Council tax and students (Confused!)


T

Thomas Wright

Hi

I've been trying to get this information from local council website
(Cambridgeshire, if it makes any difference) and am not having much luck.
If someones got a good resource for information like this, that'd be most
welcome. Alternatively, if someone has fathomed all this out before and
knows the answer, that'd be great.

Here's the situation: I'm living in a house with a friend - He's working and
I'm a student at university. This is all fine and we get 25% off council
tax as one would hope.

My girlfriend is doing AS-levels at a sixth-form college (11.5 hours'
classroom time per week) but also working 17 hours a week. She wants to
move in with me, but we're not sure about whether she would count as being
a student for the purposes of council tax. She's doing 3 AS levels, but
I'm still not sure if that counts as being a full time student. Does
anyone know?

If she doesn't count as a student, then would she get any benefit towards
paying the council tax? If so, how much? I'd hope she would have to pay
none of it, or only a tiny amount because she's not earning an awful lot.

Thanks for your help!
 
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A

Andy Pandy

Thomas Wright said:
Hi

I've been trying to get this information from local council website
(Cambridgeshire, if it makes any difference) and am not having much luck.
If someones got a good resource for information like this, that'd be most
welcome. Alternatively, if someone has fathomed all this out before and
knows the answer, that'd be great.

Here's the situation: I'm living in a house with a friend - He's working and
I'm a student at university. This is all fine and we get 25% off council
tax as one would hope.

My girlfriend is doing AS-levels at a sixth-form college (11.5 hours'
classroom time per week) but also working 17 hours a week. She wants to
move in with me, but we're not sure about whether she would count as being
a student for the purposes of council tax.
She needs to ask her college for a council tax exemption certificate.
She's doing 3 AS levels, but
I'm still not sure if that counts as being a full time student. Does
anyone know?
IIRC is has to be 21 hours per week of study (think this includes home study,
not just lectures etc).
If she doesn't count as a student, then would she get any benefit towards
paying the council tax? If so, how much? I'd hope she would have to pay
none of it, or only a tiny amount because she's not earning an awful lot.
Your friend might be able to claim second adult rebate:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/lifeevent/benefits/council_tax_benefit.asp#whatb

The DWP might want convincing she is your girlfriend and not his! It does make a
difference to whether you'd be entitled, believe it or not, under the bloody
stupid rules in this country.
 
R

Robbie

Andy said:
She needs to ask her college for a council tax exemption certificate.


IIRC is has to be 21 hours per week of study (think this includes home study,
not just lectures etc).
awful lot.

Your friend might be able to claim second adult rebate:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/lifeevent/benefits/council_tax_benefit.asp#whatb

The DWP might want convincing she is your girlfriend and not his! It does make a
difference to whether you'd be entitled, believe it or not, under the bloody
stupid rules in this country.
I was gonna mention the 21 hour rule, it's the one that still exists in
the Child Benefit rules to help define when someone is a student but
I'm not sure how Council Tax may interpet it in this circumstance. Do
her parents get CHB for her? (if she's under 19)?

Is she under 18? Then she won't have to pay any council tax anyway.
Robbie
 
T

Thomas Wright

The college is writing a letter for her to take to the council for this
purpose - I presume that's the same thing, but they seemed unsure as to
whether it would be sufficient to exempt her from paying council tax.


That's good news - she definitely does that, but how does one go about
proving that sort of thing (or do they never ask?)

I was gonna mention the 21 hour rule, it's the one that still exists in
the Child Benefit rules to help define when someone is a student but
I'm not sure how Council Tax may interpet it in this circumstance. Do
her parents get CHB for her? (if she's under 19)?

Is she under 18? Then she won't have to pay any council tax anyway.
Robbie

She's 18 now and will be 19 fairly shortly. Her parents do still get child
benefit for her I think, but I guess that will stop shortly if 19 is the
cut-off point.

Thank you both for your help - that's certainly made it clearer and I think
it's good news.
 
M

Martin Davies

Thomas Wright said:
The college is writing a letter for her to take to the council for this
purpose - I presume that's the same thing, but they seemed unsure as to
whether it would be sufficient to exempt her from paying council tax.



That's good news - she definitely does that, but how does one go about
proving that sort of thing (or do they never ask?)




She's 18 now and will be 19 fairly shortly. Her parents do still get child
benefit for her I think, but I guess that will stop shortly if 19 is the
cut-off point.

Thank you both for your help - that's certainly made it clearer and I think
it's good news.
If she moves in with you, you might want to consider getting the child
benefit paid to you.

