This blog answers the question “Is it possible to challenge a council tax band?” It states the evidence necessary to prove to the VOA that your property is currently in the wrong housing band. 

Is It Possible To Challenge A Council Tax Band?

Yes, you can challenge the Council tax band your property is in if you can convince the Valuation Office Agency of one of the following:

  • Your property has changed (it has been damaged by actions such as flooding or fire or vandalized beyond repair, or been completely demolished or split into multiple parts)
  • Your property’s use has changed, which means that part of it is now being used for providing medical services, or part of it is being used as a school or office
  • The local area around your property in your council has changed(which means that the businesses or new infrastructure built around your residence has increased its residential or land value). If an office building is built down the road from your residence, the employees working there would demand the land of your property as it is near their office space and cuts down transport costs)

In order to move your residence to a lower council tax band, you will need to provide the following evidence. If you are aware of the sale prices of properties outside your council tax band you must provide:

  • The addresses of the properties
  • The sale prices of the relevant properties
  • The date on which these similar properties were valued in a different property band was sold. 

You must provide the evidence of 5 similar properties as yours (currently valued by the VOA in a different Council Tax Band)

The similarity will be assessed in terms of:

  • Age
  • Style and Design
  • Property Area or size (The Valuation Office Agency will also look at properties larger in area than yours)
  • Types such as detached, semi-detached, bungalows, flats, cottages, or end-of-terrace houses. The similar property must resemble your own type of residence
  • The similar property must also be in the same street or estate as your property

Also, if you believe that your property is in a state of “economic unrepair” you can inform the VOA by using their online service. The evidence you will attach to your message will help the VOA officer to investigate your claim, this includes:

  • Photographs of the repairs to your property needed to restore it 
  • The history of the occupation of the premises including the names of occupants and if the land was used for any non-residential purposes
  • Plans for the future occupation or use of the residence
  • A schedule of the repairs to be conducted on the property, including the dates when each stage was initiated.

The VOA will decide based on this evidence whether your property’s rateable value will be negatively affected by the repairs or not.

How many Council Tax Bands are there?

There are 9 Council Tax Bands. Band A, Band B, Band C, Band D, Band E, Band F, Band G, and Band H and Band I. Council tax Band A is for properties valued upto £40,000. Council tax Band B is for properties valued between £40,000 and £52,000. Council tax Band C is for properties valued between £52,000 and £68,000.

 Council tax Band D is for properties valued between £68,000 and £88,000. Council tax band E is for properties valued between £88000 and £120,000. Council tax band F is for properties valued between £120,000 and £160,000. Council tax band G is for properties valued between £160,000 and £320,000. Council tax band H is for properties valued above £320,000

What is my total yearly council tax amount for each of the council tax bands?

Your yearly council tax bill depends on which council you live in, so your bill could be different from a person living in another council by a maximum of a few hundred pounds 

If you live in Bristol Council, your yearly tax is:

  • £1486.91 for a property valued in Band A
  • £1734.73 for a property valued in Band B
  • £1982.55 for  property valued in Band C
  • £2230.37 for a property valued in Band D
  • £2726 for a property valued in Band E
  • £3221.64 for a property valued in Band F
  • £3717.28 for a property valued in Band G
  • £4460.74 for a property valued in Band H

If you live in Ealing Council, your yearly tax is:

  • £1156.99 for a property valued in Band A
  • £1349.82 for a property valued in Band B
  • £1542.65 for a property valued in Band C
  • £1735.48 for a property valued in Band D
  • £2121.14 for a property valued in Band E
  • £2506.81 for a property valued in Band F
  • £2892.47 for a property valued in Band G
  • £3470.96 for a property valued in Band H

Which conditions must be satisfied by the appeal to challenge a council tax band?

At least one of the following conditions must be satisfied by the appeal to challenge a council tax band:

  • Your property has already (recently) been demolished
  • Your property was a house and has (recently) been remodeled into flats.
  • The local area around your property (in your council) has changed. By changes in the local area, it is implied that newly constructed businesses or office complexes have raised your property’s land value.
  • The Valuations Officer has (recently) changed the band your property is valued in. In other words, the Valuations Officer has changed the rateable value of your house.
  • You are challenging the council tax band within six months of the date from when you have started paying the council tax for the property.
  • Renovating your property or making structural alterations to it that increase its “rateable value”. This claim will need to be verified (with supporting evidence) by the Valuations Officer.
  • Beginning the use ( a portion or the whole ) of your property for business activity as a result of which its rateable value would increase. Or halting the use of your property from business or commercial activities (and therefore converting its status to residential property)
  • Evidence of a similar property whose council tax band has been changed by the County Court. This similarity will be assessed in terms of age, design, property size and type of housing.

