Martin Lewis offers advice on council tax rebates
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Council tax bills have risen across the UK this April in yet another blow for hard-up Britons struggling with the cost of living crisis. The majority of homes have seen a rise of about three percent in their annual bill. But in some instances, houses can be in the wrong band and therefore you could be paying the wrong amount altogether.
How is council tax calculated?
Council tax is calculated according to how much your home is worth.
In England, it is based on your home valuation from 1991, and the devolved nations each have different bands to England. Northern Ireland still has domestic rates instead of council tax.
The current council tax bands for England are:
- A – Up to £40,000
- B – £40,000-£52,000
- C – £52,000-£68,000
- D – £68,000-£88,000
- E – £88,000-£120,000
- F – £120,000-£160,000G – £160,000-£320,000
- H – More than £320,000
How much should I be paying?
How much Council Tax you pay depends on:
- Your personal circumstances
- Which valuation band your property is in
For example, if you are a student in higher education living in a property with only other students, you won’t be liable for any council tax.
People on certain benefits and Government schemes also have reduced or no council tax – you will need to check with the DWP whether your benefits mean you do or do not have to pay.
The amount varies by council. No two councils in the UK charge exactly the same rate.
How do I know if I’m paying the right amount?
Every April you should receive a breakdown from your local council about how and when you will pay your council tax.
The Valuation Office Agency on GOV.UK lets you check your band online, but does not tell you how much you should pay.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out if you’re in the correct band or not if you don’t know what your property was worth in 1991.
The best way to check if you’re in the right band is to see what your neighbours are paying.
You don’t even need to ask them. By knowing your area’s postcode, you can view the bands for any property in the country using the GOV.UK checker.
If your band is different to a lot of your neighbours, it’s highly likely you are in the wrong band and it would be worth checking with the Valuation Office to see if your band is correct.
But be careful: if your band is different to your neighbours, it could be because they are in the incorrect band, and their council tax will rise as a result.
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