In October, I will start a PhD at a university in England, and will be classified by my institution as a full-time student. The nature of the funding for my PhD is such that I will concurrently be employed by the university and pay tuition fees to the university out of my salary.

So I'm in the unusual position of being a full-time student, while also being employed in a full-time job.

My partner and I are planning to rent a flat together. She works in a normal-person job, so she isn't exempt from council tax, but it would be very nice if we could get the 25% single-person's discount by having me listed as exempt.

Is this possible?

  • As an aside, there are tags on this site for various types of tax, including income-tax, state-income-tax, capital-gains-tax, and gift-tax, but no tag for council tax, which is quite distinct from other taxes and thus may not be well-served by the general taxes tag. Jun 6, 2017 at 15:36
  • Your position is not so unusual; I expect that most post-graduate students are in similar situations. Your university likely has guidance to offer. Be sure to link that guidance to direct government sources so that you can confirm the accuracy for yourself.. Jun 6, 2017 at 15:45
  • 25% single-person's discount by having me listed as exempt Isn't that a wrong category ? Person should be living alone or there is only one adult above 18 living in the property ? Are you or your partner < 18 ?
    – DumbCoder
    Jun 6, 2017 at 15:48
  • @DumbCoder We're both over 18, but guidance from MoneySavingExpert and our local council says properties with only one non-student pay the discounted rate. (Although that may be wrong or out of date, I wouldn't be here if I were a tax expert!) Jun 6, 2017 at 15:50
  • @Grade'Eh'Bacon I know other (soon-to-be) PhD students, but they're all funded through research council stipends and thus have no employer. My reading of the statute is that I still count as a student, but IANAL. Jun 6, 2017 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


In short, yes.

I faced this issue myself and got the discounted rate, I worked full-time and was also a full-time student with the Open University.

As long as you can prove that you are indeed a full-time student, so 16 hours a week + (which will require help from your University). Then you will have no issues receiving the discounted rate.

The only issue you may face is your partners total income. I believe there is a limit in which a household can earn before you lose out on the exemption. This is something you should check with your local council.

However, if you're not married, then technically their income is not relevant to you and will not affect your ability to be tax exempt.

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