Martin Lewis fans explain how they got £6,600 council tax refund – check if you can get one too
TWO Martin Lewis fans have explained how they got nearly £6,600 back in council tax refunds – here's how to check if you can get one too.
Tony and Vivien said they were inspired to challenge their council tax band after watching Martin on TV.
The couple, who featured in this week's MoneySavingExpert newsletter, got a total of £6,585 back after being placed on the wrong council tax band and paying more than they were supposed to.
Council tax bands are based on how much your property was worth on April 1, 1991 for England and Scotland, and April 1, 2003 for Wales.
These bands determine how much you’ll pay in tax.
But as many as 400,000 homes are potentially in the wrong council tax band, according to Martin.
It means that thousands of Brits could be due a refund like Tony and Vivien – but the couple said getting their cash back wasn't easy.
They said it took "dogged determination to keep insisting on our rightful appeal", as they couldn't provide the council with the required evidence to show they were paying more than they should.
They said: "It was well worth it to get £6,585 back."
Tony and Vivien aren't the only Brits to have challenged their council tax payments.
The Sun revealed that retired postman Eddie Curtis received £3,500 in overpayments for his daughter and her elderly neighbour by challenging their tax bands.
While another Martin Lewis fan said he got £7,625 back in council tax refunds.
It comes as Brits could face the biggest council tax hike in two decades next year to fund spiralling social care costs.
A leak from the Local Government Association warned the government is thinking of raising this tax by 4% every year until 2025.
How can I check my council tax band?
Checking your council tax band will allow you to see if you're overpaying on council tax – and if you could be due a refund.
But a word of warning – challenging your council tax isn't guaranteed to get you money back and lower your bills.
It could actually mean you , and your neighbours end up paying more in some cases – we explain why.
The first step is to check what council tax band your neighbours are on, based on houses that are similar in size and value.
This information is available online and is free to check, so you don't need to ask your neighbours in person.
Use the Gov.uk website to do this for houses in England, or the Scottish Assessors Association for properties in Scotland.
If you find you're on a higher council tax band compared to your neighbours, you may be able to successfully make a challenge.
If you want to go ahead with a challenge, you can contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in England and Wales or the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA) in Scotland.
You must provide evidence to back up your claim, which can be the addresses of similar properties that are in a lower council tax band to yours.
If the valuation office agrees that your property is in the wrong band, it will contact you and the band will be changed.
If you're moved to a lower band, you'll get a refund of council tax going back to the date you moved into the property.
But if you're moved to a higher band, you'll start paying an increased rate of council tax straight away.
If it disagrees that you're in the wrong band, nothing will change.
You can appeal to an independent valuation tribunal – there are details on how to do this on the VOA and SAA websites.
How else can I lower my council tax bill?
You can apply for a council tax reduction to lower your council tax bill – but you must be eligible to apply.
You can get 25% off if you live on your own, or if there is one adult and one student living in your home, or one adult and one person who is classed as severely mentally impaired.
You can get 50% off if you live with “disregarded people” – which means someone who does not have to pay council tax.
A live-in carer and someone who is severely mentally impaired fall under this category.
You can check out Citizens Advice for a full list on who qualifies.
If you live in an all-student household, or if you have a severe mental impairment and live alone or with a student, you can get 100% off your council tax.
A full reduction is also possible in households where someone under 18 is living with someone who is severely mentally impaired.
If you receive certain benefits, you could be eligible for a 100% discount on your council tax bill, although you should check in with your council to see what help they can offer.
If you have a second or a holiday home, you could also get 50% off your council tax bill.
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