Martin <><
 
A

Andy Pandy

Thomas Wright said:
The college is writing a letter for her to take to the council for this
purpose - I presume that's the same thing, but they seemed unsure as to
whether it would be sufficient to exempt her from paying council tax.
There's a standard certificate colleges are supposed to issue to exempt students
on qualifying courses from council tax. Presumably your university gave you one?
Her college should do the same.
That's good news - she definitely does that, but how does one go about
proving that sort of thing (or do they never ask?)
Actually it seems there is another definition of "student" for the purposes of
council tax - someone under 20 and not in "higher education".

A-levels don't count as higher education, not sure about AS-levels. Then she
only needs 12 hours.

See: http://www.oxford.gov.uk/services/tax-discount-student.cfm

The rules will be the same nationwide.
 
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A

Andy Pandy

Martin Davies said:
If she moves in with you, you might want to consider getting the child
benefit paid to you.
Not possible unless he pretends to be her guardian rather than her boyfriend!
 
M

Martin Davies

Andy Pandy said:
Not possible unless he pretends to be her guardian rather than her boyfriend!
You can be both. I've come across it numerous times, from age 15 upwards.

The alternitive is to leave the child benefit with the parents when its not
being used for the child.

Martin <><
 
M

Martin Davies

Andy Pandy said:
upwards.

Not according to: http://www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/childbenefit/eligible.htm#2

"Benefit cannot be paid to a husband wife or partner, but can sometimes be paid
to someone else who is still treated as responsible for that young person."
Yes, so if living with boyfriend/girlfriend, they can claim. If got married
to them, can't claim.
ie, paid to an adult in whose residence they are living.

Martin <><
 
A

Andy Pandy

Martin Davies said:
person."

Yes, so if living with boyfriend/girlfriend, they can claim. If got married
to them, can't claim.
ie, paid to an adult in whose residence they are living.
What do you think the word "partner" mean when referred to in benefit rules?
 
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M

Martin Davies

Andy Pandy said:
What do you think the word "partner" mean when referred to in benefit rules?
Do you think child benefit visit every claimant who isn't the parent to see
if the child is living with them as a partner, or as a child?


Youngest I've come across doing that was a 15 year old living with her 18
year old boyfriend. I dealt with the child support claim from him against
the parents. He was awarded the child benefit.
I've come across it several more times with 16 - 18 year olds.

No-one cares about "partner" when dealing with something relating to a
child, unless there is some sort of means-tested benefit.

Martin <><
 
A

Andy Pandy

Martin Davies said:
rules?

Do you think child benefit visit every claimant who isn't the parent to see
if the child is living with them as a partner, or as a child?
Visit?? Why not just ask, and visit only if fraud is suspected? Many people,
believe it or not, are honest.
Youngest I've come across doing that was a 15 year old living with her 18
year old boyfriend. I dealt with the child support claim from him against
the parents. He was awarded the child benefit.
I've come across it several more times with 16 - 18 year olds.
Child benefit is not payable to the child's "partner", those are the rules.

If benefits staff knowingly award child benefit to a child's partner then they
are surely party to a fraud.
No-one cares about "partner" when dealing with something relating to a
child, unless there is some sort of means-tested benefit.
Perhaps whoever the child benefit is taken from (ie the parents) might care. Or
is it OK to ignore the rules as long as the government doesn't lose out?

What would happen if two 18 year old doing their A-levels decided to live
together? Could they claim the CB for each other?

What about the CTC? This isn't a "means tested benefit" as such. AIUI the
primary indicator of who is mainly responsible for the child, and so who gets
the CTC, is the person who gets the CB. So if the OP gets CB, he should be able
to get the CTC, which in his case is likely to be the full amount.
 
M

Martin Davies

Andy Pandy said:
Visit?? Why not just ask, and visit only if fraud is suspected? Many people,
believe it or not, are honest.
Yes, many are honest.
However, there are some who aren't. Or who don't know the rules well enough.
Or the explanation doesn't seem to apply to them.
Honest mistakes perhaps.
Or they may not be living together as partners.
We may think that a male and female living together are partners, but it
does take a little more than simply living in the same house.
Come to think of it, an older brother or sister could claim CB and child
support for them if living there. Not seen that myself, but presumably does
happen occasionally.


Child benefit is not payable to the child's "partner", those are the
rules.

Yet a child can live with someone other than parents, and that person can
claim child benefit for them. Those are also the rules.
The alternitive is to leave child benefit in payment to parents who don't
have the child living with them.

