Challenging your council tax band (England and Scotland)

Most of us will have received our council tax bills for the year 2021/2022 and seen the almost universal 5% increase and wondered how it could be justified given the difficult year we have all endured.

There is not much we can do to challenge an increase, but we can see if our property was placed in the right tax band and perhaps obtain a lower bill if it was proved.

In 1991, Council Tax was due to be introduced and to make it happen on time (1993), every property had to be valued and assigned to a tax band. The process was rushed in order to make the deadline and therefore there is a possibility that your property and that of your neighbours were not properly assessed at the time. Property in Wales was all reassessed in 2003, so this only applies to property in England and Scotland as Northern Ireland has its own Rates system.

Steps to take.

  1. Talk to neighbours in the same postcode with similar properties and see if you are in the same tax bracket.
  2. If you bought your house after 1991, you can use its price and date of sale to find the value at that time. It’s also worth doing this with similar neighbouring properties to check there are no anomalies and make use of house price websites to note down the price and date of similar properties to yours in your street.
  3. Now check whether your property was placed in the right tax band – see below

Council tax bands at 1991 property values

BAND ENGLAND 1991 PROPERTY VALUE SCOTLAND 1991 PROPERTY VALUE
A All properties under £40,000 All properties under £27,000
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

 

At this point, if the indications are pointing towards a case for appeal, then you can apply for a reassessment. However, be aware that the council review could find that you were actually in too lower a tax band and you and your neighbours would find yourselves paying more.

4.If you are still sure that you are in the wrong band with a prospect of paying less council tax, including backdated payment for the difference between the old and new rates from the time you bought the property, you can formally apply for a reassessment.

Go to this site https://www.gov.uk/council-tax-appeals which will show you the steps needed to start the process.

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