Hundreds challenge Council Tax bills

Hundreds of residents in Northumberland attempted to challenge their Council Tax bills last year, new figures reveal.

By Patrick Jack
Thursday, 12th August 2021, 10:06 am
Updated Friday, 13th August 2021, 7:27 am
Council Tax challenges
Council Tax challenges

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) – which gives the Government property valuations and advice – received 250 challenges from Northumberland residents over their Council Tax bill in 2020/21 – down from 340 the year before.

Of the challenges which were resolved, 60 resulted in the tax bill decreasing.

Nationally, 40,620 challenges were launched – down from 43,650 in 2019/20 and, of the 38,070 resolved disputes, 11,670 (31%) resulted in the Council Tax band being decreased.

Homes are given a Council Tax valuation band by the VOA based on its value in April 1991.

Think tank Bright Blue said a rise in the proportion of successful challenges shows that the system has "long passed its sell-by date".

Joseph Silke, communications officer Bright Blue, said: “The banding system devised three decades ago disproportionately burdens those with more modest means.

“If the Government wants to level up, council tax should be replaced with a fairer annual proportional property tax.”

The Institute of Economics Affairs said the council tax system is too vulnerable to "arbitrary" challenges by individual households which can affect a lot of people.

Andy Mayer, chief operating officer, said: "Often one person’s appeal triggers the revaluation of a whole group of homes, leading to further appeals.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said it has no plans to reform Council Tax.

A spokeswoman added: “We are providing councils with £670m to enable them to continue reducing council tax bills this year for those least able to pay.”