Martin Lewis urges Britons to check council tax bills as £150million owed

Martin Lewis lays out when to expect £150 council tax refund

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Some 826,000 households across England, Scotland and Wales could qualify for a refund, according to Martin Lewis’ website MoneySavingExpert. It adds up to £150million in council tax overpayments which could be claimed back in total across the UK.

While many people’s council tax bills increased in April, figures show that nearly one million people have ended up paying too much and are actually due a refund.

Britons who have moved to a different area or experienced a change in circumstance are most likely to be affected and are being reminded to get in touch with their council to check.

The MoneySavingExpert website has a guide on how to check if people are due a refund and recommends contacting their local council if they think they have overpaid in error.

Gareth Shaw, deputy editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “While many councils do make an effort to track down those who have cash lying unclaimed, they are still staggeringly sitting on £150million worth of overpayments.

He continued: “You’re less likely to have overpaid if you use direct debit, but it’s not impossible, so if you’ve moved home it’s worth checking if you might be due – especially if you changed local authority area and paid by cash, cheque or standing order instead.

“Each council has its own way of processing claims, but some have an easy online form.

“But don’t just call on the off chance you might be due – do a little bit of digging so you don’t clog up councils’ switchboards for those who need essential and urgent support.

“Check your previous statements and bills to see if council tax you paid upfront covers a period after you moved and if you closed your account in credit.”

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Council tax bills are usually paid in advance – so it’s easy to overpay if people then move to an area with a lower tax band.

Meanwhile, millions of households are missing out on discounts to their council tax bill which could see them £900 a year better off.

Almost three million people (2.7m) are losing out on billions of pounds in council tax support according to charity Turn2Us – the equivalent of £938 per person.

Some people qualify for reductions between 25 and 100 percent depending on their living arrangements, income and personal circumstances.

Single person households typically receive 25 percent off their council tax.

Households with one adult living with them who is “disregarded” could also be eligible for financial help.

Britons in receipt of certain benefits like Universal Credit and Pension Credit usually get a discount.

In total, 10 groups of people are disregarded from paying council tax.

What is happening where you live? Find out by adding your postcode or visit InYourArea

Britons are usually disregarded from council tax if they are:

  • Under 18 years old
  • On certain apprentice schemes
  • 18 or 19 years old and in full-time education
  • A full-time student at college or university
  • Under 25 years old and get funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency
  • A student nurse
  • A foreign language assistant registered with the British Council
  • Severely mentally impaired
  • A live-in carer for someone who is not their partner, spouse, or child under 18
  • A diplomat.

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