How to check your Council Tax band: how the bands are calculated and what to do if you're paying too much

Introduced in 1993, council tax is used as a means to fund local public services from police forces to bin collections.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 4:47 pm
Updated Monday, 13th January 2020, 4:48 pm
Some households may have been overcharged for council tax (Shutterstock)

Households in England are allocated one of eight tax bands (A to H), with the tax set at a fixed amount for each band.

Here's how those council tax bands were decided - and how to find out if your property has been wrongly assigned a council tax band and overcharged as a result.

How are council tax bands decided?

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Prior to the introduction of council tax, valuations of every property in the country were carried out in 1991, with tax bands allocated depending on each property's valuation.

In 2007, an investigation by Tonight With Trevor McDonald found that millions of properties had been placed in the wrong band.

Termed as "second-gear valuations", it was revealed that valuations were often carried out by driving past homes and carrying out a perfunctory valuation.

As a result of the investigation, and tireless work by money expert Martin Lewis, thousands of properties were rebanded, saving owners hundreds of pounds a year.

How can I find out if I'm in the wrong council tax band?

Martin Lewis, founder of Money Saving Expert first recommends asking your neighbour to find out which tax band they are in.

Alternatively you can find out your neighbour's tax band via the English Valuation Office Agency.

If they are in a lower tax band, then it may be possible that your property has been assigned the wrong band. Find out if this is the case by finding out the value of your property in 1991. This can be achieved by entering a previous valuation of your house into Nationwide's House Price Index Calculator.

Once you have a 1991 valuation, compare it to the original tax bands, which can be found here.

If you believe that your property has been assigned the wrong property band you can apply for a reassessment. It is worth noting that your property could be moved up or down a tax band, so it is vital that you carry out an accurate valuation.

How to challenge

If you are based in England you can request a reassessment of your band by contacting the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

If you disagree with their findings you can then mount a challenge by filling in your property details here and then selecting ‘Do you think this Council Tax band is wrong?’

More information on making a challenge in England can be found at gov.uk.