Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Are You Overpaying On Your Council Tax?


Did you know that there are many households that are actually overpaying on council tax because they are in fact in the wrong band? I didn't.

Many homes are in the wrong council tax band and have been since 1991. The Government needed every property in the land to be put into a valuation band, but the task was large and the people doing the job was small. Instead estate agents would drive down streets and allocate a band by sheer glance at a property which is why it is flawed.

Your neighbours who may live in an identical sized property to you could be paying less for council tax because they were allocated a different band in 1991. 

But how do you find out?


Step 1: The Neighbours Check

Check to see if you and your neighbours are in the same band by heading over to Check Your Council Tax. Make sure you are comparing with neighbouring properties of similar size and value as yours. 

If you find your neighbours are in a lower band to you then you might have a claim. (Sometimes it could be your neighbours who are in the wrong band.)


Step 2: The Valuation Check

You must estimate the value of your property in 1991 as that is when the tax bands were created. Look on free websites such as rightmove, zoopla and nethouseprices for the sold house price, date and input this into the Nationwide house price index, along with entering 1991 in the Vaulation year 2 box and Q2 in the Valuation quarter 2 box.

Our house we bought for £238,000 in Oct 2012. So it has estimated our 1991 house value as being £85,414, which from the table below is band D. (This is correct on which we are in now)

Now do the same with similar properties on your road to see what band they are in.




Step 3: Are you in the wrong band?

Challenging your band is not something to do on a whim, unless you have done these checks. Your property or a neighbouring property may have extended their property meaning they might fall into another band, so make sure you understand that before challenging your case, it could be your neighbours who end up having their council tax band increased, rather than yours decreased if it is them who are in the wrong band.


Step 4: Challenge!

After doing these checks and something really is not adding up right and you think your property is in the wrong band, then you can challenge your case over at the council tax appeals on the Gov.uk website. 

You can also check your band by entering your postcode and selecting your address from the list. Then click on 'Do you think this Council Tax band is wrong?'.

For Scotland enter your postcode in the Council Tax band search box on the SAA homepage. Select your property and click on 'Make a Proposal'.


The outcome is that it could get rejected, in which case you have 3 months to appeal if you really think you're in the wrong band.

However, if you are successful you could end up getting your council tax band decreased saving you £100-£400 a year and also getting a repayment backdated from when you moved into the property. 

Give it a go and check, because you could be one of the £400,000 households that are overpaying.

Note: I checked our band and neighbours who have identical properties to mine. Two properties were in the same band and one was in the band below. Everything checked out because the property in the lower band had not been extended like the others as far as I know. If it was, then they would be in the wrong band and not the rest of us.

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