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Are You Paying Too Much Council Tax? How To Check And Claim A Refund!

PPI claims management firms have found a new money making spinner through identifying homes which are in the wrong council tax band and offering to make a claim on their behalf. These firms identify potential clients by looking to see if any homes on the same street pay more than their neighbors do. They then cold call the identified properties and offer to make a claim for a full refund for all the years of over-payment, as well as get them a reduction on future council tax bills. This service is usually around 30% of any money claimed.

One lady was recently contacted by one of these claims management firms and discovered that she and her neighbor were both in a higher tax band than the other properties on their street and could qualify for a full refund. She decided to hire the claims firm and as a result got an £ 800 refund! She paid the firm £ 300 as payment for processing her claim and now pays £ 10 less council tax each month. Her neighbor however decided to investigate how she could claim the money herself and discovered the process was in fact not too complicated. She also managed to get a full refund but retained 100% of the money she claimed!

How does it all work?

Every home in the United Kingdom is assigned to a specific valuation band, known as council tax which is managed by the Valuation Office Agency. The cheapest bands are assigned an 'A' grading rising incrementally with the most expensive homes being assigned to the 'I' band.

For homes based in Scotland and England the valuation band is designated by what the property was worth in 1991, not what the property is valued in today's market. However if you reside in Wales your tax band is assigned using the market value price of 2003.

So, if you suspect you may be in the wrong tax band and as a result are paying too much council tax, simply see what your neighbors are paying. If you find there is a difference in price but a similarity in property then it could well be you are in for a refund.

Visit 'voa.gov.uk' to see what band your neighbors have been assigned, if indeed there is a difference contact an agent at the Valuation Office Agency and ask them to investigate your claim. You will have to fill in paperwork, but you are capable of doing this yourself, you do not need a claims management company, meaning you get to keep 100% not just 70%.

You will usually have to wait up to 30 days for your claim to be investigated, but if the Valuation Office Agency agrees that an error has been made then your band will be changed. The service is free, not only could you get a nice lump sum but you'll also save on your future council tax bills.

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