In England, there are eight valuation bands designated from A to H. All domestic properties fall under each designation depending on their age and price. The valuation band of your property is determined by the Valuation Office Agency or VOA. Classification is dependent on what your house must have cost in April 1991.
The valuation band of your house determines the charge you’ll pay on council tax.
Listed below is a detailed list of band designations and their valuations as set by the VOA. For further information on your valuation band, please refer to the gov.uk council tax.
The valuation band charges vary all over the country and each local council sets the charge for their area. Your borough or district takes into account several factors when deciding the amount to charge. The following are key:
What is a precept? This is when another authority such as the fire department, police or parish council tasks your billing council to collect a specified amount of money on their behalf to carry out their services. The control of these precepts is usually managed by your billing council.
After these requirements have been put into consideration, your billing authority will work out the amount of Council Tax charged to each property. This is normally done by calculating an annual amount for a house in band D which is the national median.
The properties in other bands are will be charged a proportion of the band D sum in relation to it. For instance, band A (the smallest band) pays two-thirds (6/9ths) of the Council Tax for a band D home in the same district.
Below are each band and its corresponding proportion to band D:
There are cases of people who discovered they have been lumped in the wrong valuation band. This means they had probably been paying a higher council tax. Recently, it was revealed that as many as 400,000 homes in Scotland and England have been paying the wrong council tax.
Fortunately, the wrongly billed homeowners can get a refund by appealing to the council. First, it is important to check if you have been lumped into the wrong council tax band.
It is likely that you live in a particular neighbourhood with identical housing. If this is the case, one of the simple ways is to ask your neighbours. However, you may not need to because the information is public record and can be checked here.
So, look into yours and those of your neighbour (assuming both properties are similar in size and value). Sadly, the volume of the database alone could mean a few properties are omitted. When this happens, talk directly to your neighbours or get in touch with the council and find out why. If your neighbours with the same type of property are paying a lower council tax, then you might have a claim.
Another useful method is to perform an estimate of what your house might have cost back in 1991 when the council tax bands were first set up. However, it is important to note that this CANNOT be presented as evidence in appeals. But it is a good way to check out different house prices and determine if you are well in your right to make an appeal.
First do a valuation on your property. If you purchased it after 1991, the date of sale and price at the time can prove useful. If you rented or purchased it before, you would need to perform an estimate.
Find out what the value was in 1991. With the information, you can estimate the current band it should be in today.
Challenging your band is something you should do only when you are cocksure. Why? For one reason, you are not asking your band to be lowered, but to be reassessed. This means your property could end up being reviewed upwards as well as downwards! So, are you sure?
After going through all the steps mentioned and you are extremely sure your home is unfairly banded, the next step is to make an appeal to the VOA. If you are right, your valuation band will not only be moved down, but you could also get a refund on past payments.
There are some conditions stated for challenging your valuation band. They are:
All complaints regarding your valuation band must be directed to your local valuation office. The services are FREE. Response to complaints shouldn’t exceed 12 weeks.
Once again, it is important to note that valuations can be increased or decreased.
If you would like to know more about challenging your valuation band, please visit the Gov.UK Council Tax Appeals website.
If you are unhappy with the results or you feel a response is taking too long, you may consult the Local Government Ombudsman.