Council Tax Explained

Council tax bills have risen by over 90% over the last decade. This compares with inflation of less than 35%!

What is Council Tax ?

This is a tax on the occupation of property.  Its origins are based on some of the oldest Laws and Taxes in England and Wales.

Are you paying too much Council tax ?

There are two main reasons why people pay too much Council tax.  Some households may be in the wrong band and have been incorrectly assessed and others may have reason to get help with their council tax bills.

How can you pay less Council tax?

Either the band or assessment of the property is incorrect and you successfully appeal, (or get a suitably qualified chartered surveyor to appeal against the assessment), or, you may qualify for a reduction on financial or other grounds.  We recommend that you enquire of your billing authority in order to clarify these.

How Council tax levels are set.

In England, the Council tax is based upon the price a property might have realised if it had been sold on April 1st, 1991.  These are then arranged in bands and the cost of the tax is set annually by a compilation of central government and the local authorities concerned.  Each usually blames the other for the annual increases.

The bands in England are as follows:-

Band       Valuation between

A  >  £40,000

£40,001    < B > £52,000

£52,001    < C > £68,000

£68,001    < D > £88,000

£88,001    < E > £120,000

£160,000  < F > £320,000

£320,000 > G

N.B. In Wales a more recent nationwide revaluation has taken place and there are less likely to be anomalies.

It is possible to appeal if you think the band in which your property is situated is incorrect.

If you challenge the Department of Local Government and Communities and you qualify to appeal and win the appeal you can qualify for a rebate and reduce the outgoings of the property.

For most people this is a difficult process to undertake and you are recommended to look into this in some detail.  If you appeal and enter a tribunal, the tribunal can reduce the band of your property or increase the band.

Different rules apply in different situations and also if you have been in your current property for less than 6 months.

For further help in this regard, contact your local professional chartered surveyor here, and seek professional help or advice.

Further information can be provided for England and Wales by contacting the Valuation Office Agency .   You can contact the VOA 0845 602 1507.  For Scotland, contact the Scottish Assessors here .

You may also be able to reduce your council tax bills if you are on a low income, or if you qualify for second adult rebate, or if you qualify on other grounds such as you live alone.  We recommend that you clarify these points with your billing authority.

Copyright 2009


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