COUNCIL chiefs have raised concerns about companies urging residents to pay out hundreds of pounds to challenge their Council Tax banding when it can be done online for free.
It comes after Wychavon District Council recently received calls from residents who have been contacted by companies claiming their property is in the wrong Council Tax band. The companies then claim they can investigate this for them for an up front fee of £150.
When challenged by one resident who said she could do this herself, she was incorrectly told if she did she would have to pay £400 to £600 to do so.
As a result, council chiefs are now reminding residents they do not need to pay anything if they believe their property is in the wrong Council Tax band. Instead a check can be made online for free and in minutes or by writing to the Valuation Office Agency which is responsible for allocating Council Tax bands.
All properties in England are given a Council Tax band, which determines how much they pay, based on the price of the property in 1991. However, it is possible some properties were put into the wrong bands due to historic errors made in valuing homes by the Government when Council Tax was introduced.
Vic Allison, Deputy Managing Director for Wychavon which hosts the South Worcestershire Revenues and Benefits Service for all three councils, said: “This company is acting in an unscrupulous way by trying to charge people to pay for a simple check residents can do themselves online for free.
“We want people to be aware of this so they don’t unnecessarily part with their hard earned money.”
Anyone who believes they may be in the wrong Council Tax band should visit www.gov.uk/council-tax-appeals.