Martin Lewis warns you could be owed £1000s in overpaid council tax…but you better act quick!

Check and challenge it
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  • Are you paying too much council tax? According to Martin Lewis’ council tax advice you could be.

    Related: Martin Lewis top tip for saving money on the dreaded winter heating bill

    On This Morning,  Martin Lewis urged households to check their bills to see if they are shelling out too much on their council tax .

    Martin Lewis council tax warning

    The money-saving guru warned that up to 400,000 homes in England and Scotland could be in the wrong council tax band. If you are one of these households you could be missing out on saving thousands of pounds a year.

    Martin Lewis council tax

    Image credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive/PA Images

    The Money Saving Expert has been urging households to check their council tax bills for over a decade. However, with the announcement by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government that it will be giving local councils the power to put up council tax by an average of  4 per cent, now is the perfect time to check.

    ‘130 councils in England, Wales and Scotland are also likely to go up to. Not all the councils are going up by the same amount,’ he explained. ‘4% is the average which is £70 on a banded property per year.’

    ‘It happened to Robbie, it happened to Zayn, and up to 400,000 other people could be in the wrong band too,’ joked Martin Lewis.

    He went on to explain that if this is the case you could be owed £100s or even £1,000 as many have overpaid for a whopping 27 years going back to 1993, because of the way homes were banded on perceived values in 1991.

    ‘We’d had the poll tax riots and they were bringing in the council tax,’ he explained. ‘In 1991 they did a stop gap evaluation just to get it started and it worked like this: you had someone in the car, and someone sitting next to them. They called it second gear valuation.’

    Martin lewis council tax 2

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    ‘Driving in second gear, the person sitting next to them would have a list of how many bedrooms, and would go band c, band d. That was done in 1991,’ says the money guru. ‘It was supposed to be the first start, and then they’d do it properly later.  They’ve never done it properly, we still rely on those 1991 second gear evaluations.

    You can check whether you are due a rebate on your council tax bill by comparing your council tax band with nearby homes. You can do this by checking the Valuation Office Agency database in England, or asking a neighbour with a similar house directly.

    Martin Lewis council tax

    Image credit: Neale Smith

    The next step is estimating your home’s worth in 1991 which is when the council tax brackets were defined. If both of these indicate that you are in too high a council tax band Martin Lewis says challenge it!

    Just be sure to do your research first. While you could be owed money. If you’re found to be in too low a band you could get stuck paying more.

    Related: Why Martin Lewis is sceptical about new rules that promise to free 1,000s of mortgage prisoners

    If you think you could be due money back, just to sure to double check first.

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