Martin Lewis warning after woman gets £8,500 council tax refund after getting band checked | Personal Finance | Finance

Martin Lewis has urged Britons to check if they are owed thousands of pounds after a woman got her council tax band and was reimbursed £8,500 from her local council.

The founder of Money Saving Expert shared a story in his latest newsletter of Sharon, who successfully challenged her council tax band and was put into a lower band.

She said: “Thanks so much for the advice regarding wrong council tax bands on your show a couple of weeks ago.

“We have had a refund going back to 1993 from our local council of £8,500. We are now a band less (F to E), so also pay £30 less each month – meaning I can afford an extra glass of bubbly. Winning all round. We’d never have known but for you.”

to check if they are also due a discount as there are thought to be hundreds of thousands of people who are overpaying.

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The first step a person will need to undertake is to compare their property with those of their neighbours who live in a similar property, and to find out if they are in a lower band.

An individual will not need to approach their neighbours to do this as 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 person will need to find out the value of their property when the band system was set up.

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.

A whole street could be moved up or down after a property is reassessed, so it’s vital to carry out this second step to avoid potential friction with neighbours.

Frances said she was bemused that most of the homes on her street were in Band C despite some of the houses being terraced while others were detached.

Mr Lewis explained: “Remember that the bands are broad. You could be at the top of the band and they could be at the bottom of the band, and you could still both be in the same band.”

A woman named Frances previously contacted the BBC Martin Lewis podcast after .

She said it took about six weeks to get her band reassessed with the refund from the council.

However, Frances said she was surprised that most houses in her street were in Band C despite some being terraced while others were detached.

Mr Lewis said in response: “Remember that the bands are broad. You could be at the top of the band and they could be at the bottom of the band, and you could still both be in the same band.”

Martin Lewis is the Founder and Chair of MoneySavingExpert.com. To join the 13 million people who get his free Money Tips weekly email, go to www.moneysavingexpert.com/latesttip.

For the latest personal finance news, follow us on Twitter at @ExpressMoney_.

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