All domestic properties are placed in a 'band' for Council Tax purposes. There are eight standard bands, ranging from the lowest, band A, to the highest band H.
Under certain circumstances, there is a special band referred to as band AR. Properties are placed in band AR if it is already in band A but qualifies for a banding reduction as it has been modified for a disabled resident.
For more information, go to Council Tax discount for people with disabilities.
Who bands properties
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is responsible for deciding which band applies to your property. The VOA is an executive agency, sponsored by HM Revenues and Customs.
Challenging your council tax band
If you think your property is in the wrong tax band, you can challenge this by contacting the VOA. When contacting the VOA you can :
- make a proposal -if you became the owner of the property in the last 6 months, or you think the property should not be banded at all, you can make an online 'proposal' to reduce or remove your band
- ask for a review - if you don't fit the circumstances above to make a proposal, you can still ask the VOA to review your band. You'll need to tell the VOA why you think your property is in the wrong band, for example, if you're in a higher band than identical homes nearby
If your property is in a Band A, it cannot be reduced further by the VOA.
When challenging your band, you must continue to pay your Council Tax on time otherwise you may default and face recovery action.
How to contact the VOA
The VOA can be contacted:
- by visiting their website at: http://www.voa.gov.uk/
by calling tel: 03000 501 501
Properties affected by the removal of 'Class A' and 'Class C' exemptions
Council tax exemptions used to be in place for properties which were:
undergoing extensive structural repairs or renovations, referred to as 'Class A'
empty and substantially unfurnished, referred to as 'Class C'
Class A exemption
The 'Class A' exemption was removed as of the 31 March 2013 and replaced with a 50% reduction.
Once a property meets the criteria and evidence has been submitted confirming the property is undergoing extensive structural repairs or renovations, then the 50% discount will be applied for up to 6 months. Payments on the Council Tax account must be kept up to date until the discount is applied as should the account default, they you may face recovery action.
Class C exemption
The 'Class C' exemption was removed as of 31 March 2014. Currently, properties left empty and regardless of whether they are furnished or not will be charged at 100%.
Now, the VOA only delete a property from the 'Valuation List' if it is truly derelict and unfit for occupation. Council tax exemptions cannot be applied because the property is in disrepair, undergoing substantial structural alterations, major renovation or other alterations which result in the property being incapable of occupation, see GOV.UK for more information.
Properties affected by the removal of second home discount
The second home discount was removed on 31 March 2013. Properties left empty but remain furnished will be charged at 100% of chargeable rate.
The VOA cannot deal with matters arising from the removal of the second home discount. Owners of second homes may wish to explore if they are eligible to be assessed under Non Domestic Rates rather than council tax.
Further information can be found on gov.uk.
Recent changes resulting from the Welfare Reform Bill
If you have been affected by the recent changes resulting from welfare reforms and the council tax reduction scheme, the VOA are unable to help you unless you qualify for a banding reduction for any of the reasons above.