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.
There is also a special band referred to as band AR. Properties within band A may be placed in band AR if they qualify for a council tax discount for people with disabilities.
Challenging your council tax band
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.
If you think your property is in the wrong tax band, you can challenge your band by contacting the VOA.
If your property is within valuation band A, it cannot be reduced further by the VOA.
When pursuing any council tax banding enquiries or disputes, you must continue to pay your council tax on time, otherwise you may default and face recovery action.
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 you may face recovery action.
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.
The VOA only removes a property from the Valuation List if it is truly derelict and unfit for occupation.
Class C exemption
The 'Class C' exemption was removed as of 31 March 2014.
Currently properties left empty will be charged at 100% of chargeable rate, regardless of whether they are furnished or not.
Properties affected by the removal of second home discount
The second home discount was removed on 31 March 2013.
Properties left empty but which 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 National Non Domestic Rates (business rates) rather than council tax.
Changes resulting from the Welfare Reform Bill
If you have been affected by the changes resulting from welfare reforms and the council tax reduction scheme, the VOA are unable to help you unless you qualify for banding reduction on other grounds.
See more information about council tax discount for people with disabilities.