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Council Tax during sea phase

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  • Council Tax during sea phase

    Hi all,

    Just a quick question, I've got my student status letter from the college but it only covers phase 1 and 3 currently, I'm applying for a council tax exemption. However, this letter does not cover phase two (i.e. first sea phase), does anyone have any experience with sorting this out? I'd like to think we are still classified as full time students for the duration of the course. I still rented a property during phase two whilst at sea. Any help at all would be great.

  • #2
    I work in Council Tax at the moment. The exemption is based on intent to return. If Fleetwood themselves do not class you as full time students while you're at sea (and I can see why they wouldn't), then the council tax view is that if you were not at sea you would be at home, therefore you would not be exempt. This is the same reason serving soldiers are not exempt from Council Tax while they are serving in Afghanistan or wherever.


    • #3
      that sucks, its bad enough having to pay council tax, water bill and broadband when youre at sea as a qualified officer.
      Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers


      • #4
        My flat mate had a similar issue as he has a property back home and he got a letter from the college saying something along the lines of " The NC, HNC and HND are all part of the one study program leading to a COC and as such can't be done separately" which covers the intent to return thing I think and he got his exemptions while at sea. This was at STC, so if you don't attend there then I don't know


        • #5
          Just a thought but isn't the sea phase counted as work based learning? So therefore is part of the course? Are you hnc/d or FD? Could point out that without the sea phase you don't complete the course?
          Not paying council tax I'm no expert just looking at how the course is planned on the mntb website for info no doubt others will have the answers though.
          Seems odd to pay for something you don't access to me.


          • #6
            Surly you can go to the college and ask for a simple letter that just states your name, maybe address and that you're on this course for three years bla bla bla. Make sure it's on 'official paper' and has a signature. If you're at STC they have a big standard one they give you for student bank accounts and such.


            • #7
              If the college provide evidence that you are on a 3 year course, the local authority will accept that. It's really based on how the college presents the course on the letter.


              • #8
                Right I had a little search around here is what I found, might be worth speaking to your student union office? But certainly under the MNTB workbased learning is set by the colleges, and is part of the course if you don't do it or complete it you cant finish the course.Reading the paragraph highlighted below I cant see how being on a ship gaining experience can not be classed as work based learning as part of teh course - but I am no lawyer!
                Seems the colleges inform councils who are qualified students from the one or two I have looked at too.

                If you are feeling brave look at the law you will find it says this:

                4. (1) A full-time course of education is, subject to subparagraphs (2) and (3), one?
                which subsists for at least one academic year of the educational establishment concerned or, in the case of an educational establishment which does not have academic years, for at least one calendar year;

                which persons undertaking it are normally required by the educational establishment concerned to attend (whether at premises of the establishment or otherwise) for periods of at least 24 weeks in each academic or calendar year (as the case may be) during which it subsists, and

                the nature of which is such that a person undertaking it would normally require to undertake periods of study, tuition or work experience which together amount in each such academic or calendar year to an average of at least 21 hours a week during the periods of attendance mentioned in paragraph (b) above in the year.

                (2) In determining whether a course falls within the definition in sub-paragraph (1)?
                in applying paragraph (c) of that definition, a person is to be treated as undertaking work experience at any time if, as part of the curriculum of the course?

                he is at a place of employment of his and is providing services under his contract of employment, or

                he is at a place where a trade, business, profession or other occupation which is relevant to the subject matter of the course is carried on, and he is there for the purposes of gaining experience of that trade, business, profession or other occupation,

                Exemptions from council tax

                Council tax is applied to properties, not people, but exemptions from paying the tax are based on the sort of people who live in the property.

                A property is exempt from council tax if everyone who lives there falls into at least one of several categories, including:

                full-time college or university students
                student nurses
                18 or 19-year olds in full-time education
                children under 18 years old
                people on apprentice schemes
                people under 25 who get funding from the Skills Funding Agency or Education Funding Agency
                a student?s overseas partner (if they entered the UK on a visa that denies the right to work or claim benefits, or if they have the right to work but not to claim benefits).
                There are also other categories of exemption with less direct relevance to students. See the government?s full list of council tax exemptions. Student halls of residence are automatically exempt.

