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Council Tax Band Downgrade now a bill for £951.99


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Hi all,

 

I have used this forum many times in the past and found it very useful but this is my first time posting. I have searched the Internet high and low for any information on my issue but have had no luck so here goes.

 

Background info in brief. First of all I'm a council tenant and receive council tax benefit. Council Tax Band downgraded from E to D but the council now claim I owe them £951.99, this is due to an over payment in council tax benefit dating back to April 1993.

 

On the 26-03-12 I received a letter from the Valuation Office informing me that my council tax band was changing from E to D. I thought to myself "great my council tax bill would be going down" and filed the letter away and thought nothing more of it.

 

Then on the 31-08-12 I received a revised and reduced council tax bill of £256.06 which I continued to pay off on a monthly basis and this is now paid up for the year. But then on the 28-01-13 I received another council tax bill with a balance of £951.99. After a month of trying to figure out how they had come to such a large figure I got on the phone to council tax office and asked them to explain the latest bill they had sent me. The explanation given to me over the phone was the outstanding amount was due to my properties council tax band being downgraded from E to D and that I had been overpaid council tax benefit dating back as far as 1993. I explained that this couldn't be correct as my council tax band had only been downgraded in March 2012. I was then told to write into the office to dispute this. I have written in (1st Class Recorded) but have so far received no communication back.

 

I then got onto the valuation office and asked them to explain why my band had been downgraded as I had not made any request to them myself and queried the effective date of the change. I was told that it was to bring my property in line with all the others on my street and that the effective date was automatically backdated to 1993 as this is when council first started. I explained that their actions had now caused me to end up with a large council tax bill but they weren't interested and I decided I wasn't going to get anywhere with them.

 

My questions are...

 

1. Can the council backdate this benefit overpayment to 1993 or is there a time limit?

 

2. Is there anyway I can dispute the valuation office's banding effective date and have it amended to March 2012?

 

I have currently do not have any outstanding balance on my council tax bill apart from this £951.99 which I have written to the council about and put into dispute. I can also prove back to 2008 that my property was in band E with copies of old bills.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Hi, you may be able to challenge the effective date of the band change but for an official appeal to the 'Valuation Tribunal' i think you have to lodge it within six month. Generally if the band has changed from E to D because of an error in originally valuing the property the valuation office has to go back and change the band from the date of the error.

 

With regards to the benefit its calculated in proportion to your income and the band of the property, so if the ban changes the benefit would normally change also. I know that normally the will only look to backdate benefits for six months if its in the favour of the customer but i think they can go back as far as they want if theres an overpayment. But there is an issue of proportionality here and you should consider making a formal complaint and also asking for a 'discretionary discount'. The Interpretation Act does set a six year limit on enforcement, but as the band has only recently changed the clock will only start from now.

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when your Council Tax was rebanded from E to D, did you receive any CT refund?

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