What is a Council Tax Rebate?

Council tax is an important revenue stream for local councils to help fund many of the essential public services we all use.

The tax band your property falls into is the main factor in working out how much council tax you will pay. It has come to light that the council tax banding system is not always right because of inaccurate valuations.

If your property is not valued accurately it could be given a too high a band which means you will pay more council tax than you should.

Our council tax rebate guide is aimed at residents of England and Scotland only. Due to a different revaluation date it is less likely to have overpaid council tax in Wales and Northern Ireland does not use the same council tax system.

Why have people paid too much council tax?

Council tax bands are managed by the VOA (valuation office agency) and based on property valuations from April 1991. The council tax valuation system is not always perfect which has resulted in some properties being under or over valued.

If your property has been over valued it means too high a council tax band will be used causing an overpayment of council tax.

The overvaluation of some properties for council tax is the unfortunate result of an old system trying to perform a very large job in valuing all non commercial properties in Great Britain.

The good news is that something can be done about it if your property has been banded wrongly.

Apply for a council tax rebate

The VOA recognise that sometimes a council tax band may be wrong and allow you to appeal so things can be corrected for you and any council tax overpayment refunded.

A council tax rebate for an incorrectly banded property applies to both homeowners and tenants who pay rent.

To make a claim you need to follow a process called challenge your council tax band. You need to challenge your council tax band in England with the VOA and in Scotland with the Scottish Assessors Association.

Both the VOA and Scottish assessors association ask you to follow certain steps which includes providing evidence to your valuation appeal.

You can make your council tax band appeal online or by post if preferred.

Challenge your council tax band tips

Before challenging your council tax band you can use the following ideas to help value your properties band and assess your eligibility to a council tax rebate.

Use the VOA check your council tax band online tool

The VOA provide a handy online tool to help you out. You can find it here and you start with entering your postcode and then you select your address.

Check what council tax band your neighbours have

The band of every property should be found on the VOA for England and Wales or SSA website for Scotland.

You can compare the council tax band your property has with your neighbours to see if there is a difference. This check is only sensible if you are comparing similar properties in size and value.

If you find that your council tax band is higher than you neighbours this may indicate that your council tax band is too high.

It’s always recommended to remember that your council tax band might not be high enough and your neighbour’s band could be too low.

Value your property

Valuing what your property would have been worth back in 1991 is helpful because you can compare it to the council tax bands from that time.

If you have owned your house since 1991 finding out what the property value was (what you bought it for) should be quite easy from your records.

Once you have that information, you can use it to estimate what your property would’ve been worth back in 1991, and the band it should have been given.

You can use the table below for reference of the council tax bands in England dated 1 April 1991.

Council Tax bands in England based on property values dated 1 April 1991

Tax Band Value at 1 April 1991
A up to £40,000
B £40,001 to £52,000
C £52,001 to £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 £320,000 or more

If you bought your house after April 1991 you can use a property site like Zoopla to get data on your houses past sales price(s) which can help you work out a rough property value back in April 1991.

Can I claim a council tax rebate for anything else?

Overpaying council tax happens when your property is put in too high a band and some other circumstances can mean you get a reduced council tax rate or don’t have to pay any.

Paying council tax is a legal requirement from the age of 18 however you can receive a council tax discount or exemption.

Council tax discount

For example if you a single person you could be entitled to the single persons discount of 25%.

Other reasons for a discount include:

You need to apply for a council tax discount with your local authority and they will let you know what discount or exemption you are entitled to.

Council tax energy rebate

Local authorities have issued council tax rebates of £150 to help cover the cost of energy prices increases. Not everyone is eligible for the £150 council tax rebate and if you need more support you can contact the energy bills support scheme.


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