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Council tax appeals

If you think that the council has made a mistake with your council tax bill, this page tells you how you can ask the council to look at the bill again.

My council tax bill is wrong

If you receive a council tax bill that you disagree with, you should first write a letter to the council. The letter should state:

  • which part of the bill you think is wrong, and
  • the reason that you think that part of the bill is wrong.

The council is allowed two months to ask you for more information and to consider your letter. Even though you think the bill is wrong, you must to pay the instalments due, unless you are disputing a penalty that has been added to the bill. Once the council has looked again at the bill, if it is found to be wrong and you have paid too much council tax, this should be refunded to you or taken off your council tax bill. You can download the Council tax appeals sample letter to get you started.

Council tax appeal - taking it further

If after you have written to the council, you are still not happy, you can apply to the Valuation Appeals Committee if:

  • the council refused to look again at your bill
  • the council made changes to the bill, but you still think it is wrong
  • the council did not reply to your letter within the two month time limit.

You can ask to appeal to the Valuation Appeals Committee by writing another letter to the council. Your letter must:

  • state that you wish to appeal to the Valuation Appeals Committee, and
  • include the reason for your appeal, and
  • include the date that you first wrote to the council about your bill.

The council must send your appeal to the Valuation Appeals Committee. You have to request your appeal within four months of sending your first letter to the council, unless the appeal is about a penalty that has been added to your bill, in which case you must request your appeal within two months of writing your first letter.

Reasons for appealing your council tax bill

You can appeal to the Valuation Appeals Committee if:

  • you disagree with the valuation of your property
  • you do not believe that you or someone you live with should be liable to pay council tax
  • the council has not given you a reduction or discount that you think you should be entitled to
  • you think that the calculation of the amount you owe is wrong
  • you have had a penalty charge added to your bill.

You cannot appeal to the Valuation Appeals Committee about a decision about council tax benefit that you think is wrong. There are different appeals procedures for council tax benefit decisions.

Council tax appeal hearing

If you ask for an appeal, you will be asked if you would like to attend a hearing (an oral hearing) or if you would like the Valuation Appeals Committee to make a decision based on the paperwork alone (a paper hearing). Although the idea of attending a hearing may be daunting, you may have a better chance of getting a favourable decision, as you will be given the opportunity to put your case forward.

If you choose to attend a hearing, you will be sent a letter giving you at least 35 days' notice of the date that the hearing will take place. The Valuation Appeals Committee is usually made up of a chairperson and three to six members, who are all unpaid for their work on the committee. The committee is usually assisted by someone who is legally qualified.

The committee will ask you questions about why you think that the council tax bill is wrong and then come to a decision. You might be told the decision on the day, but you should be sent a copy of the decision and the reasons why the committee came to that decision within seven days.

I didn't attend the council tax hearing

If you miss your hearing, your case will be dismissed. If you had a good reason for missing your hearing, you can ask for another hearing to be arranged. You should request another hearing within fourteen days of your case being dismissed, although in exceptional circumstances your request might be considered if you are unable to make your request within the fourteen days' time limit.

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The important points

  • If you are appealing your council tax bill, you must keep paying instalments unless you are disputing a penalty that has been added to the bill.
  • The council are allowed 2 months to look into your appeal and you may be refunded or have your bills reduced.
  • If you're not happy with the council's decision you can apply to the Valuation Appeals Committee by writing again to the council.
  • If you don't attend the Valuation Appeals Committee hearing, your case will be dismissed and you should request another hearing within 14 days.

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