Council tax: Can you change your council tax band? How to SLASH your bills
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Currently, an estimated 400,000 households in England and Scotland are overpaying for their council tax. Many homes are in the wrong council tax bands, and have been since 1991. Additionally, many councils are offering extra support like payment holidays for residents who are particularly struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can you change your council tax band?
In short, yes. Money saving expert Martin Lewis warned many Brits are paying too much for their council tax due to being in the wrong council tax band.
Mr Lewis wrote on his website: “In 10 minutes, at no cost, you can check and challenge your council tax banding, potentially slashing what you will pay in future and getting a rebate back going years.
“Thousands have tried and succeeded, and payouts in the £1,000s are very commonplace.”
Mr Lewis added: “Typical bills are £1,000 plus a year, yet many wrongly assume they have to pay it in gill as a done deal without considering the ways to slash it.”
Up to 4,000 homes in the UK are currently sitting in the wrong council tax band.
Contact your local council tax provider by phone or email to check if you are in the wrong band.
Mr Lewis said: “If you’re in too high a band, you can reclaim past overpayments and get reductions in the future.
“Ann emailed: ‘Your help meant after nearly 15 years I queried my band. It was reduced and I got a £3,000 refund.”
He added: “Many councils offer payment holidays to those struggling due to coronavirus – but only if you ask.”
Council tax holidays are judged on a case-by-case basis and the deferral of length varies, so there is no certainty on getting one, but when asked, most councils said they would:
- Offer payment holidays for those struggling with their 2020/21 council tax bill
- Give council reductions of up to 100 percent on bills for people on benefits, e.g. Universal Credit – plus in England you may also get £150 off your bull backed by a £500million coronavirus hardship fund.
- Postpone council debt collection or enforcement for payments of outstanding bills for the foreseeable future.
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A few successful people managed to push April and May’s council tax payments so they began in June, while other local councils were more generous and offered a longer deferral.
If you are currently on benefits or getting financial help due to a low income, you should be getting 100 percent off your bill.
Mr Lewis warns, however, these payments may not be backdated so advises claimants to apply as soon as possible – the longer you wait, the less you get.
Additionally, those who live alone, carers or people who live with under 18s are eligible for a 25 percent discount.
Claimants for the discount can also apply to receive backdated payments.
To make your bill cheaper on a monthly basis, you can also ask your council to pay the bill over a 12-month period as opposed to 10 months.
This can facilitate monthly budgeting and save you some serious cash as a result.
If you want to do this, you should contact your local council and tell them you want to change to the new payment schedule.
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