A MARTIN Lewis fan has revealed how she got an £8,500 refund from her council – we explain how you might be entitled to the free cash.
The woman received the money via a council tax rebate after discovering she was paying too much.
The amount of council tax you pay is based on your band, but you can challenge it if you think you are on the wrong one.
If you are on too high a band, you can get money back for anything you've overpaid and pay less moving forward.
The woman explained in moneysavingexpert.com's latest newsletter: "Thanks sooooooo much for the advice regarding wrong council tax bands on your show a couple of weeks ago.
"We have had a refund going back to 1993 from our local council of £8,500!!!
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"We are now a band less (F to E), so also pay £30 less each month – meaning I can afford an extra glass of bubbly."
What is council tax?
Council tax is an annual fee you must pay to your local authority to fund local services such as bin collections and libraries.
If you live in England, the amount you pay is based the value of your home on April 1, 1991.
Each home falls under a different band. These are:
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- Band A – up to £40,000
- Band B – £40,001 to £52,000
- Band C – £52,001 to £68,000
- Band D – £68,001 to £88,000
- Band E – £88,001 to £120,000
- Band F – £120,001 to £160,000
- Band G – £160,001 to £320,000
- Band H – over £320,000
The bands are different if you live in Wales and based on the value of your property on April 1, 2003. These are:
- Band A – up to £44,000
- Band B – £44,001 to £65,000
- Band C – £65,001 to £91,000
- Band D – £91,001 to £123,000
- Band E – £123,001 to £162,000
- Band F – £162,001 to £223,000
- Band G – £223,001 to £324,000
- Band H – over £324,001 to £424,000
- Band I – more than £424,000
But the value of your home is just one factor used to decide how much council tax you pay.
If a property increases in size it might move to a higher band when it's sold on to another buyer.
You might also change council tax bands if your local area has physically changed, for example if a new supermarket has been built.
How to challenge your council tax band
You can challenge your council tax band by first finding out which one you are actually in.
You do this by checking with your local authority or on the Government's check your council tax tool.
You'll need to provide evidence you believe you are in the wrong code though.
For example, you might have to find out what council tax bands your neighbours are in as if theirs are lower than yours, yours might need to be lowered too.
If you live in England or Wales, you can challenge your council tax band online on the Government's website.
If you don't have access to a computer you can call the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) instead. You can contact them on:
Valuation Office Agency
03000 501 501 (England)
03000 505 505 (Wales)
If you live in Scotland, you submit your challenge to an assessor based in your local Valuation Joint Board or council.
Remember, when getting your council tax re-banded, you might end being moved to a higher, not lower, band.
This will see you having to pay more, not less, moving forward.
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However, you can appeal your case within three months of receiving a decision if you think it's wrong.
You'll need to get in touch with the Valuation Tribunal Service and if it agrees with your case it will get the VOA to change your band.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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