Martin Lewis Explains How To Save Thousands On Council Tax Bill
Money saving expert Martin Lewis has suggested that hundreds of thousands of households in the UK could be paying too much council tax. In good news, though, there may be a way that they can get that money back.
Budgeting and financial guru Lewis has been enjoying a successful run with his TV series The Martin Lewis Money Show, and on a recent edition he set out seven steps that people need to follow in order to work out if they're paying too much council tax.
First and foremost, Lewis explains that you should check your council tax band. He estimates that up to 400,000 households in the UK could be in the wrong band and may be owed payments dating back 27 years.
You can check what your neighbours are paying by visiting the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in England or the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA) in Scotland.
If it turns out that you're paying more than them then get a valuation on what your house was worth in 1991 - which is possible to do online.
From the house's previous value you can then work out what council tax band you should be in, although Lewis was keen to point out that you should only then apply for a refund if both of these checks suggest you're in the wrong band.
In one example, one resident in Hull appealed that she was in band B when all her neighbours were in the cheaper band A. However instead of her getting a council tax cut, all her neighbours were instead moved into the higher band - no doubt making her somewhat unpopular in the area.
During the programme, Lewis went on to point out other discounts that you may be able to make on your council tax if you're savvy.
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It's usually assumed that a minimum of two grown ups are living in a property. If you're a single adult living alone though, you're entitled to a 25 percent discount - something that also applies to students, carers, people with health conditions and children.
Those on benefits meanwhile could be eligible for discounts of up to 100 percent, no matter if they own or rent, are employed or unemployed.
Reductions depend on factors such as where you live, your income, the number of children you have and your residency status, but it comes on top of any other benefits you may already be receiving - and in some cases it can be backdated.
A 25 percent discount also applies if you or someone you live with has been certified as living with a 'severe mental impairment'. If you live alone with such a condition you're entitled to an 100 percent discount and claims can be backdated.
Those affected financially due to the coronavirus pandemic, either due to being furloughed or having lost their income, are also entitled to help, with many councils offering payment holidays or other reductions based on case-by-case circumstances.
It's also possible to receive a discount if you've altered your home for a disabled resident - or you could get refunded the cost of the alterations made.
Finally, it's worth pointing out that we pay our council tax a month ahead, so if you move house your final month's tax will be kept by the council until you ask for it back.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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