The government has ruled out a revaluation of council tax bands in England for the next five years. It has also announced an independent audit of data held by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
Communities and Local Government Minister Eric Pickles said: ‘We are today confirming that there will be no council tax revaluation which could have pushed up taxes on people’s homes.’
No change to council tax bands
These were due to be reassessed in England 2007, to take account of rising property prices and extensive home improvements, but revaluation plans were abandoned in 2005 following widespread disquiet over property revaluation in Wales. This resulted in a third of properties in Wales moving up by one tax band or more when they were reassessed using 2003 valuations.
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) continues to collect data on changing property values but this has not been acted on in England. Confirming a continuing freeze, Mr Pickles said that shelving revaluation would save the taxpayer £180m in administration costs and prevent a tax hike of £320 for families whose home would have moved up into a higher band.
The Valuation Office Agency has collected data on property values since 1910 and is an agency of HMRC. Announcing an independent data protection audit of the agency’s council tax database, Mr Pickles said: ‘The new Government will protect the privacy of law-abiding citizens and halt state inspectors from unnecessary intrusion. We are standing up for people who have pride in their home, and calling time on the surveillance state.’
Although there will be no wholesale revaluation of properties, it is possible to appeal against a council tax assessment if you believe your property has been put in the wrong band. The Valuation Office Agency considers such appeals and has published a list of suitable grounds for revaluation. These include partial demolition or conversion into flats. It is also possible to claim a reduction of council tax in certain circumstances, if your house has been adapted for disabled facilities, for example.
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