Nearly a third of people who challenge their council tax band are successful
The number of Brits who successfully challenged their council tax band has increased in the last year, according to new figures. Should you challenge yours?
June 5, 2019
The number of Brits who successfully challenged their council tax bill has increased in the last year, according to new figures from the Valuation Office Agency.
The data shows of the 38,350 cases resolved in 2018/19, 11,910 saw their bills fall. This is a success rate of 31%, compared to 25% the previous year.
One concern some people have is that if they challenge their council tax band, they could find their property is moved up, rather than down a band. However, last year only 30 bills – 0.08 per cent – saw a rise.
How do people challenge their council tax band?
It’s important to know if you have a case first. The first step in assessing this is to find out what your neighbours pay. You can ask them if you have a good relationship, but you don’t have to as this information is publicly available.
For homes in England and Wales you can search by postcode on the Valuation Office Agency website and it will list the council tax bands for properties. For homes in Scotland, you can search on the Scottish Assessors website.
If your neighbours in similar homes are in a lower band than you, you might have a claim. However, it is possible they’re in the wrong band – so the next step is essential to avoid the risk of them being moved into a higher band if you challenge yours.
Conduct a valuation check
Next, you need to find out how much your house was worth in 1991. This is because that’s when council tax bands were last set.
Try using Monysavingexpert’s calculator which uses Nationwide data to estimate what your home’s value was in 1991. And very usefully, also shows you the council tax band relating to that price.
Beware bills could go up
The data about council tax band challenges from last year show the risk of your bill going up is slim – but it’s still possible. So it’s essential to do your research and think carefully before challenging, including considering factors like if you have extended your property or added more bedrooms.
Making your challenge
If you’re convinced your property is in the wrong band then in England and Wales, you need to contact the VOA. You can call them on 03000 501 501 for properties in England and 03000 505 505 for homes in Wales. They may review and change your band without you needing to challenge it.
While in Scotland, you’ll need to start with the SAA website, input your details, choose to ‘make a proposal’ and they will contact you.
Grab your discounts
Even if you can’t lower your bill by changing your band, you may still be eligible for a discount on your council tax bill.
For example, if you are on a low income or claiming certain benefits you may be eligible for a reduction of up to 100%.
While the Disabled Band Reduction Scheme ensures disabled people don’t pay more council tax if they need, for example, extra space inside the property for using a wheelchair.