Council tax is a tax paid to your local council for the upkeep of local services such as parks, roads, and refuse or rubbish collection.
How Is Council Tax Worked Out?
Every property in the local area will be valued, and once the value has been determined the property is given a council tax ‘band’ which goes from A-H. The bands are based on the value of the property from April 1991, not the present value, and the bands are as follows:
- A – up to £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
If you are unsure as to the value of the property that you live in, there is a Council Tax valuation website where you can enter your full address and find out how much the property was valued at as at April 1991. Every local council have their own council tax rates, so you’ll need to check your local council’s website to see what the rates are for each band.
Tax Refunds for Council Tax
The Valuation Office Agency are the organisation who are responsible for ensuring that your property is on the correct council tax band. If you think your band is incorrect, then they are the people who need to be notified and they will check the details. Your local council can also confirm to you how your council tax has been calculated, and they can also review the council tax band that your property is in.
If you’ve contacted the Valuation Office Agency because you believe that your property is in the wrong council tax band, they have a deadline of 4 months to reply. You can appeal their decision if you are unhappy through a valuation tribunal.
If you have been paying council tax on the wrong tax band, and you have overpaid, you will be entitled to a council tax refund although this can be a lengthy process, because the whole case will need to be looked into in some detail to find out when and why the wrong band was selected.
Who Pays Council Tax?
Each property has just one single council tax bill. It is not necessarily the owner who pays the bill, as if the house is being rented out the tenants may have to pay. This depends entirely on the terms of the tenancy agreement however, so make sure you know the contract before you move in. Sometimes a landlord will agree to include the council tax costs in a fixed monthly rent, but you will need to check this.
If you are a tenant and will be liable to pay the council tax, you should notify the local council as soon as you move in to avoid a large tax bill later in the year. Council tax is paid for 10 months of the year with January and February being ‘free months’.
Tax refunds can easily be claimed directly, or using one of the many tax refund specialists.