Cost of living: Martin Lewis reveals how to get thousands back on council tax bills before April price hike
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Martin Lewis has revealed how people can save thousands of pounds on their council tax bills amid the cost of living crisis. The Money Saving Expert founder warned that there are hundreds of thousands of people in the wrong council tax band.
With bills set to rise in April after councils were given the green light to raise the levy by as much as five per cent in last year’s Autumn Statement, it’s a good idea to check if you’re in the right band as it could save you a hefty chunk of money.
Some local authorities have been allowed to raise council tax bills even more than five per cent - in some cases, by as much as 15 per cent. Previously, councils were only permitted to raise council tax by 2.99 per cent and anything higher would have required a local vote.
If you think your council tax band is incorrect, you can challenge it. If you are in the wrong band, it will mean you not only pay less on future bills but you could even get a refund on the over-payments made since you moved into the property.
How do I challenge my council tax band?
Before you challenge your council tax band,it’s worth noting you might be re-banded into a more expensive band and have to pay more council tax, so think before you take the plunge.
Properties in the UK are banded from A to H which determines how much council tax you pay - A being the cheapest and H the most expensive. Many bands were created based on property values in 1991, so you might well find you’re in a different band today.
You have to submit your challenge to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) if you live in England or Wales on the Gov.uk website. Alternatively, you can call the VOA on 03000 501 501 for England or 03000 505 505 for Wales or email on [email protected].
In order to make a challenge, you will have to give addresses of up to five similar properties in a lower council tax band in your area, as well as details on what type of property you live in such as its size and age.
The challenging process is different in Scotland - visit the Scottish government’s website for more information. There are other ways you can get a reduction on your council tax if you are struggling and are single, elderly or on certain benefits.