And the child benefit office would only know the relationship is a partner
one where they are told.

If benefits staff knowingly award child benefit to a child's partner then they
are surely party to a fraud.
Yet if they don't know its a partner, then they will award the benefit.


Perhaps whoever the child benefit is taken from (ie the parents) might care. Or
is it OK to ignore the rules as long as the government doesn't lose out?
Yes, some of them did care. Especially when they get child support forms to
sort out how much they should pay to support their kid living with
boyfriend.
Still, if the child isn't living there, why would the parents want to have
the child benefit?

What would happen if two 18 year old doing their A-levels decided to live
together? Could they claim the CB for each other?
Don't know.
I know an 18 year old not on child benefit for themself can apply for it for
a child living with them.

What about the CTC? This isn't a "means tested benefit" as such. AIUI the
primary indicator of who is mainly responsible for the child, and so who gets
the CTC, is the person who gets the CB. So if the OP gets CB, he should be able
to get the CTC, which in his case is likely to be the full amount.
Possibly.
So an 18 year old with a 15+ year old girlfriend living with him could then
work, get WTC and CTC, CB and child support from 2 parents.
Might add up to a nice bit of change.

Martin <><
 
T

Thomas Wright

Andy said:
Actually it seems there is another definition of "student" for the
purposes of council tax - someone under 20 and not in "higher education".

A-levels don't count as higher education, not sure about AS-levels. Then
she only needs 12 hours.

See: http://www.oxford.gov.uk/services/tax-discount-student.cfm

The rules will be the same nationwide.

Ah, excellent. That's exactly the sort of guide I was looking for and
answers the question exactly. AS-levels are part of A-levels, so I think
they'd be fine too.

Thanks for your help!
 
A

Andy Pandy

Martin Davies said:
Yes, many are honest.
However, there are some who aren't. Or who don't know the rules well enough.
Or the explanation doesn't seem to apply to them.
Honest mistakes perhaps.
Or they may not be living together as partners.
We may think that a male and female living together are partners, but it
does take a little more than simply living in the same house.
Yes, but AIUI, boyfriend/girlfriend living together always count as "partners"
(even if they don't share a bed).
Come to think of it, an older brother or sister could claim CB and child
support for them if living there. Not seen that myself, but presumably does
happen occasionally.
They aren't boyfriend/girlfriend, so no problem there.
rules.

Yet a child can live with someone other than parents, and that person can
claim child benefit for them.
NOT if that person is the child's partner.
Those are also the rules.
The alternitive is to leave child benefit in payment to parents who don't
have the child living with them.

And the child benefit office would only know the relationship is a partner
one where they are told.
And it's not in their procedures to *ask*?? Especially if the "adult" is only a
few years older than the child? Do benefits staff live in the real world?

Anyway, from what you've written, they do get told but it doesn't affect their
decision.
Yet if they don't know its a partner, then they will award the benefit.
You wrote:
"Youngest I've come across doing that was a 15 year old living with her 18 year
old boyfriend. I dealt with the child support claim from him against the
parents. He was awarded the child benefit."

So you knew that the CB claimant was the child's boyfriend. Please explain how
they are not then "partners".

And you encourage the OP to claim CB when he was quite clear about the fact that
the "child" is his girlfriend.
Yes, some of them did care. Especially when they get child support forms to
sort out how much they should pay to support their kid living with
boyfriend.
Still, if the child isn't living there, why would the parents want to have
the child benefit?
Maybe they have debts to pay off after the expense of bringing up a child for
15+ years?
Don't know.
I know an 18 year old not on child benefit for themself can apply for it for
a child living with them.



Possibly.
So an 18 year old with a 15+ year old girlfriend living with him could then
work, get WTC and CTC, CB and child support from 2 parents.
Might add up to a nice bit of change.
Until the parents report the benefit fraud.
 
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M

Martin Davies

Andy Pandy said:
Yes, but AIUI, boyfriend/girlfriend living together always count as "partners"
(even if they don't share a bed).


They aren't boyfriend/girlfriend, so no problem there.


NOT if that person is the child's partner.


And it's not in their procedures to *ask*?? Especially if the "adult" is only a
few years older than the child? Do benefits staff live in the real world?

Anyway, from what you've written, they do get told but it doesn't affect their

You wrote:
"Youngest I've come across doing that was a 15 year old living with her 18 year
old boyfriend. I dealt with the child support claim from him against the
parents. He was awarded the child benefit."

