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Valuation, banding and appeals
Each dwelling is placed on a valuation list in one of eight valuation bands, ranging from A to H. The list will show only the band to which your home has been allocated, not its actual value. If you would like to find out the Council Tax banding of a specific property in England and Wales you may do so by clicking here.
Valuations are carried out by the listing officer at the Valuation Office Agency (part of the Inland Revenue), not your local council. Any dispute regarding your Council Tax banding must therefore be discussed with the Valuation Office Agency. The basis of valuation is the "capital value" of each dwelling. Valuation lists can only be compiled fairly by assessing the values of dwellings on one common date. 1 April 1991 is the date which was chosen for this exercise.
Capital values are arrived at by estimating the amount each dwelling might have been sold for on the open market, subject to certain assumptions, if it had been sold on 1 April 1991 (taking account of any significant change to the property between then and 1 April 1993, such as an extension). The object is to determine the relative values of properties within a particular area as at a particular date. Changes in value since then do not normally count (but see section 'Can valuations change at all?' below).
The range of values, based on 1991 prices, which each band covers, for England, is as follows:
Within a local area, the council tax bill for each of the different bands will differ according to proportions laid down by law. The proportions are:
So, for example, if the council tax for a dwelling in band A is £120, the council tax for one in band D will be one and a half times that amount (6:9) - £180 - for one in band H three times that amount (6:18) - £360 pounds - and for a dwelling in band F, it will be £260 (6:13).
What counts as a dwelling?
Houses, flats, bungalows and maisonettes all count as dwellings provided that they are at least partly used for domestic purposes. And if part of the property - for example, an annex - is entirely separate and self-contained, that, too, will count as a separate dwelling in its own right. Mobile homes and houseboats also count as dwellings if they are someone’s main home. Certain other properties, however, such as houses occupied by more than one household who share cooking and washing facilities (for example, groups of bed-sits or some hostels) will generally only be treated as one dwelling.
What are the assumptions used in the valuation?
In order to ensure that all valuations are carried out fairly and on the same basis, a number of assumptions must be made. The assumptions are set out by law, and include the following:
- the sale was with vacant possession;
- houses were sold freehold;
- flats were sold on 99-year leases;
- the dwelling was in reasonable repair;
- the size, layout and character of the dwelling and the physical state of the locality are the same
- as they were on 1 April 1993, or, if a later alteration is being made to the list, generally as they
- were on the day the alteration comes into effect.
What happens where house prices have risen or fallen since 1 April 1991?
Because council tax valuations are always based on the price a property would have fetched if it had been sold on 1 April 1991, any increase or reduction in a dwelling’s value which results from general changes in the housing market will not affect its valuation.
Such general movements in house prices will not, therefore, be a reason for changing your council tax band.
The banding of a dwelling establishes its value relative to other dwellings in a local area. Changes in the housing market will mean that house prices will vary over time, both upwards and downwards. Generally speaking, though, such changes will occur in the value of all properties in the area and will not affect the relative values which the bandings represent.
Can valuations change at all?
Individual dwellings may be re-banded after the valuation list is compiled, for instance (see also section 8):
- If your home decreases in value because part of it is demolished, because the physical state of the local area changes or because alterations have been carried out to make it suitable for use by a person with a physical disability;
- If you start or stop using part of your dwelling to carry out a business, or the balance between business and domestic use changes;
- If your home increases in value because you have carried out improvements to it, such as building an extension, but the banding will not be looked at until such time as it (or any part of it) is sold. Any change in the banding will take effect only from the date of the sale.
- If it is necessary to alter the banding, your home will be assessed on the amount it would have been expected to sell for on 1 April 1991. If the change in value is only slight, it may not be enough to move your home from one band to another. If you disagree with the new band, you may appeal (see section 'Can I appeal? below).
- It is also possible that the listing officer may allocate your home to a different valuation band if he or she believes that a mistake was made when the current banding was first entered in the list. Again, if this happens, you have the right to appeal against the alteration.
Can I appeal?
Yes, in the circumstances described below. You should appeal to the listing officer for your area (not to your council), who will normally be based at the local office of the Valuation Office Agency. An appeal takes the form of a proposal to have your dwelling placed in a different valuation band and must be made in writing.
