Reclaiming Council Tax – How the Valuation Office Agency Can Help

December 29, 2011 by  Filed under: Taxes 

Council tax is a system excised on all domestic properties in UK, Scotland and Wales. The council (property) tax is collected by the local authority and is distributed to the welfare of local communities such as police stations, garbage, libraries etc. Whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette, mobile homes, house boats, council (property) tax is levied on all these regardless of the fact whether they are rented or owned. By the Local Government of Finance act of 1992, eight council tax bands were created (coded by letters A to H) as per their capital value on 1st April 1991. The banding was done in such a way that the properties in “Band H” had to pay tax thrice the amount paid by the properties in band A. The middle band “Band D” was used to evaluate the tax bills across the United Kingdom, and was listed with the properties valuing £68,001 to £88,000.

However, since the time the properties were banded, there have been complains from the property owners that they have been put under the wrong property tax bands which compels them to pay excessive amount of taxes. As a recent statistics state, there are as many as five million homes which fall under improper tax bands because of the faulty valuation of the property done in 1991. In 2005, the then UK government proposed a plan of re-assessing the tax bands of all the properties in England, but there were no implementation of the proposal in reality. As a result, many houses in England still falls under faulty council (property) tax bands and have been paying excess amount since last 20 years.

However, people in England can now check their council tax bands and challenge the banding and hold the chances of winning back the excessive payment made since 1993. An appeal for reclaiming their tax can be made to the Local Listing Officer in England. Parties can also forward their appeal to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

There are certain factors that you need to do prior appealing for council tax re-banding and forwarding a proposal for reclaiming council tax. By visiting VOA website, you can find out information about council tax and can also compare the council tax band with properties in your area. Check your banding with the neighbour’s properties, compare the size and age which will give you a clear indication about your base of challenging your band. Also, consider any extensions or alteration you might have made to your property as higher valuation can make your band higher.

As you contact the VOA, you will be asked to explain the reasons you think your property banding is not correct and also confirm the details of the property. The VOA will then check the list entry and review the points put forth by you. If the VOA cannot resolve the enquiry you forwarded, then it will conduct more detailed review of your property tax bands.

While many inquiries regarding property tax re-banding and reclaiming council tax can be done instantly, in some cases, you can also submit a ‘valid’ proposal to the VOA to re-value your banding. The VOA will accept a proposal which they deem to be “valid” and if it finds your proposal invalid, it will not take your proposal into account and will also provide the reason why they have termed your proposal as invalid. In that case, you can appeal the invalidity decision to the Valuation Tribunal.

Appealing for property tax re-assessment and submitting a proposal for reclaiming council tax can be a hassle and hence many autonomous council tax review companies have ushered in to help the willing parties to forward their claims, collect required evidence and submit detailed report to VOA. These firms have the required expertise and experience and thus can seek their assistance while reclaiming council(property) tax.

Darren C Smith works in a council tax review company. He writes informative articles to help the readers understand the council tax bands as well as explain the necessary steps to be followed for reclaiming council tax

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