Householders face the largest council tax rise for ten years, with bills in England expected to jump by an average of £60 according to calculations by The Chartered Insititute of Pubic Finance and Accountancy. The bill on an average band D-equivalent property is set to increase by 4 per cent to £1,590.53. Here's how to keep a roof on council tax:
1. Check and challenge
You could be paying £100s extra every year just because you’re in the wrong council tax band. Thankfully you can check what tax band your neighbours’ properties are in and get your council to change your bill if you're paying too much. Plus, if you find you’ve been paying too much for several years you can claim your overpayments back too! To find out what band your neighbour is in, simply enter your postcode on the Council Tax Valuation List website.
A note of caution though; it is also possible that your band is too low, meaning that challenging your band could result in it being adjusted up a band or two.
2. Pay on credit card?
Don’t! Many councils will charge you extra for credit card payments, usually around £30 for a year’s council tax bill, so switching to direct debit could help you save a bundle.
3. Qualify for a discount?
If you are a full-time student or live in a property adapted to support a disability, you could pay less council tax, or escape it altogether! Households where everyone is a student enrolled on a course that lasts a least one year and involving 21 hours or more study per week don’t have to pay any council tax at all! Check how much you could save by visiting Gov.uk.
4. Living alone?
Pay less! You can save 25% on your council tax bill if you live by yourself or only with people who are exempt from council tax, like children or students. It’s simple to sort out, just contact your local council to apply for the discount.
5. Struggling to pay?
If you’re on a low income, or receive certain benefits you may qualify for a reduction or even be exempt from paying altogether. The discount you can get will depend on where you live, as each council runs its own scheme, but it is usually based on your personal and household income, who lives with you, if you are already receiving any benefits and your residency status. You can use the calculator on Gov.uk to find out exactly what reduction you qualify for before contacting your local council to apply for the reduction to your bill.
Thanks to Money.co.uk for sharing these cost cutters.