It goes without saying that no one wants to be paying more for their Council Tax than they need to.
With gas and electricity bills, water and maintenance costs, there’s enough to keep up with already. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have the right Council Tax band.
Whilst Council Tax bills and payments are handled by your individual council, the Valuation Office Agency (known as the VOA) are responsible for Council Tax Valuation and keeping bands up to date in England and Wales. These valuation bands are based on levels of value as of April 1st 1991 (and in Wales April 1st 2003), not what a property is worth today.
For tax purposes, every home needs to be placed in one of the following bands in England:
up to £40,000
£40,001 to £52,000
£52,001 to £68,000
£68,001 to £88,000
£88,001 to £120,000
£120,001 to £160,000
£160,001 to £320,000
£320,001 and above
There are certain circumstances where your Council Tax valuation band may differ from the above, such as if you are granted a disability reduction. For more information on this, please feel free to browse our website or give us a call on 0300 302 1806.
“By the time I put down the phone I felt in control and confident for the first time in months. I would tell anyone in a situation similar to mine to give them a ring!”
Rob, South Yorkshire
Council Tax is something that most of us will have to pay for the majority of our lives, so it makes sense to understand how your property is valued. According to the VOA the basis of Council Tax valuation for a dwelling which is not used for any business purpose “is the amount which, subject to certain assumptions, it would have been sold for on the “open market” by a “willing vendor” on April 1st 1991.”
If improvements have been made to your home which may have increased its value, such as an extension being built, it cannot be re-banded until it is next sold. Those considering purchasing a property which has been extended since 1993 however should note that their Council Tax band can actually be increased even after the sale has taken place.
It’s also worth making yourself aware that even if your property was built after April 1st 1993, it will have to be banded according to what the VOA believes the value would have been on April 1st 1991. Perhaps unsurprisingly this can cause confusion and complications, and some people may wish to challenge their Council Tax valuation.
If you feel that your Council Tax valuation is incorrect you have a couple of options, however it is important to make sure you continue to pay your bill whilst making your challenge.
To start with, it is best to contact the Valuation Office Agency to ask them to check your Council Tax valuation. They will be able to explain how your Council Tax has been calculated and can review your band if you are able to provide information that suggests it is incorrect. For example this could be evidence that similar homes in your neighbourhood (particularly those of a similar age and size) are in a different Council Tax band. This will not cost you anything, although you will be asked to confirm details regarding your property so it’s best to have these to hand.
Contact the Valuation Office Agency to ask them to check your Council Tax valuation
If you feel it is necessary, you can also make a formal challenge to the VOA. This would generally be reserved for certain circumstances such as if you are now the council taxpayer for a property and you disagree with the band. Should you happen to disagree with the VOA’s decision, you have the option of appealing to the independent Valuation Tribunal, although you will need to do this within 3 months of the initial decision. Before considering this option it’s important to make sure you’re confident of your reasoning for this claim. If you are unclear over whether you are in a solid position to make a formal challenge against your Council Tax valuation, feel free to speak to one of our specialists who will be happy to offer support.
Alternatively, if you are confused about any aspect of your Council Tax valuation, our friendly and professional staff our always available to provide guidance.