What is the procedure for challenging a council tax band and how do I gather evidence to prove my case?

Challenging your Council Tax Band involves appealing the decision made by the Valuation Office Agency. This appeal must be made within 3 months of the decision of your Council Tax Band. If your appeal is accepted, you will then be invited to attend an appeal hearing and present your case in front of the Valuation Tribunal.

You need to complete your appeals form while keeping the following information close at hand:

  • A Digital Copy Of Your Decision Notice (the one being challenged)
  • Your property address, email, or telephone number, and other details
  • Your explanation (with proof) of why you think the Valuations Office Agency’s decision is incorrect. This can only be of a maximum 1200 characters long.

Types of evidence that you can provide with your appeal include:

  • Selling prices of similar properties sold at or on 1st April 1991 (similar in terms of design, property area and housing type)
  • Data about the banding of other similar properties located in your council area( or your neighborhood)
  • Measurements of your property, in case the size of your property is not fixed with the VOA.
  • Copies of old newspapers from 1991 showing properties up for sale in that year or around April 1991
  • Lists showing changes in property prices such as those provided by local estate agents or building societies.

When you submit all this information and your appeal is registered, you will be given a date for an appeal hearing (within 5 months). Next, you will attend your hearing and be presented a chance to present your case before the Valuation Tribunal in which you can also ask questions. 

Both sides will be heard before the tribunal reaches its decision. The Valuations Office Agency will also be allowed to ask you questions. The decision of the Valuations Tribunal in light of all this evidence will be impartial (taking into account the relevant laws).

Conclusion

This blog post answered the question “Is It Possible To Challenge A Council Tax Band?”. Council tax bands are actively updated by the Valuation Office Agency and any changes to the value of your house or its status are accounted for. The likelihood of your challenge (to the current council tax band allocated to your property) being successful is relatively slim because the case put forward by the VOA will cover any gray areas regarding its banding decision. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) : Is It Possible To Challenge A Council Tax Band?

What are the two parts of a Personal Independence Payment (PIP)?

The two parts of a Personal Independence Payment are the daily living part and the mobility part. The Personal Independence Payment is a disability benefit that helps with covering the expenses to care for residents with special needs.

The Department for Work and Pensions needs to assess whether the disabled claimant of PIP actually needs this kind of help in performing everyday tasks or in doing things such as sitting, walking, or climbing stairs. The measure of the disability applicant’s results is based on 

  • Whether they are able to perform the tasks safely or not?
  • What duration of time do they take to successfully complete each task?
  • How frequently the disability condition impairs their ability to complete the task successfully
  • Whether they require assistance in performing the task, such as physical support, a wheelchair, or any other mobility device

The details of the living part of the Personal Independence Payment include:

  • Needing help in eating, drinking, and preparing food
  • Needing help in washing, bathing, and using the toilet
  • Needing help in dressing and undressing
  • Needing assistance in reading and communicating
  • Needing help in managing medicines or disability treatments
  • Needing guidance in making decisions about money
  • Needing help and counseling to socialize

The mobility part of the Personal Independence Payment includes needing help with 3 actions. These are leaving your home, as disabled persons cannot leave their home unassisted. Walking, running, jumping, or climbing stairs as disabled persons are unable to move their bodies normally. Navigating a destination route and following it to reach that place.

What is the Disability Living Allowance for children?

The Disability Living Allowance is a weekly disability payment to help parents or carers in covering the expenses of a child who must be:

  • Aged under 16
  • And has problems walking or needs a lot of extra effort to be cared for compared to children his age without a disability.
  • And is habitually resident in the UK

The disability condition must have lasted for at least 3 months and must also be expected to last another 6 months (unless a medical professional has said that they have less than 6 months to live)

The Disability Living Allowance rate is between £24.45 and £156.90 a week and depends on the kind of help the child requires.

What is the benefit cap?

There is a limit on the total amount of benefit payments that working-age people can be given, which is known as the benefits cap.

The benefit cap does not apply to:

  • People who are pension age ( above 65)
  • The benefits cap does not apply for the first 39 weeks of unemployment if you (or your spouse) had been working continuously for the 12 months preceding unemployment
  • If anyone occupying your property gets the Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or the Attendance Allowance
  • To people who get either the Carer’s Allowance or the Guardian Allowance (from 7th November 2016)

The rates of the benefit cap are:

  • £384.62 a week for couples
  • £384.62 a week for single parents with children who live with them
  • £284.69 a week for single adults (without children)

The benefits cap affects the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Incapacity benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disability Allowance
  • Widowed Parents Allowance

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