4 min Read
31 Aug 2011

Written by Damien

Damien is one of the most widely quoted money and investment experts in the national press and has made numerous radio & TV appearances. He created MoneytotheMasses.com while working in the City when he became disillusioned with the way the public were left to fend for themselves because they could not afford financial advice.

More about Damien

How to cut your Council Tax bill – Money tip #141

little toy house When managing their finances people always overlook their Council Tax bill as they assume there's nothing they can do to save money. However, there are ways, other than moving house, in which you can potentially reduce your Council Tax bill and save thousands of pounds.

Below is a list of ways in which you might be able to cut your Council Tax bill:

1 - Check you are in the right valuation band – your Council Tax bill is based on the value of your property. But when I say 'value' it is the value that your local council have assessed your property to be worth. When Council Tax was introduced in the early 90's properties were placed in 'valuation bands' which were established from nothing more than fleeting external glances of properties. Many properties have never been revalued subsequently. So you might not only be in the wrong valuation band and paying too much tax but you could even be paying more than your neighbours. Fortunately it is possible to challenge your band and potentially save thousands of pounds if you think your band is wrong. But be warned, get your assessment wrong and you could equally be in too low a band in which case an appeal might get your band revalued upwards, as well as those of your neighbours potentially.

2 - Get a discount – certain groups of people (such as those listed below) don't pay Council Tax. So if you live with anyone falling into any of these groups you can claim a discount as the full Council Tax bill is based on at least two adults (who are not part of any exempt groups) living at your address. So if only one adult lives in your home, ignoring those exempt people, your Council Tax bill will be reduced by 25 per cent. Exempt people include (source Directgov.co.uk):

  • children under 18
  • people on apprentice schemes
  • 18 and 19-year-olds who are in full-time education
  • full-time college and university students. For houses that contain full-time students only, the bill will be reduced by 100 per cent.
  • young people under 25 who receive funding from the Skills Funding Agency or Young People’s Learning Agency
  • student nurses
  • foreign language assistants registered with the British Council
  • people who have a severe mental disability
  • live-in carers who look after someone who isn't their partner, spouse or child (up to 18 years)
  • diplomats

3 - Get a Second Home discount – if you have a second property which you rent out then you may be entitled to a discount of between 10-50%. Similarly if you have a second property that has been empty and unfurnished for longer than six months you may get an empty homes discount of up to 50 per cent. In both instances contact your local council to check your eligibility and claim.

4 - Apply for Council Tax Benefit – people on low income can receive help paying Council Tax bill via Council Tax Benefit. However the government are planning on restricting the amount of money local authorities can hand out.

Image: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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