Severe Mental Impairment for CT purposes

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    Local GP’s in an area, which shall remain nameless, are insisting that SMI applies only where IQ is under 55.

    LA say, rightly, that definition is wider than this but can’t provide reference or further guidance. Consequently lots of people with SMI losing out.

    Can somebody out there help?


    Julian Hobson

    You can ask your LA to give you a copy of the letter from the Department of Health dated March 1993 sent to all GP’s at Annex C of CT Practice Note 2 known as PL/CO(93)1 the GP should already have a copy.

    It says that: SMI has the same definition as for Comm Charge (LGA 1988 as amended) “if he has a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning (however caused) which appears permanent” This definition applies only for the purposes of the Local Government Finannce Act 1992. The definition is not the same as the definition of “severe mental impairment” in the Mental Health Act 1983.

    Hope this helps, I would suggest an appeal if no joy !!!


    I’m not a C/Tax expert but here is by best shot:

    The list of disregarded persons can be found in Schedule 1 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. Para 2 of that act has the SMI category (semi) defined.

    For the full definition you need to expand on para 2(1)(c) which is the bit that says the Secretary of State can add to the definition. The additions can be found in the Council Tax (Discount Disregards) Order 1992 (SI1992/548). However – this has been amended many times over the years to change the SMI definition. Therefore, you also need to look at:

    SI1994/543, SI1995/619, SI1996/636, SISSI1996/3143, SI1997/656 and SI 1998/291.

    I would guess there is some later stuff relating to the New Tax Credits too but if so I can’t find it.

    That should keep you busy for a while! Incidentally, having read this stuff I can’t find any reference to age being a relevant factor. Maybe a clue lies in an intersting paragraph in the CPAG Council Tax Handbook which says that the Department of Health issued a circular to GP’s which included advice about certificates of mental impairment. The guidance was apparently included “as an Annex in the revised version of Practice Note No. 2” but I don’t know where to find this.

    Good luck!


    Ah ha! I see Julian was working on this too! Next time I’ll check for other replies before replying.

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