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Is Your Council Tax Band Correct?

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Many houses are in the wrong council tax band, and have been since 1991.  This is because when the Tory Government brought in the tax in 1991, it was in such a rush to implement it, many houses were incorrectly valued.  In fact, rumour has it that many houses were valued from cars during a ‘drive by’ – something that has since been christened ‘second-gear valuations’, because the valuing officials allegedly put prices on a properties at a glance, without even stopping their cars.


Although all homes in Wales have since been reassessed by the Welsh Assembly, the often poor evaluations of properties in England and Scotland, 19 years ago, still stand.  This is the reason why, potentially, you could be paying more money than your neighbour, even though you may live in exactly the same size house.  By following the procedure below, you can check if you’re paying the correct tax.


Step 1: Find out if your council tax band is higher than your neighbours’ who live in similar or identical properties.  You can do this by checking on the websites of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in England and Wales, or the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA) in Scotland.  Their websites list the tax band of every house in Scotland, England and Wales.  If neighbours in a similar property to you are in a lower band, then you may have been wrongly banded.


Step 2 Find out what your property was worth in 1991.  Some websites, such as nethouseprices.com, houseprices.co.uk and rightmove.co.uk will give you historic house prices.  By putting your postcode into these sites they will tell you how much houses have sold for in your street since the year 2000.  It then becomes rather tricky to work out the 1991 price but a rough rule of thumb says that to get from quarter 2 of 2010 to quarter 2 of 1991, you need to -61%.  Some sites, such as moneysavingexpert.com and nationwide.co.uk have calculators to help with this reverse valuation.


Step 3:  If you now think that you’ve got a case and want to challenge your council tax band, you must apply to be ‘reassessed’.  This is where you must be very confident that you’ve done enough research, because a speculative challenge could result in yours, or your neighbours’ council tax increasing.  Be especially careful if you’ve added an extension or anything else that may have increased the value of your home.


Step 4 To challenge the property band, write to the Local Listing Officer (for England and Wales) or your Local Assessor (for Scotland).  These addresses can be found on the VOA and SAA websites respectively.  You can also appeal on line via these websites.


(A comprehensive guide to the process can be found on www.moneysavingexpert.com /reclaim/council-tax-bands-change#valuation)


Council Tax Bands at 1991 Property Value

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

Sources: moneysavingexpert.com (image courtesy of guardian.co.uk)