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Alice lets Bob crash on her sofa 1 or 2 days per week.

Is she still entitled to a single person discount for council tax?

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    Does Bob use the address as his main residence? Sep 22 at 12:12
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    What constitutes such use?
    – Joseph P.
    Sep 22 at 12:18
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    If I were you I would not accept my answer just yet. Leaving the question without an accepted answer should increase the chance of someone else, possibly with more practical knowledge or experience, deciding to post an answer.
    – phoog
    Sep 22 at 12:51

1 Answer 1

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Council tax arises from Part 1 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This provides that liability for the tax is to be calculated on a daily basis. If there are two residents on some days and one resident on other days, then the single person discount applies only on the days when there is one resident. Crucially for this question, however,

In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires ... “resident”, in relation to any dwelling, means an individual who has attained the age of 18 years and has his sole or main residence in the dwelling.

The answer to the question, therefore, depends on an analysis of Bob's residence. The single person discount should remain in place for any day when Bob's sole or main residence is somewhere else, and it should be forfeit on any day when Bob's sole or main residence is Alice's place. Where Bob sleeps will be one element considered in determining his sole or main residence, but it should not be the only one.

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    This is a great answer on the letter of the law, however it doesn't address the realistic likelihood of what may be considered and happen in practice.
    – Joseph P.
    Sep 22 at 12:28
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    @JosephP. What it would often come down to is Bob's ability to demonstrate that somewhere else was their "main residence" during that time period - if they've got their own home they return to the rest of the week that's going to be their "main" residence and the discount is safe, on the other hand if they travel for work during the week and return to Alice's at the weekend then Alice's discount is gone. Additionally things like electoral roll, utility accounts etc will go in to making up a picture of who is "resident" at an address Sep 22 at 12:41
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    @JosephP. I have no idea about that, I'm afraid, but I wouldn't be surprised if it depends on which council you're dealing with. Local governments tend not to be very consistent in applying the law.
    – phoog
    Sep 22 at 12:44
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    @phoog I agree with JP that there is no way that a council would get into this level of detail. The daily basis for calculation is for calculating how much you owe if you move into or out of a property part-way through a month (council tax is payable monthly). I would imagine that a stronger test for residence is, for example, where you get your mail delivered - or more simply, what address you use when you are asked for your address. Sep 22 at 12:44
  • @motosubatsu as far as I understand it, however, it's not dependent on Bob's ability to show another main residence so much as it is dependent on Alice's ability to demonstrate that Bob has another main residence. That, perhaps unfortunately, may be limited if Bob is for some reason uncooperative.
    – phoog
    Sep 22 at 12:45

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