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How to reduce your council tax in 2021

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

From April, people are facing a potential increase in their council tax bill. That's why you should check you're paying what you should be.

Those living in London will face a 6% increase and for all other areas, it'll be 5%.

How do I check my council tax band?

Your council tax band determines how much council tax you pay. If you’re unsure of what band your home's in, you can check on the government’s website.

When you enter your postcode, you’ll be able to see your address alongside your council tax band. You’ll also be able to see your local authority reference number.

Please note that council tax bands are based on values from the 1st of April 1991.

A – (up to £40,000)

B – (£40,001 to £52,000)

C – (£52,001 t0 68,000)

D – (£68,001 to £88,000)

E – (£88,001 to £120,000)

F – (£120,001 to £160,000)

G – (£160,001 to £320,000)

H – (more than £320,000)

Council tax differs slightly in Wales. You can find further information here.

You can find all the information you need on this page, including a link to your local authority's website.

How do I change my council tax band?

If you've been paying council tax on your property for less than six months, you’ll be able to challenge your council tax band without any issues.

However, if you've been paying council tax on your property for more than six months, you'll only be able to challenge your band under specific circumstances, such as:

  • your local area is different now than when you moved in - such as if a new supermarket was built
  • you’re using your property for a different purpose than when you moved in - such as for a business
  • your property has physically changed - for example, it's merged with another property, divided into multiple properties, or it's been demolished
  • you have proof you're in the wrong council tax band.

The first step you need to take when challenging your council tax band is to contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), as they may be able to change your band without you challenging it.

If you disagree with the VOA’s outcome, proceed to challenge your council tax band by following the steps outlined on the government’s website.

Can I reclaim money if I am in the wrong band?  

If you’ve been in the wrong council tax band, you might be entitled to money back. However, this would only happen if you were successful in challenging your band. For the best chances of success, there are a couple of things to consider first.   

Step 1: Compare your property band with your neighbours  

Do some digging and find out whether you’re in the same band as your neighbours.

If your house is in England, you'll be able to find this information via the Valuation Office Agency. If it's in Scotland, you can find it via the Scottish Assessors Association website.

Step 2: Estimate what the value of your property was in 1991

To estimate the value of your property in 1991, you can check them on Rightmove or Zoopla. You can use their house prices tool to check the previous sold prices of properties since 2000.

Using this information, you’ll be able to work backwards to determine how much your property was worth in 1991. You can use the Money Saving Expert's calculator to help you with your estimate.

Once you've got your estimate, you can check it against the council tax band table above to figure out if you're in the correct band.

Can I get a discount?  

In some circumstances, you might be able to apply for a discount to cut the costs of your council tax bill. Whether you're entitled will depend on multiple factors such as:

  • where you live
  • your household income
  • who you live with, or if you live alone.

If you’re on benefits or have a low income, your bill could be reduced up to 100%. To apply for a council tax discount, visit here

Read on here for ways to save for a house deposit quickly.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

couple looking at bills couple looking at bills