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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Council Tax: challenging your band

How much Council Tax you have to pay depends on the Council Tax band for your home. Find out how to challenge your band, and about the right of appeal.

Querying your Council Tax band

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is responsible for making sure your home is in the right band.

If you think your band is wrong, you can contact the VOA and explain why you think it is wrong. They will ask you to confirm that the details they hold about your home are correct.

If it appears that your band is wrong, the VOA will look into it. If they agree that it is wrong, they will put it right. The VOA does not charge for this service.

If you don’t accept their decision there is no right of appeal.

Making a formal ‘proposal’ and the right of appeal

Although you can query your band at any time, in limited circumstances you can make a formal challenge (‘proposal’) requiring the VOA to investigate your band. There is no charge for this service.

To find out whether you meet one of the limited circumstances and to submit a challenge, first find your band on the link below, then follow the link ‘Do you think this Council Tax band is wrong?’

Appealing the VOA’s decision

If you have made a formal 'proposal', and disagree with the VOA’s decision, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal within three months of that decision.

The Valuation Tribunal is an independent legal body, which means the VOA and councils have no say in its decisions. It provides a free service and can’t award costs.

If you appeal, you should explain:

  • what decision you're appealing against
  • why you disagree with the VOA’s decision

If the tribunal agrees with you, the VOA will change your band and the council will update your Council Tax bill.

You have to make your appeal in writing. You can use the Valuation Tribunal’s appeal form below and you will need to send a copy of the VOA’s decision with this form.

If it is over three months since the VOA issued its decision, the Tribunal may allow an extension for you to appeal. If the delay was for reasons beyond your control the time limit will usually be extended.

What if the VOA say your formal ‘proposal’ is invalid?

The VOA may decide that you can’t make a valid formal proposal. They will send you an invalidity notice that explains their reasons.

You can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal within four weeks of receiving this notice and you must include a copy of it with your appeal.

If the tribunal agrees with you that your formal proposal is valid, the VOA will reconsider your band. Then, if you don’t agree with the VOA’s decision you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal.

Valuation Tribunal hearings

Once the Valuation Tribunal has received your appeal, it will arrange a hearing. A hearing is a meeting where normally three members of the Valuation Tribunal will listen to information from you and the VOA. They will ask questions so that they can make a decision.

The tribunal aims to hear appeals within five months of receiving them and to give you at least six weeks’ notice.

You must let the Valuation Tribunal know whether or not you’re going to attend the hearing. If you haven’t asked them to hear the case without you and you don’t attend or send a representative, your case will be thrown out.

Making a written submission to a Valuation Tribunal hearing

You can choose for the hearing to be held without you attending, although the VOA will attend. You must write to the tribunal, at least 14 days before the hearing, saying:

  • what the issue is
  • what decision you are looking for from the Valuation Tribunal
  • any supporting evidence you have
  • the details of anyone else your written submission has been sent to
  • the date and your signature

You must let the Valuation Tribunal know whether you’re going to attend the hearing. If you haven’t asked them to hear the case without you there and you don’t attend or send a representative, your case will be struck (thrown) out.

The Valuation Tribunal’s decision

You will usually receive the tribunal’s written decision and a guidance booklet within one month of the hearing.

If you disagree with the tribunal’s decision, you can only appeal through the High Court. To be successful, you would have to show that the tribunal made a mistake in law.

Where to get information

The tribunal can’t give legal advice, but it can explain how the appeal process works. There is more information on its website.

The phone number for the Valuation Tribunal is 0300 123 2035.

You can get free advice about appealing against your Council Tax from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

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