You must tell us immediately there is a change of circumstances at your property, as this may affect how we calculate your bill

Full time students (and others) may be disregarded when council tax is calculated. While students may be exempt from paying council tax, they can still be liable for council tax charges.

It is important to understand that students are not always exempt from liability to pay council tax, just because they are students. The normal rules for determining who is responsible, still apply to students, as they do to everyone else.

This means that a student can still be liable for the council tax if he is the owner of named tenant of a property, and lives with other people who are not a spouse or partner, or named as a co-owner or co-tenant (e.g. lodgers of non-dependant relatives or friends)

How students affect the council tax

  • If all the residents of the household are disregarded because they are students, they will be entitled to a full council tax exemption. They will get a council tax bill showing the full exemption.
  • If both students and non-students live in a property, there can still be reductions in the council tax payable. This will depend on the number of non-students living in the household.
    • If there is one non-student who does not fall into another disregard category, a 25% discount can apply.
    • If there are two or more people who are not students and who do not fall into another disregard category, no discount is awarded, and the full amount of council tax is payable.
    • In such cases, the non-student members of the household will be responsible to pay the council tax.
    • Note: The student will still be liable if he is the only person responsible to pay the council tax.

Definition of a student

You'll usually be considered a full-time student for council tax purposes if:you fall into one of the following definitions:

1. A student undertaking a course of study:

  • At an educational establishment in England, Wales or Member State of the European Union, lasting at least one academic year
  • Studies for at least 24 weeks in that academic year
  • Involving at least 21 hours of study per week during term-time.

2. A foreign language student who is:

  • Registered with the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges, as a foreign language assistant, and
  • Appointed as a foreign language assistant at a school or other educational institute in the United Kingdom.

3. A student nurses who is:

  • Undertaking a course at a college of nursing and midwifery or college of health and if successful would lead to your first inclusion on the register maintained under section 10 of the Nurses Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979.

4. A student undertaking a qualifying course who is:

  • under 20 years of age and
  • whose course*
    • leads to a qualification up to (but not above) A level standard or equivalent -
    • lasts for more than three months and
    • involves more than 12 hours of study per week and
    • the relevant activities of the course are conducted between 8:00am and 5:30pm.

5. Apprentices who are:

  • Learning a trade, business or profession and:
  • Undertaking a National Council for Vocational Qualifications training course
  • Are not earning over £195 per week

6. Youth trainees who are:

  • Under 25
  • Studying for qualifications under the Employment and Training Act 1973
  • Are on a training scheme approved under section 28 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992.

Students and their landlords

The people liable for the council tax are responsible for providing the proof of student status. If students are liable, then they are responsible for providing the proof of being a student.

If landlords are liable, and they want to claim an exemption or discount because students live in their property, they should tell us:

  • The names of all the student occupiers
  • The dates these students moved in.

The landlords should send this information together with the student certificates which the students can get from their educational establishment.

Apply for student exemption

When you find a property to move into, you must tell us you have moved in. You must also tell us who you live with and who will be responsible for the property. Include your name if you are the tenant or owner of the property. You can do this on line using our change of address form.

Then you can apply for a student discount or exemption by completing the

If you are applying for a discount or exemption, you must continue to pay the council tax on any bill we have or will send to you.

If you do not pay according to the bill sent to you, we will continue with recovery action. Please see non-payment of council tax for more information on recovery of unpaid council tax.

If you qualify for a discount or exemption we will revise your council tax bill and refund any overpaid amounts. We will write to you if your request is not accepted.

Contact us

Local Taxation Section
London Borough of Merton
PO Box No 559

Phone: 020 8274 4904

We are no longer able to attend to personal visitors at the Civic Centre. You can email us anytime or telephone between 9am and 1pm.