Find out how to submit an appeal against your council tax bill and the process for reclaiming council tax that was overpaid if you have already done so.
What exactly is a local tax appeal?
You could get a bill for the local council tax that you don’t think is right or accurate every now and again.
If this is the case, you may have the ability to file an appeal over it. If you are successful with this, it will result in lower council tax bills for you, and you may even be eligible to receive a refund for any council tax that you have already paid that was in excess.
Can I lodge a complaint about the council tax?
If you believe that the amount that you were charged is erroneous, you have the option of filing an appeal.
Inaccuracies can include not being given a discount that should apply or if you are being sent bills but are not the person liable to pay council tax – for example, if you are a landlord and your tenants should be paying council tax. Additionally, inaccuracies can occur if you are not receiving a discount that should apply.
If you believe that your property has been assigned to the incorrect council tax band or if you believe that a penalty notice has been given to you in an unjust manner, you have the right to file an appeal.
Last but not least, if you believe that your house qualifies as an exempt property because it is used solely by full-time students, is used as housing for members of the armed services, or any other similar circumstance, you may be able to lodge an appeal.
Just because you believe the amount you owe in council tax is incorrectly calculated does not qualify you to file an appeal. If you’re having trouble paying your payment, our guide to paying council tax can be of assistance to you.
The procedural breakdown of how to appeal your council tax bill
Step 1: First, make sure that your council tax bill is correct.
Your annual charge for the services rendered should be mailed to you by your council in written form.
You may verify this by using our council tax calculator and filling in your postcode there.
You will also be able to check what people in other postcodes and in different council tax bands are paying with the assistance of this tool.
Check out our guide to lowering your council tax bill if you believe you may be able to get a reduction or exemption on your council tax and want to see if you qualify.
Step 2: Send a letter to your city or town council.
If you are certain that you wish to appeal your bill, you should write to your local council to explain why you believe it is erroneous and request an appeal.
The term for this level is the “representations stage.”
You should make an effort to provide as many specifics as you possibly can, as well as any proof in favour of your argument that you believe will be beneficial.
The evidence that is relevant will be determined by the appeal that you are making. If you are appealing the denial of a discount on your council tax, for example, you might want to submit documentation that illustrate the circumstances that you believe entitle you to a discount on your council tax bill.
The typical response time for your council is two months.
If the decision is made in your favour, the council that you pay council tax to will change your bill and your payments on a monthly basis appropriately.
You can move on to step 3 if they decide not to react to your appeal within two months or if they decide to reject it.
Step 3: Appeal to the service provided by the valuation tribunal
If the response that you received from your local council was not satisfactory, you have the option of submitting a written application to the valuation tribunal service in order to request a review. The website for this service may be found here.
After evaluating the material that you and your local council have provided, the valuation tribunal service may contact you and urge you to attend a court hearing so that the matter can be resolved. This service is provided at no cost, unless you choose to make use of the services of a legal representative or solicitor.
The judicial proceeding should not go on for more than a day.
The result of this will either be that the case is determined in your favour, in which case your local council will be told to change your council tax bill, or that the case will be ruled against you, in which case your bill will remain unchanged.
How to get back council tax that was paid in excess
There are a few possible explanations for why you have made a council tax overpayment.
The first reason is that most people pay their council tax in advance. Since a year’s worth of council tax is sometimes divided into 10 instalments, if you’ve paid up to April but move out earlier in the year, your council tax account will be left in credit.
Although the majority of councils will issue automatic reimbursements before cancelling your account, there are a few exceptions.
After you’ve moved out of the property, it’s easy to forget to cancel a direct debit or a standing order, which might result in late fees.
You may also be eligible for a council tax rebate if, after you have moved out of the property, the property has been changed to a lower tax category.
Check the website of the local council in question to see if a form for requesting a council tax refund is available there. Doing so will allow you to determine whether or not you are due money. It’s possible that we’ll ask for your former council tax reference number, which should be on any old bills or email correspondence we’ve had with you.
If there is no online form available or if you do not know your council tax reference number, you should try to contact the council by phone or email instead. In order to verify your identification, we will require that you provide your full name and previous address, and we may also ask you a few security questions.