Are you paying too much Council Tax?

Many homes are in the wrong council tax band, and have been since the Council Tax system was introduced in 1993.  

If you are a council tax payer and have been paying too much you may be eligible for a;

  1. reduction in your future council tax payments and a
  2. refund for up to 25 years of overpayments.

altIf you have tried and failed to reduce your council tax banding or are trying for the first time we may be exactly what you are looking for.

Our past experience of thousands of council tax reviews will;

  1. Save you time;
    We do all the research and paperwork for you.
  2. Significantly increase your chances of winning your appeal;
    We submit your appeal ina tried and tested format and know how to overcome the many barriers you will face along the way

How can houses be in the wrong band?

When Council Tax was introduced in 1993 every house in the UK had to be assessed and put into one of eight bands from A to H based upon its valuation.  This was a huge task and there were simply too many houses for the government to undertake detailed valuations of every property.   

To address the problem the government employed local estate agents and surveyors up and down the country to give their opinion of the value of properties in their area by simply driving past them and allocating a band with just a glance.  The bands were allocated based upon 1991 valuation figures.  This was intended to be a temporary solution however no revaluations have been undertaken in England or Scotland since the introduction of Council Tax back in 1993.

This means that many houses are in the incorrect band and have been so since 1993 which is why some people are paying more than their neighbours even though they live in exactly the same house.

What are the Council Tax Bands?

Council Tax Bands are calculated based upon how much a property would have been worth in 1991 as per the table below;

Band England 1991 Property Value
A All properties under £40,000
B £40,001 to £52,000
C £52,001 to £68,000
D £68,001 to £88,000
E £88,001 to £120,000
F £120,001 to £160,000
G £160,001 to £320,000
H Over £320,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What the Press & Media have to say

altYou may have seen in the press or heard on the radio about some firms approaching householders to review their council tax banding on their behalf and charging an up-front fee to do so.  

Beware - Never agree to an up-front fee!  

Firms who charge up-front-fees to review your council tax banding do so as they;

  1. are not confident enough to work on a NO-WIN-NO-FEE
  2. or simply want to scam householders into paying them money even in the knowledge that there is very little chance of reducing their council tax band.

Most properties in the UK are in the right band and very few review applications lead to band reductions.

Council Tax banding errors hit the headlines back in 2007 making the front page of scores of newspapers. 

Click the press articles below to find out more.

 

A reduction in your banding has two benefits;

  1. saving you money every month by reducing the amount of council tax you have to pay
  2. giving you money by refunding the full amount over-paid backdated to when you moved into the property

 

 

1 Saving You Money

A reduction from band C to band B should save you around £170 per year, that’s almost £6,500 over the next 25 years excluding interest!

Estimated Future Savings (Based upon reduction from Band C to Band B)

Number of
Years Saving
Annual
Saving
Cumulative
Saving
1 £175 £175
5 £203 £945
10 £238 £2,065
15 £273 £3,360
20 £308 £4,830
25 £343 £6,475

2 Giving You Money

If your band is reduced you will be refunded the amount over-paid in the past backdated to when you moved into the property.  This can be up to 22 years, right back to when Council Tax was introduced back in April 1993.

 

The Claim Process

 

Step 1; Checking your bandalt

The first and most important step is to find out if your band is higher than neighbouring properties of similar size and style to yours.  

If it is, then you may have a good case to appeal.

Our state of the art database gives us access to full details of all properties within your postcode including;

  1. Address
  2. Current council tax band
  3. Details of properties that have already had their band reduced
  4. Details of properties that have been tagged for a band increases upon next sale

Step 2; Challenging your band

If we have both;

  1. details of neighbouring properties that have been down-banded and
  2. 1991 valuation evidence that supports an adjustment in banding

then we have a  strong case to appeal.

We then use the neighbouring property check and valuation check data to support of our tried and tested appeals process to give you the very best chance of success

Step 3; Dealing with a successful appeal

  1. Collecting your refund for amounts over-paid in the past
  2. Reducing your monthly payments moving forward

Should your local Valuation Office Agency agree to reduce your Council Tax band we then liaise with your local Council to ensure that you receive a full refund for amounts over-paid in the past.  We also ensure that your monthly payments are reduced to the correct amount moving forward.

Step 4; Dealing with unsuccessful appeals

Further appeals

Should your appeal be unsuccessful we will review the reasons behind the Valuation Office Agencies decision.  

Should we be able to find any further evidence to support further appeals we will continue with the process on your behalf until conclusion.  In some cases three or four appeals are undertaken before a final decision is made.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Could I do this myself?alt

There are many things you can do yourself such as representing yourself in a court case, diagnosing an illness using the internet or sourcing and arranging your own mortgage, however in all of these instances seeking advice from a specialist is certainly the best option.

Money Saving Direct (Property Valuation Services) Ltd specialise in Council Tax banding reviews and we will only take on cases that we are confident in winning.  Our research indicates that your chances of successfully lowering your council tax band are three times greater if you use Money Saving Direct (Property Valuation Services) Ltd than doing it yourself. 

Approximately 30% of review applications are successful upon initial review however, following our thorough appeals process, we increase this figure to in excess 50%.  In some cases we have appealed decisions three or four times before successfully achieving a down-banding decision. 

Don’t under estimate the time and effort involved and remember, you only have one chance, don’t waste it - use a specialist. 

If one of my neighbours has successfully down-banded their property and claimed a refund, does that mean I am entitled too?

No, each property is looked at individually, however it is a very good starting point.  If you have evidence of identical properties being down-banded and have valuation evidence to support your appeal you have a very good case. 

Can re-banding go up as well as down?

Yes, however your property can only be tagged for an increase following future sale and cannot be increased immediately. 

Can tenants appeal and claim a refund or is it only home-owners?

Yes, providing the council tax is paid by the tenant. 

Can I claim a refund for a previous address?

Yes, claims can be back-dated to 1st April 1993, even if you no longer live at that address. 

How long does it take to appeal and claim a refund?

The process is split into two parts.  Firstly your local Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will deal with your appeal, their service standard that operates throughout all VOAs is 8 weeks, however some have much quicker turnaround times.  Should your appeal be successful, your case is then passed to your local Council to process, this usually takes a further 4 weeks.  Should your appeal be rejected, further appeals can be submitted taking up to a further 8 weeks each. 

Do I need a solicitor?

No, you can deal with the whole process yourself if you wish? 

Will I need to attend court?

No.

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