How can I save on council tax?Q: I’m not sure whether I’m paying too much council tax. Is there any way I can check?

A: The council tax system was established over 20 years ago when every property was placed into a valuation band. However, properties in England and Scotland haven’t been revalued since then, so you may have moved into a different band without realising, and could be paying more council tax than you should be.

To find out whether you’re in the correct council tax band, click here, type in your postcode and you’ll see yours and your neighbours’ council tax bands.

If a neighbour with a very similar or identical house to yours is in a lower band, it’s worth contacting your council to make a formal proposal to have your band changed. Taxpayers in Scotland should visit the Scottish Assessors.

If you’re successful, you’ll be entitled to a refund of your overpayments from when you moved into the property.

There are other ways that you might be able to pay less council tax:

You might get a reduction if you or someone in your household is disabled. And if you’re the only adult (students are not classified as adults when it comes to council tax) living in your home, you’ll get 25 per cent off your bill.

If your home is empty because it needs major repairs or alterations to make it habitable, you won’t have to pay council tax for up to a year. You also won’t have to pay for up to six months if the property is empty and substantially unfurnished – you can even live in the property for up to six weeks in this time.

And if you have a low income, you may also be entitled to a reduction in council tax. The old council tax benefit was stopped at the beginning of April and each council now has its own reduction scheme. For more info, contact your local council office.

Andrea Ventress, Money Expert

 

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