                Who counts as a full-time student?

                There?s a specific definition of 'full-time student' for council tax purposes. To count as a full-time student, your course must:

                last at least one calendar or academic year, where you?re required to attend for at least 24 weeks out of the year
                involve at least 21 hours of study, tuition or work experience per week during term time.
                If you?re under 20 years old and you?re studying for a qualification up to A level, Advanced Higher, NVQ/SVQ level 3 or equivalent, your course must:

                last at least three months
                involve at least 12 hours of study per week.
                You?re counted as a full-time student during the whole period of your course, from the first day until the last, including any vacation periods.

                See the council tax guidelines for full-time students. If you get a council tax bill even though your household is exempt, you can apply for an exemption. If someone lives in your household who?s not a full-time student according to these criteria, you may get a bill. However, your household might still qualify for a discount because of the other exemption criteria. See What if my property is liable for council tax?

                If you don?t meet these definitions of ?full-time student?, you can?t claim exemption from council tax, even if your course is defined as ?full-time? by your university or college. You should seek help from the advice centre in your students? union or institution if you?re uncertain.

                Plymouth uni had this about work based learning:

                To qualify for exemption as a student, the legislation requires that individuals must be undertaking a full-time course of education. This is defined (in brief) as:
                A course which lasts for at least one academic or calendar year, on which students are normally required to attend for periods of at least 24 weeks in each academic or calendar year.

                A course that also requires a period of study, tuition or work experience amounting to an average of at least 21 hours a week in each academic or calendar year.

                If you are an undergraduate student who is ?topping up? from an ordinary degree to an honours degree you will not be exempt from paying council tax.

                If you suspend your studies or withdraw from your course, you will not be exempt from paying council tax. It is your responsibility to inform the local council tax office of a change to your student status.

                If you are a Postgraduate Research student writing up your thesis and believe that you still meet the criteria for exemption, as outlined above, you will need your supervisor to confirm that you are in fact still studying the necessary amount of hours per week. A council tax certificate for this can be obtained via the Graduate School.

                In some cases your local council tax office may ask you to provide a Council Tax exemption certificate. A certificate can be obtained from your respective faculty office. In most cases the exemption listing that we send out will suffice.


                For many of you this will be the first time that you will have to consider Council Tax. To help with this we have detailed below the basics regarding students and council tax. If you have any further questions, see our Student FAQ [144kb] or contact us.
                Full-time students
                If you are a Full-time student you are eligible to claim a council tax exemption or discount.
                What is a full-time student?
                For council tax purposes a full-time student is someone who
                • is undertaking a course of education at a college or university for 21 hours or more per week for a least 24 weeks;
                • is under 20 years old and is undertaking course(s) of non-advanced education for 12 hours or more for at least 3 months
                  are registered with a specified educational establishment undertaking a course which leads to the award of a relevant qualification by that establishment.

                NB: Glasgow City Council will no longer consider you as a student for council tax purposes when your course ends, if you drop out or are no longer permitted to attend by the college or university.
                Part-time students
                If you are a part-time student, you are not eligible for Council Tax exemption or discount. You may be entitled to Council Tax Reduction which is based on your income. For more information on Council Tax Reduction see our Council Tax Reduction page.
                If you are not sure whether you are a full-time or part-time student, contact your college or university who will be able to give advice.

                I hope that helps, now I really must go I have to find out who murdered Mr Ward at the Loch and its been five weeks study to get to this point on my course!



                • #9

                  Thanks very much for all the help. I asked the college for a letter but it only covered phase one and three, I've since been in touch with SSTG and they have sent me a letter confirming I am on a full time course for the duration of the three years. The college didn't really seem to know how to class me as a student or otherwise, but having had almost three years experience of City of Glasgow College now, this came as absolutely no surprise to me.

                  My advice to anyone else in this situation would be to contact your sponsoring company (if you are sponsored through SSTG or Clyde). It will avoid a lot of stressing about thinking up schemes to magic two grand out of thin air!

                  Thanks again.