A MARTIN Lewis fan has explained how she got £4,000 in council tax refunds – check if you’re due money back too.
The fan, called Ali, said she got the payout after discovering she had been in the wrong council tax band for 12 years.
It meant she was paying way more than she should, as these bands determine how much you’ll pay in tax.
Council tax bands are based on how much your property was worth on April 1, 1991 for England and Scotland, and April 1, 2003 for Wales.
Band A represents the lowest value of a home, while band H in England and Scotland and band I in Wales represents the highest value.
Ali, who was featured in this week’s MoneySavingExpert newsletter, said she checked her band after reading Martin Lewis’ advice.
She said: “I took your advice regarding checking that my house is in the correct council tax band and I discovered that when it was built, it was put in the wrong band.
“This means for 12 years I have been paying too much.”
How can I check my council tax band?
Anyone can challenge their council tax band – but it takes a bit of research and there’s no guarantee you’ll be successful. It could even backfire and get you moved to a higher band.
The first step is to check what council tax band your neighbours are on, based on houses that are similar in size and value.
This information is available online and is free to check, so you don’t need to ask your neighbours in person.
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If you find you’re on a higher council tax band compared to your neighbours, you may be able to successful make a challenge.
But before you do, another crucial check is to see how much your property was worth in 1991, as this is when council tax was launched by the government.
MoneySavingExpert has a free calculator tool to help you do this.
To challenge your band, you have to contact the Valuation Office Agency if you live in England or Wales – or the Scottish Assessors Association if you live in Scotland.
These bodies decide which council tax band each home should be in.
While you could get moved to a lower band and pay less, there’s also the chance the VOA could find you’re not paying enough.
This could mean you’re moved to a higher band – and your neighbours’ too.
If you disagree with the VOA’s ruling, you can appeal your case – but only if you’ve been told that you can when you get the decision.
You must appeal within three months of your decision – to do this, get in touch with the Valuation Tribunal Service.
If the Valuation Tribunal agrees with you, it will get the VOA to change your band – and your bill will change.
If you’re moved to a lower band, you’ll get a refund of council tax going back to the date you moved into the property.
But if you’re moved to a higher band, you’ll start paying an increased rate of council tax straight away.