Normally, you can appeal only if you are:
- the person liable to pay the council tax;
- the person who would be liable if the dwelling were not exempt;
- the owner of the dwelling.
(It is possible to be liable if you are not the owner of a dwelling, for example if you are a tenant and your landlord lives elsewhere.) Your council will also have the right to appeal.
Making an appeal does not allow you to withhold payment of the council tax owing in the meantime, and you should continue to pay your bill while your appeal is outstanding.
There is no appeal against the amounts of council tax set by your council each year.
What are the grounds for appeal?
You can make an appeal against the banding of your home if you become the new taxpayer for the property. Otherwise, the grounds for appeal about the banding are restricted to the following cases:
- where you believe that the banding should be changed because there has been a material increase or material reduction in the dwelling’s value (these terms are explained below);
- where you start or stop using part of your dwelling to carry out a business, or the balance between domestic and business use changes;
- where, following either of the above, or for any other reason, the listing officer has altered a list without a proposal having been made by a taxpayer.
A material increase in value may result from building, engineering or other work carried out on the dwelling. In these cases revaluation does not take place until after a sale - so the person appealing would normally be the new owner or resident.
A material reduction in value may result from the demolition of any part of the dwelling, any change in the physical state of the local area or an adaption to make the dwelling suitable for use by someone with a physical disability. In these cases revaluation should take place as soon as possible.
Rebanding will not take place if the increase or reduction in value is relatively small and not enough to move the dwelling to another band.
You can also appeal if you believe that your home should not be shown on the valuation list, for example if you think it is not in itself separate, self-contained accommodation. Equally, you can appeal if you think that it should be shown in the list, if for example it used to be used for business purposes which have now ceased.
How do I appeal?
You can find out more about when you can challenge your band and what you need to do at gov.uk/challenge-council-tax-band. If you challenge your band, you must continue to pay Council Tax at your current band until your appeal is decided.
You can contact the VOA at gov.uk/contact-voa. If you are unable to use the online service you can also contact the VOA on 03000 501 501
What is a valuation tribunal?
Valuation tribunals are judicial bodies, whose members are experienced in hearing council tax appeals. They are wholly independent of the local council and the listing officer.
You will be notified by the listing officer when your appeal is referred to a valuation tribunal. In due course the tribunal will contact you to make arrangements for a hearing and will send you a booklet explaining the tribunal’s procedures in more detail. Where possible, the hearing will be held locally. A tribunal hearing will not cost you anything unless you choose to employ a solicitor or other person to present your case.
Alternatively, if you and the other parties agree, you can have your case dealt with by an exchange of written representations, which the tribunal will consider without you having to attend a hearing. You should speak to the clerk of the tribunal if you are thinking of following this procedure.
Normally, the valuation tribunal’s decision will be final. However, any party who appeared at the hearing may appeal to the High Court against the decision or any order which arises from it, but only on a point of law.
If the tribunal upholds your appeal, the listing officer will be required to alter the valuation list. Your council will then revise your council tax bill and adjust your payments if necessary.
You must continue to pay your council tax bill while your appeal is outstanding.
You can appeal against a decision made about your Council Tax liability if you:
- disagree that you are the person liable to pay Council Tax
- think your property should be exempt from Council Tax
- consider you are entitled to a disabled person's reduction
- think you should be entitled to a discount
- you are not getting the right amount of Local Council Tax Support
If you disagree with a decision made by us, you should contact us to discuss it first.
You will need to provide your name and address, Council Tax reference number and the reason(s) for the appeal. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal, or you have not received a response to the appeal within two months of making it, you can then appeal to the Valuation Tribunal as long as no more than four months have passed since your original dispute.
If you have an appeal pending, you must continue to pay the current Council Tax banding amount. If your appeal is successful, you can ask us to refund any overpaid Council Tax.
You can make an appeal here Appeal a Council Tax bill or fine
We may issue a Completion Notice if we consider that the work on a new or converted building is close to completion or is expected to be completed within three months of the date of the notice.
If you disagree with a Completion Notice, you must appeal to the Council to discuss an alternative completion date or, if this cannot be agreed, you can apply to the Valuation Tribunal within four weeks of a notice being sent.