So you knew that the CB claimant was the child's boyfriend. Please explain how
they are not then "partners".
Because we knew that child benefit was awarded to him, and we had a child
support claim.
He was claiming as the adult the child was living with, but we couldn't
class them as living as partners.
He put her down on our forms as the child, not as the partner. And some
questions cannot be asked of a person with care.



And you encourage the OP to claim CB when he was quite clear about the fact that
the "child" is his girlfriend.
That doesn't necessarily mean they are classed as partners.
This is taken from the child benefit claim help notes.

Child Benefit Notes

Part 2 Partner's details

We use partner to mean a person you are married to, or a person

you are living with as if you are married to them.






You may feel that a girlfriend moving in with someone that already shares a
house with someone will be living with boyfriend as though they are married.
Do we actually know they are though?

I know from my own and other peoples experiences that you don't have to live
with someone and get treated as though you are married to them.

Maybe they have debts to pay off after the expense of bringing up a child for
15+ years?
And child benefit is for what exactly?

Until the parents report the benefit fraud.
Is it benefit fraud though?
It seems it all comes down to whether the decision maker sees the child
living with the adult as the two living as partners or not.

Martin <><


 
M

Martin Davies

Thomas Wright said:
Ah, excellent. That's exactly the sort of guide I was looking for and
answers the question exactly. AS-levels are part of A-levels, so I think
they'd be fine too.

Thanks for your help!
When they first came in, AS levels were regarded as the same standard as A
levels, just 1/2 the size.

Martin <><
 
A

Andy Pandy

Martin Davies said:
Because we knew that child benefit was awarded to him, and we had a child
support claim.
He was claiming as the adult the child was living with, but we couldn't
class them as living as partners.
He put her down on our forms as the child, not as the partner. And some
questions cannot be asked of a person with care.
Well why did you refer to him as "her boyfriend" then?
That doesn't necessarily mean they are classed as partners.
This is taken from the child benefit claim help notes.

Child Benefit Notes

Part 2 Partner's details

We use partner to mean a person you are married to, or a person

you are living with as if you are married to them.
Which is exactly the same definition as used in means tested benefits rules.
You may feel that a girlfriend moving in with someone that already shares a
house with someone will be living with boyfriend as though they are married.
Do we actually know they are though?

I know from my own and other peoples experiences that you don't have to live
with someone and get treated as though you are married to them.
So if the OP had been claiming JSA(IB)/HB/CTB and his girlfriend had a well paid
job, and was considering moving in with him, you'd encourage him to carry on
claiming these benefits independantly?

The definition of partner is the same, so he would be just as entitled to claim
means tested benefits independantly in this scenario, as he is in pursuing a CB
claim in the actual scenario stated.
And child benefit is for what exactly?
Some people spend it on shoes/clothes etc for themselves. Some people spend it
on lottery scratchcards. I spend mine on beer. Who cares? It's not up to the
benefits bureaucrats to monitor what a claimant spends it on.
Is it benefit fraud though?
It seems it all comes down to whether the decision maker sees the child
living with the adult as the two living as partners or not.
So if someone reported it as a fraud, wouldn't it have to be investigated? I'm
sure a similar claim of a means tested benefit fraud would be investigated
quickly enough.
 
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M

Martin Davies

Andy Pandy said:
Well why did you refer to him as "her boyfriend" then?
Because that was how he described himself.

Which doesn't in itself make them partners as the DWP defines it.

Which is exactly the same definition as used in means tested benefits rules.

So if the OP had been claiming JSA(IB)/HB/CTB and his girlfriend had a well paid
job, and was considering moving in with him, you'd encourage him to carry on
claiming these benefits independantly?
Don't those benefits also look at household income too?
Presumably they would look closer at teen living with someone as whether
there was a partner there.

Don't the income based benefits also look at whether someone is living in
the same household? Which is different from house.



The definition of partner is the same, so he would be just as entitled to claim
means tested benefits independantly in this scenario, as he is in pursuing a CB
claim in the actual scenario stated.


Some people spend it on shoes/clothes etc for themselves. Some people spend it
on lottery scratchcards. I spend mine on beer. Who cares? It's not up to the
benefits bureaucrats to monitor what a claimant spends it on.
Exactly.
Whereas if its being cashed and the money isn't reaching the person the
child is living with, don't you think they would want to have the money
instead?

So if someone reported it as a fraud, wouldn't it have to be investigated? I'm
sure a similar claim of a means tested benefit fraud would be investigated
quickly enough.
Looked at, possibly investigated.
As has been pointed out on here before, not every allegation the fraud
office receives is investigated.

Martin <><
 

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