The Ministry of Defence is doubling the Council Tax Relief (CTR) for Service personnel on eligible operations overseas from 25 to 50 per cent, with effect from 1 July 2011.
Based on the average Council Tax per dwelling in England, this will amount to approximately £296 for an average six-month tour.
In addition, CTR is now extended to include Operation ELLAMY, the UK element of the NATO operation in Libya to protect civilians and enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.
Increasing the CTR rate is just one of the commitments announced in the Armed Forces Covenant: Today and Tomorrow published on 16 May.
The Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Andrew Robathan, said:
The core principle of the covenant is that members of the Armed Forces Community do not suffer disadvantage as a result of their service. By increasing the level of Council Tax Relief, we are underlining that key principle.
Other measures being introduced as part of the Armed Forces Covenant include:
- launching the Community Covenant scheme
- a new £30m Community Covenant Grant to support the scheme over four years
- a Pupil Premium for Service children
- an additional fund of £3m per year to support state schools catering for significant numbers of Service children, including children of reservists
- launching a veterans’ information service to provide support on health issues, including mental health
- launching a Veterans Card to ease access to commercial discounts or privileges and to consider how this could be expanded to include Service families
- working to ensure Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments are not required to be used to pay for social care.
The MOD administers a CTR scheme for all Regular and Reserve Service personnel serving in qualifying operational locations overseas (such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and now including Libya), who either pay or are counted for Council Tax or Rates for a property in the UK or the equivalent contribution if they are in Service Families Accommodation.
The daily rate of CTR has previously been based on 25 per cent of the average Council Tax per dwelling in England. With effect from 1 July this will increase to 50 per cent, which amounts to approximately £296 for an average six-month tour for Service personnel on eligible operations overseas.
CTR is paid as a tax-free lump sum on completion of duty, based on the number of days in the qualifying operational location. The process of applying for CTR for those eligible has not changed.
All Service personnel who own or rent a private property remain liable to pay Council Tax (or Rates in Northern Ireland) on their own property to the local authority.
Those eligible to claim CTR are all Regular Service personnel, mobilised Reserves and Full-Time Reserve Service (Full or Limited Commitment) personnel serving in operational locations specified by the MOD who pay Council Tax (or Rates in Northern Ireland) for a private property or Contributions in Lieu of Council Tax for Service Families Accommodation.