Council tax bands were introduced in April 1993. They calculate the tax which should be placed on domestic property, and is deteremed by local tax authorities. Your home is assigned to one of eight tax bands (A-H), and each tax band has a set amount of tax you must pay to the UK government. The valuation of the tax bands are accumulated by the value of your house on April 1st, 1991 for residents in England and from April 1st, 2003 for residents in Wales.
You can check which tax band your property falls into on the government website, all you need is your postcode. You can also ring the council tax helpline if you wish to speak to an operator. If you think that you have been placed into the wrong band, you can appeal to the government to review your tax band. Or you can appoint someone else to appeal on your behalf, simply download the authority to act form. Once you have filled this out, you must send it to this address:
60 Crown Street
Your tax band will not automatically change, you must appeal it if you believe you are in the wrong tax band.
After sending your enquiry to the government, it can take up to 2 months before you receive a reply, however, most people hear back within 1 month. If your enquiry has exceeded 3 months, we advise ringing the council tax helpline and speaking to an advisor who can help you with your query further.
According to a new survey, almost 400 000 homes in the UK fall into the wrong tax band and have been in the wrong council tax band since 1991. If this is the case, and your house is one of these houses, you could be due a giant refund from the government, backdating all of your payments from 1991.
Sometimes, if you appeal your council tax band, you may be told you cannot challenge their banding, since you have been living inside your property for more than 6 months. If this is the case, we urge you to write to your local government or council explaining your situation and that you wish to take the matter further with them. Hopefully, you should hear a response within 2 weeks. If you do not, we advise you ring the council tax helpline for impartial advice on what you should do next. Alternatively, you can write to your regional valuation office and request an informal council tax band review. Along with this, you will also need to include valuations of your property, as well properties in your immediate area, and a note explaining why you require a review.
If you have already appealed your council tax band and it has been rejected, this doesn’t have to be the end of the line. You have 3 months since the rejection to appeal the decision. To do so, you will need to contact the valuation tribunal service. Following this link will allow you to appeal the decision online, or download the form to complete offline and send away. Simply choose your local tax authority from the drop-down list, and you will see a link to download your form, and the address you need to send it off to once you have completed it. You must do this within 3 months of hearing your appeal decision. However, if there are circumstances stopping you from doing so, you can try and make a late application.
If the valuation office agress with your appeal, your bill will be updated, you will be refunded, and your council tax band will be changed immediately. The tribunal usually consists of two people, with one of them acting as chairman. Both members are also independent of the council and of the valuation office agency. If you are required to attend the tribunal, you will be given 6 weeks notice.
To support your case, we advise having evidence, both orally and written, to present at your hearing. If you cannot attend your hearing, you must let the tribunal know well in advance, the date can be changed, given you have a good enough reason to not make the current date. Statistics show that the majority of claimants who attend their hearing receive the outcome they wish – as they have had the opportunity to present their own evidence and explain their case.
During the hearing, the panel will ask you to present your case, you will be able to ask questions and have questions asked of you, and you may be asked to provide evidence about the property, We advise having this information handy in the event that you are asked for it. We also advise writing a written statement, which can be handed to the panel before the hearing takes place. This allows for the panel to get to know you and your circumstances before making any decisions based on your tax band.
For any more information on your council tax band, we advise ringing the council tax helpline, where a member of staff can help you with your query further.