Find out how your council tax band is calculated, and how to make a challenge to get it modified.

How are council tax bands worked out?

Your council tax band influences how much council tax you pay.

It’s computed depending on the worth of your property at a certain point in time. For instance, in England your council tax band is based on what the value of your house would have been on 1 April 1991.

Council tax bands are determined differently in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – we explain the bands for each below.

Council tax bands in England

Properties in England are categorized into one of eight bands (A-H), depending on the price they would have sold for in April 1991.

The valuation band ranges for England are as follows:

tier of the council tax Values
A Up to £40,000
B £40,000-£52,000
C £52,000-£68,000
D £68,000-£88,000
E £88,000-£120,000
F £120,000-£160,000
G £160,000-£320,000
H More than £320,000

Council tax bands in Scotland

Properties in Scotland are also categorized into one of eight categories (A-H), based on their value in April 1991. But the band ranges are different than those in England.

The valuation band ranges for Scotland are as follows:

tier of the council tax  values
A Up to £27,000
B £27,000-£35,000
C £35,000-£45,000
D £45,000-£58,000
E £58,000-£80,000
F £80,000-£106,000
G £106,000-£212,000
H More than £212,000

The various bands of the Welsh council tax

Since the revaluation of properties in Wales took place in 2003, the council tax bands are based on the market value of the home as of April 1, 2003.

There are nine different valuation bands, labelled A through I, and they are as follows:

tier of the council tax  values
A Up to £44,000
B £44,000-£65,000
C £65,000-£91,000
D £91,000-£123,000
E £123,000-£162,000
F £162,000-£223,000
G £223,000-£324,000
H £324,000-£424,000
I More than £424,000

Rates applicable locally within Northern Ireland

The traditional method of household rates was maintained throughout the 1990s in Northern Ireland rather than the introduction of a council tax. Rental values serve as the basis for this.

In 2007, Northern Ireland made the switch to a modified system of domestic rates, which is now based on the capital value of each individual property.

Multiplying the rateable capital value of your property by the domestic regional rate and the domestic district rate, and then adding those two rates together, yields the domestic rate for your property. This provides the “household rate poundage” for the council district that you are located in.

Your home is the only one with its particular rateable capital value. The amount of pence in every pound that you pay to the Assembly for regional services is referred to as the domestic regional rate.

The amount of pence that is deducted from each pound that you hand over to your District council in exchange for local services is known as the household district rate.

As an illustration, if the market value of your home is 80,000 pounds and you reside in the region that is governed by the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, then your computation would be as follows: 80,000 pounds multiplied by 0.00971 pounds is 733.60 pounds.

The following is a list of the domestic rate poundage levels for each council area in Northern Ireland for the fiscal year 2022-2023:

Council Name Domestic rate poundage
Antrim and Newtownabbey Council 0.008292
Ards and North Down Borough Council 0.008192
Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council 0.009170
Belfast City Council 0.008136
Causeway Coast and Glens 0.008702
Derry City and Strabane District Council 0.009853
Fermanagh and Omagh Council 0.008393
Lisburn & Castlereagh Council 0.007847
Mid & East Antrim Council 0.009149
Mid Ulster Council 0.008079
Newry, Mourne and Down Council 0.008720

How is a council tax band assigned to a newly constructed home?

The Valuation Office Agency for England and Wales (VOA) will conduct an automatic assessment of your property in order to assign it to the appropriate council tax band if it is a newly constructed home. This function is carried out by the Scottish Assessors Association for all properties located in Scotland (SAA).

The valuations are determined by considering the property’s:

Size
Layout\sCharacter\sLocation
Alteration in usage (if applicable)
The value on a particular day, which varies according to its location (for example, the value on April 1, 1991 in England but on April 1, 2003 in Wales).

If your home was not around in 1991 (or 2003 in Wales), it will be evaluated in relation to other houses in the neighbourhood that are of a similar kind.

Arguments in favour of contesting one’s council tax band

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) for England and Wales recognises the following as valid grounds for submitting a challenge and considers them suitable for doing so:

Since the first evaluation of your property, there have been modifications made to it, such as the demolition of a portion of it or the construction of new apartments on the same site.
The VOA either made an incorrect change to the valuation, or they haven’t made the change at all.
The date that the VOA updated its information is incorrect.
The rateable value ought to be updated to reflect the modifications that have been made to the property or the neighbourhood in which it is located.
It is recommended that a certain property be taken off of, or added to, the rating list.
A judicial decision regarding another property has resulted in an inaccurate appraisal.
The information about the property is either incorrect or lacking.
When the rating list was generated, the valuation that was used was incorrect (more on this below).

