Working out how much your council tax bill is something your council will do automatically for you. There is nothing you have to do and no-one from the council will visit your home. However, it’s always good to know how this part of the process works in case the council has worked out your bill incorrectly and you want to challenge it.
The property portion of your council tax bill is worked out in part based on the valuation that is attached to the property you either own or live in. This valuation will place it in one of eight valuation bands.
There is still time during the 14 days to arrange a repayment plan.
The bands were set in 1991 and every property’s market value was initially estimated by an Assessor and put into one of these bands. By 1 April 1993, these valuations also took account of the property’s physical state and where it was located, which allowed its general value to be calculated compared to other properties nearby to ensure a fair valuation
This is because there can often be large price differences in the same types of properties depending on their locations within the UK, for example, a three-bedroom semi-detached property in Portsmouth will not be the same value as a three-bedroom semi-detached property in Derby.
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The valuation bands on 1 April 1993 were:
Up to £27,000
£27,000 to £35,000
£35,001 to £45,000
£45,001 to £58,000
£58,001 to £80,000
£80,001 to £106,000
£106,001 to £212,000
£212,001 and above
No changes have been made to these valuation bands over the years, as the overall movement of the property market and subsequent rise in house prices do not affect a property’s banding position.
There are only two things that can currently affect the banding of a property. If the local area changes and becomes a less desirable place to live, local property prices may be reduced as a result and could drop into a different band. On the other hand, if a property has a significant material change to it, for example an extension, it may be moved into a higher band. However rebanding, whether higher or lower, usually only happens when the property is sold unless you request the property be formally assessed for possible rebanding.
New build properties have to be valued by an assessor once completed, and they make a judgement on what they believe the property would have been worth if it had been built in 1991. This is then passed on to the local authority, which then sends you a council tax bill.
There are a number of assumptions made when a property is assessed for council tax banding. These include:
Assessors keep detailed records about properties in the areas they value, which can include improvements and outbuildings as well as the selling prices that the Land Registry record. To try and avoid incorrect valuations, assessors use something called the Comparative Principle of Valuation, which very simply weighs up the features of the property against those surrounding it that sold in the months around 1st April 1991.
Today, around 60% of Scotland’s homes fall into bands A-C, while 40% fall into bands D-H.
If you think your property might be in the wrong banding, perhaps because your neighbours live in very similar house to you yet are in a different valuation band, you can request the council visit to reassess your home. However, this could backfire, as it is possible for them to find that your neighbours are in the wrong band, not you, and charge them more council tax.
If you want more information about how to approach the matter of investigating the banding of your home, call and speak to one of our advisors now on 0300 302 1806