/ contest your council tax band

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adstapleton - on 26 Jan 2013
Reading moneysavingexpert.com the other night and there was a piece on how to contest your council tax band to your local council.

If successful, i.e. you convince the council you've been put into too high a band, they'll refund you for all the 'extra' tax you've paid and accordingly drop you into the cheaper bracket.

Arguments in favour of dropping your band typically centre around what band the house next door is, assuming it's of similar real value; square footage, number of rooms etc. Turns out the house next door to me is in the band below, it doesn't have as much character (whatever that is) but it is bigger. Sounds like i have a strong case...

Has anyone had a go at contesting their council tax banding and if successful, how?

Tar
birdie num num - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to adstapleton:
Living next door to the Num Nums slashes folks council tax bills
Dax H - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to adstapleton: yes but it was about 15 years ago, we were in band B and got it dropped to band A.
I cant remember the ins and outs but it must have been easy if I managed it.
Philip on 26 Jan 2013
It's new, that Martin lewis has had it on his website for years. It's not clear what happens if you contest and the assess your street and decide instead to raise the odd lower-band rather than lower the higher-band. Worst case, you'd be Mr unpopular.
John Mcshea - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to adstapleton:
I have heard of this backfiring..... ie. an increase in council tax.

jb.
marie - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to adstapleton: same as Dax H. I had to show that on a certain date, my house was the same as the one next door. The reason I'd been upped a band was because I had double glazing and my neighbour didn't! Was able to prove that my house didn't have double glazing on the banding calculation date and was rebanded to A to match my neighbour.
adstapleton - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to adstapleton:

I also heard that it could result in my neighbour's band being raised.

But I couldn't give a dog's turd about that.

I figure I'm gonna give it a go. Spookily i got a letter in the post this morning from a legal firm offering to contest it for me and take 25% cut of any rebate. Given that it can be done by email and with only an hour's trawling through mouseprice.com or the land registry website to assess the value of the houses in your street, I'll do it myself.

FYI - moneysaving expert link is below

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/council-tax-bands-change#neighbours

phantom whistler - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to adstapleton: Dealing with Council Tax bands used to be one of my tasks when I was last employed. There are undoubtedly houses and flats out there that are still in the wrong band. Bear in mind when comparing your property to the house next door, that if it has been improved / extended since 1993 by the current owner, it will retain its previous banding until a) it changes hands, or b) there is a national revaluation of domestic property.
There is no point in trying to convince the council you're in the wrong band - The Valuation Office (an agency of central government) set the bands. Simply follow the procedure set out in the excellent moneysavingexpert.com site if you think you have a case. The only downsides are that it will take up a little of your time and there exists a very slight chance that if the whole street has been chronically undervalued, your band could go up.
Be wary of unsolicited offers from companies offering to contest your banding on a 'no win, no fee' basis - there are some dodgy outfits operating out there.
Jim C - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to adstapleton:
> Reading moneysavingexpert.com the other night and there was a piece on how to contest your council tax band to your
>
> Has anyone had a go at contesting their council tax banding and if successful, how?
>
> Tar

My near neighbour told me just last week he discovered has been on a higher band than others in the same street and in identical terraced houses For many years

He asked the council and looked up how to contest it, I think he said he found that he had to contest it within 6 months of the assessment, so he apparently has lost all that money, and can only contest future payments.
Have you recently been reassessed?
Queenie - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to adstapleton:

I don't remember a great deal of detail, but I successfully contested our band way back in the 90s, after finding we were in the same band as neighbours who all had conservatories/extensions.
Our band was then lowered. I don't think we got refunded, although this may be because the system had only just come into force?
Ridge - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to adstapleton:
We contested our band, but that was immediately after we moved in. (The letter from the council informing us we were going from B to E was on the mat before we'd even unpacked..). Fairly simple process, gathered up house price info in the area etc. I had to attend a panel. I had reams of paperwork, the guy from the valuations agency turned uo with no evidence whatsoever. Ended up being a C, which was fair enough, as I expect the place was falling down at the original valuation date.
steve taylor - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to adstapleton:

Yes - it took a couple of years arguing personally with the valuation officer, but eventually got re-graded from E to D, back dated to 1999.

Google is your friend, as it's easy to get the banding for your neighbours, overhead shots to show relative land sizes etc...

We were the only Band E semi-detached on the whole estate, despite the fact that many others (still Band C or D) had also been extended in the same way as ours had. I ended up putting together a 6-page report on my case, which (along with a few phone calls) got the VoA to change their mind.
Jim C - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to steve taylor:
> (In reply to adstapleton)
>
> Yes - it took a couple of years arguing personally with the valuation officer, but eventually got re-graded from E to D, back dated to 1999.
>
> this is very interesting Steve.
Did you challenge the banding within 6 months of being advised of the decision?

As I have posted above , my neighbour has been told he cannot get backdated payments as he did not challenge it within 6 months years ago when it was set.

The council website he showed me clearly said that the 6 month rule applied( Scotland)
how did you manage to get retrospective rebate going back years ?

Can you post a link to something that I can pass my neighbour to help him challenge the council's position, that he is not entitled to a rebate?

Dax H - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to steve taylor:
> (In reply to adstapleton)
>
> Yes - it took a couple of years arguing personally with the valuation officer, but eventually got re-graded from E to D, back dated to 1999.
>

After reading this thread it looks like we had a very easy ridd. I suppose it is a lot simpler when the house was a mid back to back terrace with a postage stamp for a garden.

steve taylor - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to Jim C:

No - much more than 6 months...

The house was rebanded from C to E when we moved in in 1999, because the previous owners had extended it.

Though nothing of it for a few years until data became easliy findable on the internet then I started chasing. I tried first in about 2004 and got rejected. Tried again in 2011 and about 14 months later got a positive decision and a sizeable rebate.

Perhaps there isn't a 6 month rule in the England.
steve taylor - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to Jim C:

The second time, I used the process that Money Saving Supermarket mentioned, including using the house price index that calculates your house's value back in 1991, when the bandings were initially calculated.
ads.ukclimbing.com
John Rushby - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to phantom whistler:

+1

Ex VO myself.

All - you can ask the Valuation Office to review your council tax banding, subject to various requirements which can be found on their website. They will do so as it is a requirement of them to ensure that the list is correct. They are not, contrary to popular belief, paid to increase bandings. They are keen to ensure the tone is correct so if you house is out of sync, it's important to have it corrected.

If I recall, they do not increase a banding based on your appeal.

Don't bother with agencies who contact you asking for a 35% cut - they are probably also PPI cowboys. If you are unsure, use a local firm of surveyors, but the VO website is pretty much monkey see, monkey do.

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