Published On: Wed, Jan 17th, 2024

Martin Lewis shares how to make ‘big savings’ on council tax bands as fan gets £7k refund | Personal Finance | Finance


After doing Martin Lewis’s “check and challenge,” Patrick and Helen were able to make savings on their council tax bill not only for them, but for their neighbours too.

In 1991, council tax bands were decided by Second Gear evaluations – people would drive by and decide the band by guessing how many rooms were in each house.

This was supposed to be a short-term decision, however, bands have not been changed since then in England and Scotland hence why so many people may be in the wrong band.

During the Martin Lewis Money Show tonight, Patrick and Helen explained they had received a refund from the council after discovering they were in the wrong council tax band.

After following the money-saving expert’s advice, the pair did the checks he suggested and realised that they were in a higher band than many people on their street.

They successfully got through the steps and they received a rebate for £1,055 after being in the wrong tax band. They were in band E before, but now they are in band D.

The council also wrote to their neighbours to tell them they had also dropped their council tax bills. One neighbour was delighted after receiving a letter that his council tax refund was worth over £7,000.

Another neighbour, Moira, also received a letter from the council which shocked her.

She said: “It was just a wad of council tax bills and I went outside to check with the neighbours if they had the same and they did.

“The council said they would physically give us £2,830.10 refund and that we don’t have to pay for this year. The council tax we don’t have to pay for this year was another £1,300. It’s just lovely we were all in the same position.

“Thank you, Patrick, for doing the checks, and the council for including us all in it.”

Mr Lewis explained how to check and challenge.

The first check is the neighbour check.

Britons should compare their property with those of their neighbours who live in a similar property, and find out if they are in a lower band.

This can be done online through the Valuation Office Agency website for a property in England and Wales, or through the Scottish Assessors Association website for a home in Scotland.

Once a person has established a similar property nearby is in a lower band, they can proceed to the second step.

The second check is the valuation check.

Britons need to check how much their house was worth in 1991 as this determined what band their house was in.

This can be calculated by finding out the current value of the property and using a calculator to find out when it would have been when the system was put in place.

There are several tools available online to do this. It’s very important to do this to be sure the person’s property should be put into a lower band.

Otherwise, if a person challenges their council tax band, they may stay in the same band while their neighbours are moved up and pay more.

Mr Lewis said: “My big warning: only do this if you pass both checks. The fact that you are in a higher band because of all your neighbours may be because they are in too low of a band.

“So if the valuation check is not completed, you may not get your band lowered, but everyone will get their band increased which won’t make you popular. But this is really important to do.”

The Martin Lewis Money Show airs Tuesdays at 8pm on ITV One.



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