,

Are You Paying The Right Council Tax?

Council tax

Did you know that as many as a quarter of a million homes in the UK are paying the wrong rate of council tax? But surely our council tax banding is based on accurate data and will be right?

Wrong.

In 1991, when the new council tax system was put in placed the Government engaged teams of local estate agents to put a value on every home in the UK. It was a big job and it needed doing to a very tight deadline; the result was that many homes were ‘valued’ without reasonable understanding of exactly what  the house comprised of. A street with twenty terraced houses were all valued at the same banding yet the agent wouldn’t be aware if the one in the middle was a two bedroom house and not a three; this was well before the age of Zoopla and the internet being for anything other than a dog pile of MSN entertainment news and tech nerds.

Save money

Your council tax band could be wrong which may mean a big refund. Image via PxHere.

The fact is that if your house hasn’t changed hands since 1991 and even if it has there could be an error in your banding. Fortunately, you can check online to see if this is the case before you challenge it with your local council.

How To Check Your Council Tax Banding

The easiest way to do this is to use the Governments own valuation office (Scottish Assessors Office for Scotland) to check what your neighbours are banded at and compare.

Before you challenge the council storm, you need to find out what your house was worth in 1991 when the council tax bands where determined.  Use Zoopla to find out your homes current value (or value at the last date of sale) and then, enter it into this calculator (provided by Nationwide) to determine what your house would have been worth at the time.

Providing there have been no changes in the size of the house (number of bedrooms etc.) then you should be able to assess what band your house should have fallen into using the table below:

 

BAND ENGLAND SCOTLAND
A under £40k under £27k
B £40,001 – £52,000 £27,001 – £35,000
C £52,001 – £68,000 £35,001 – £45,000
D £68,001 – £88,000 £45,001 – £58,000
E £88,001 – £120,000 £58,001 – £80,000
F £120,001 – £160,000 £80,001 – £106,000
G £160,001 – £320,000 £106,001 – £212,000
H over £320,000 Over £212,000

If you believe there has been an error in your banding then you can claim back the tax that has been overpaid for as long as you have been in the property….right back to 1993 when the tax came into force.

Do your calculations and then double check them before you send off that first letter to your council indicating that you believe there to have been an error. The last thing that you want is for your tax to be increased if you have miscalculated!

calculate your council tax bill

Make sure you do your calculations correctly to avoid a price hike instead of a reduction. Image via Pexels.

What do you stand to gain?

Well, the difference in bandings can be as much as £100-£400 per year so, if you have been at the property for ten years that’s a good £1000-£4000 you could be due. It’s worth half an hour of your time to find out.

 

Property Assistant is an independent estate agent based in Wokingham and providing property related services in the Thames Valley. From property sales to lettings and tailored property searches, we believe in an open and honest service for all our clients. If you’d like to find out more about our services then contact us today on 0118 912 2370.

Featured image via Flickr.