What Are Council Tax Bands and Are You Paying Too Much?
24th February 2022
24th February 2022
It was reported that council tax bills rose by 5% last year and will likely increase again this April, and for many, this could be a scary thought. So, what actions can you take to try and reduce your monthly council tax bill?
Firstly, it's more important than ever to check you're paying the right amount. Maybe you’re in the wrong band or perhaps not claiming the legitimate discount that you are entitled to.
In a shocking discovery, Martin Lewis - founder of Money Saving Expert claimed that thousands have been in the wrong council tax bands since 1991!
Council tax bands identify how much you pay your local council, depending on the valuation of your property.
Each property is valued by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and placed in one of eight council tax bands. These bands are based on what a home might have sold for in April 1991, even if it was built recently.
To dig deeper and get more of an understanding of what each of these bands looks like, here is a list taken from the government's own website:
A - up to £40,000
B - £40,001 to £52,000
C - £52,001 to £68,000
D - £68,001 to £88,000
E - £88,001 to £120,000
F - £120,001 to £160,000
G - £160,001 to £320,000
H - more than £320,000
The VOA assesses properties to ensure that they’re in the correct Council Tax band. These assessments are based on a number of factors, such as a property’s:
change in use
value on 1 April 1991 (England) or 1 April 2003 (Wales)
If you have any concerns regarding the assessment of your Council Tax band, contact the VOA.
Working out if you are entitled to a council tax refund is more straightforward than it sounds. Your council tax band is based on the above factors, and if you believe that something has happened to effect what the property is worth, then you should contact the VOA via the website, or email them directly - email@example.com.
But before you contact the VOA, you can check to see if you’re in the wrong council tax band by using the Council Tax valuation tool here. Alternatively, you can use the government’s checker tool here.
Not only will the list show you which council tax band your property is currently in, but it will also show you which band your neighbour’s homes are in too. Offering you great insight into whether you are paying too much tax or not.
The government have provided the following six steps to follow to challenge your council tax band:
Find your property’s Council Tax band on the valuation list.
Select your property. From ‘Council Tax band details’ choose ‘Do you think this Council Tax band is wrong?’
From ‘If you think your Council Tax band is wrong’ choose ‘Check if you can formally challenge your Council Tax band’.
Answer the questions on the checklist to find out if you can make a challenge.
Select ‘Make a formal challenge against your Council Tax band online’ to fill in the challenge form.
Provide evidence that supports your challenge in the ‘Formal challenge details’ section.
Should your formal challenge be accepted then your council tax band could be changed. In this case, you could be entitled to a council tax refund. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that your council tax band could also be changed and go up – meaning you could end up paying more each month than before you challenged.
To find out more, or to get further help and advice, I recommend you read this excellent article from the Money Saving Expert.
I hope this article helps!