In most cases, you are not permitted to submit a challenge based on the same reasons more than once; nevertheless, this is sometimes an option if the effective date is different.

For instance, if nearby long-term roadworks have had an impact on the rateable value of your home, you have the option of submitting one challenge for the works that began on the 31st of December 2020 and another challenge for roadworks that began on a subsequent date.

How to appeal the band that your council tax falls within

There are situations in which people believe that the council tax band that has been assigned to their property is incorrect.

You have the ability to request a revaluation from either the VOA or the SAA if there have been modifications made to the property, such as it being converted into flats. Be aware that if the value of your home is changed, this could result in an increase in your council tax bill if the new valuation places your property in a higher band.

In the event that you believe that there was an error made in the first valuation of your property, you have the right to request a band review from the office of valuation in your area. They will require an explanation as to why you believe your banding to be incorrect.

You should follow these steps if you want to make a challenge to the council tax band that you are assigned:

First thing you should do is check in with your neighbours.

Your home should be placed in the same council tax band as neighbouring properties if they are comparable to yours in terms of size, age, and architectural style. You could inquire with your neighbours about it if you have a good relationship with them. In the event that it is not, the information should be available on the VOA and SAA websites.

Step 2: Determine how much your home is currently worth.

Because your council tax band is determined by the value of your property in 1991 in England and Scotland, or in 2003 in Wales, you will need to find out what that value was in order to determine whether or not you should challenge the band. This is true even if the property wasn’t built yet at the time the value was determined.

Check out house pricing websites like Rightmove and Zoopla, which provide free information on historic sales prices, to get an idea of what the property is currently worth. Make a note of the most recent sales price and date of properties on your street that are comparable to the one you own.

Utilizing resources such as the Nationwide House Price Calculator, you are able to utilise this information to estimate what the value of your house would have been in the years 1991 or 2003.

Using this rough estimate of the property’s worth, you may get a good idea of which band your home would have been classified into using the following bands as a reference:

Band Council tax bands in England on 1 April 1991 Council tax bands in Scotland on 1 April 1991 Council tax bands in Wales on 1 April 2003
A up to £40,000 Up to £27,000 up to £44,000
B £40,001 to £52,000 £27,001 to £35,000 £44,001 to £65,000
C £52,001 to £68,000 £35,001 to £45,000 £65,001 to £91,000
D £68,001 to £88,000 £45,001 to £58,000 £91,001 to £123,000
E £88,001 to £120,000 £58,001 to £80,000 £123,001 to £162,000
F £120,001 to £160,000 £80,001 to £106,000 £162,001 to £223,000
G £160,001 to £320,000 £106,001 to £212,000 £223,001 to £324,000
H more than £320,000 more than £212,000 £324,001 to £424,000
I n/a n/a more than £424,000

Source: gov.uk; saa.gov.uk

The third step is to issue a challenge.

If you are still certain that your property is assigned to the incorrect band after completing the steps outlined above, it is time to file a challenge.

If you believe that the initial valuation was inaccurate, you should submit a request for a band review to the VOA or SAA as soon as possible. Present your argument and explain why you believe that the band that your property is in is incorrect.

If you believe that your band should be altered since its initial valuation, you should write to your local council and explain why you think the band should be changed. If you believe that your band has changed since its initial valuation, you should do so. This claim will either be approved by the council or denied by them. If it is turned down, you have the option of appealing the decision to the valuation tribunal; to do so, follow the instructions provided in our article on how to receive a refund on your council tax.

Your council tax band may change if the property is sold or if it is the subject of a new lease for more than seven years. Property renovations, however, will not result in an increase in your council tax bill. Your council tax band would be subject to review by the VOA or SAA in these circumstances, and it is possible that it might be raised.

It is important to check the VOA’s council tax list before purchasing a new house to determine whether or not a band review is pending on the property. On the list are all of the qualities that are known to have undergone a change for the better.

What happens to the additional amount of council tax that I’ve paid?

If it is determined that your property should have been placed in a lower band after your appeal, not only will your future council tax payments be cheaper, but the money that you have already spent in excess of what your property should have been assessed at will be refunded to you.

This should be backdated to the time when you first started paying the incorrect band; typically, this is the time when you moved into the property.

Since payments for council tax were not initially required until 1993, the earliest that repayments can be backdated to is that year.

Do you offer discounts on the local council tax?

If you are unable to change the band that your property falls under for the purpose of determining the amount of council tax that you are required to pay, you may be eligible for a discount.

Full-time students typically do not have to pay any council tax at all, and persons who live in a house by themselves are entitled for a discount of up to 25 percent on their council tax bill. Full-time students are only one of the many sorts of people who can qualify for a council tax discount.