhabitable property is one that is undergoing, or has undergone, major repair work or structural alterations and no one is living there.

If your property is uninhabitable, you may be awarded a 100% exemption against your Council Tax, water and sewerage charges. This is for up to 12 months from the date the property was last occupied.

You will have to pay an extra 100% Council tax surcharge if the property remains unoccupied at the end of 12 months. Your water and sewerage charges won't increase

Other reasons

Unoccupied dwellings where

  • the property has been repossessed,
  • the liable person is receiving care elsewhere, but not in a hospital or care home,
  • the owner occupier of the property has died and a grant of confirmation has not been made in respect of their estate. We will review after 6 months.
  • the property forms part of another property which is lived in and is difficult to let separately, for example granny flats,
  • the property is being kept empty for occupation by a minister of religion. The property must be owned by or held empty on behalf of a religious body.

Or, one of the following reasons may apply

  • the liable person is residing somewhere else providing care to another person,
  • the liable person is receiving care in a hospital or care home,
  • the liable person is in prison or detention,
  • a 100% exemption if the property is occupied solely by students,
  • the dwelling was previously occupied by student(s) (available for a period up to 4 months).

Apply for exemption

To apply for an exemption from Council Tax please contact us using the details below.

For Further Information Contact

Council Tax Team
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 226237 / 450000
Email: