The reader, known only as Shaun, says he received a refund of £ 6,125 and does not have to pay council tax until next year after correcting the error, which saved him an additional £ 1,500.
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A Martin Lewis fan has explained how he saved £ 7,625 in municipal taxes after spending 28 years in the wrong group.
The reader, known only as Shaun, says he received a refund of £ 6,125 after successfully challenging his municipal tax bracket following advice he read on the MoneySavingExpert website.
Plus, he also doesn’t have to pay council tax until next year after correcting the mistake, saving him an additional £ 1,500.
MoneySavingExpert estimates that 400,000 households in England and Scotland could be in the wrong municipal tax bracket, which means you could be paying too much as well.
Challenging your council tax first requires a bit of research and there are some risks involved – for example, you might end up finding you’re in too low a bracket and end up paying more.
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We explain what you need to know about challenging your housing tax bracket below.
Shaun said, “I found out that we had been in the wrong group for 28 years.
“I took Martin’s advice and two months later got a refund of £ 6,125 and no council tax payable until next year – saving another £ 1,500 [effectively £7,625 back].
“Plus we’ll be better off £ 350 / year. Thank you, we are very grateful.
How to contest your housing tax?
Before you consider contesting your council tax, you should first do your research.
If it turns out that you are on too low a council tax bracket, you will start paying a higher amount if your challenge does not go as planned.
Your neighbors will also be affected if it turns out that your entire street has been underpaid.
The first step in checking if you have a chance of success is to see which council tax bracket your neighbors fall into.
You can check out council bands online for free, so you don’t have to ask your neighbors – just be sure to try and compare homes of similar size and value.
Use the GOV.uk website to do this for homes in England, or the Scottish Appraisers Association for properties in Scotland.
This is only a rough guide so you have to warn again that your whole street may be in the wrong strip.
Before launching a challenge, you should also determine the value of your property in 1991, as it was around this time that the council tax was introduced by the government.
MoneySavingExpert has a free calculator to help you do that, as well as a table on which group you should have been put.
Once these checks are done, if you think you have a good deal in your hands, you can contact the Agency Assessment Office (VOA) in England and Wales.
For the house in Scotland you will need to contact the Scottish Appraisers Association (SAA) to submit your challenge.
If you are successful, the assessment office will contact you and the group will be changed – and you will be refunded.
You can appeal to an independent assessment tribunal if you are not satisfied with the decision.
How to reduce your council tax bill
The type of housing tax reductions or allowances to which you may be entitled depends on your situation.
The help available also varies by local authority, so it is best to contact your municipality to see what you might be able to claim.
For example, if you apply for benefits – such as universal credit or pension credit – you may be entitled to a reduction of up to 100% on your municipal tax bill.
Other situations in which you could get money include if you live alone or with someone who is not eligible for the payment of council tax.
You will usually get 25% off in these scenarios.
You could get 50% off your municipal tax bill if everyone is “ignored” from that bill.
And the maximum 100% discount could apply to someone with a severe mental disability living alone, or if you live in a student-only household.
See more tips on how to lower your municipal tax bills here.