Council Tax: Britons may be entitled to thousands through a refund – check now

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This Morning: Martin Lewis advises how to reduce council tax bill

Council Tax will vary depending on where a person lives, but to calculate a bill they will need to know key information. The important facts needed in working out a Council Tax bill are the valuation band for a home, how much a local council charges for that band, and whether people can receive a discount or exemption. However, research has found many people could be overpaying their council tax, due to being in the wrong band.

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Properties are banded depending on their value, but the system is based on prices from 1991.

It has been argued, though, that valuations were not always accurate, meaning some Britons could be paying more than their own neighbours, despite living in a similar or identical property.

For those who suspect they could be paying more than is necessary, there could be thousands of pounds at state to claim back.

However, Britons will need to take action on the matter to be able to receive the sum to which they are entitled.

Firstly, people should check their council tax band against that of their neighbours, preferably those who have an identical property.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak set to increase Council Tax by five percent next year

Council Tax: Britons may be entitled to thousands through a refund – check now

Council Tax UK: Britons could receive a refund if their band is too high – check now (Image: Getty)

Such an action will allow people to check if they are in a higher band than their neighbours.

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This can be done by visiting the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website, or in Scotland, the Scottish Assessors Association website.

This will provide a clear run down of council tax prices in a person’s area.

But this is not the last step to take when it comes to figuring out whether there is a council tax rebate available.

Next, people will need to undertake a valuation check, which might be slightly more complicated.

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Britons will need to work, for the most part, from the 1991 valuation of their home to see what the property is worth.

Homeowners will need to compare the band valuation from their first check to that of the second to find out the result.

If both of the bandings come back as too high, then it may be worth investigating if a Council Tax refund can be gained.

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Individuals will need to approach their local council to request a reassessment on their Council Tax bill.

However, this could mean the amount a person has to pay is moved up or down, and so there is a slight risk.

The government has outlined how people can go about challenging their Council Tax band if they believe they have a case.

Council Tax: Britons may be entitled to thousands through a refund – check now

Council Tax UK: Areas paying the highest council tax (Image: EXPRESS)

If a person has been paying Council Tax for more than six months they will only be able to challenge in specific circumstances.

The government website has said these include:

  • a property has changed, for example after being demolished, or split into multiple properties
  • a property’s use has changed
  • a local area has changed, for example a new supermarket has been built

An alternative action, which in fact is recommended first, is contacting the VOA.

Firstly, Britons should find their relevant band on the valuation list, and then from ‘Council Tax band details’ choose ‘Do you think this Council Tax band is wrong?’.

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Then individuals should select ‘Check if you can formally challenge your Council Tax band’.

This will allow them to fill out questions on a checklist to see if they can make a challenge.

However, homeowners will need to provide evidence which supports their challenge to a Council Tax band.

Evidence which can be sent include the addresses of up to five similar properties which are in a lower Council Tax Band.

The government has stated they must be the same as the property in question in terms of age, size, style and design, and type.

Evidence can also be gained from house prices if there have been sales between April 1989 and March 1993 in England, and April 2001 and March 2005 in Wales.

Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, also recently commented on how many could be paying too much council tax.

He has estimated 400,000 homes may be on the wrong band and therefore will need to take action to rectify the issue.

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