Council Tax - frequently asked questions
- What is the Valuation List?
- What do the Council Tax Banding's mean?
- How did the Assessor arrive at my Banding?
- I have recently purchased a House. How do I find out its Valuation Band?
- I have recently moved into a new house, which is not shown on the Valuation List, how do I find out the Valuation Band?
- I think the valuation band applied to my house is too high, can it be changed?
- I have recently extended my house, will my valuation band be increased?
- I bought my house for less than the value indicated by the band. Is the band wrong?
- I'm not happy with my banding. Can I appeal against it?
- I think that my valuation band is correct but I cannot afford to pay my Council Tax bill, what can I do?
- How do I make a proposal?
- What can I do if I am unhappy with the decision of the Valuation Appeal Committee?
What is the Valuation List?
The Council Tax Banding List is a list of all the dwellings in the area, giving their banding for Council Tax purposes. It sets out for each property:
- Its address
- Its banding
- An indication if the banding results from an appeal decision
- The effective date of any change in the banding
- A marker which shows if the dwelling is exempt
What do the council tax banding's mean?
The banding reflects the figure for which the property might have been expected to sell in the open market on 1st April 1991, given the conditions set out in the legislation which established the Council Tax.
How did the Assessor arrive at my banding?
To decide which band is applied to each house in his area, the Assessor looked at the prices obtained by every house sold in the open market during 1990, 1991 and 1992. The Assessor also looked at later prices, but only as an indication of the way house prices were changing over time. All available information was used to place bands on all of the houses in the Lothian area.
I have recently purchased a house. How do I find out its Valuation Band?
The band will be shown on the Valuation List. The List a public document which is available for inspection, free of charge, at some Council Offices and libraries. The Valuation List is available to view online, via the Scottish Assessors Portal Website.
I have recently moved into a new house, which is not shown on the Valuation List, how do I find out the Valuation Band?
If the house is not shown on the Valuation List you should contact the Assessor immediately. Arrangements will be made for the property to be inspected and added to the Valuation List as soon as possible.
I think the valuation band applied to my house is too high, can it be changed?
When originally banded, all interested persons had a right to lodge a proposal to change/appeal against the banding. Thereafter there are only limited circumstances in which a proposal/appeal may be made.
I have recently extended my house, will my valuation band be increased?
Under current legislation alterations and extensions will not affect the valuation band until the property is sold. However, once sold the banding may be reviewed and the new taxpayer may have to pay a higher amount of Council Tax.
I bought my house for less than the value indicated by the band. Is the band wrong?
Not necessarily. The band applied to any house is based on an examination of the prices of all similar houses sold at or about 1st April 1991 and some may be higher for others. The Assessor will have taken a view of what might reasonably be expected for the house, which may well be more than the figures for which some of the houses in the group actually sold.
I'm not happy with my banding. Can I appeal against it?
An appeal against the banding of your house is described in the legislation as a 'proposal'. The circumstances in which you can lodge a proposal are limited by the legislation.
If you became the taxpayer within the last six months, or the Assessor has changed the banding in that time, you may make a proposal to have the banding altered. If you have been in the house longer than six months, and there has been no change in the band since it was fixed in 1993, then you can only make a proposal if there has been a change in your house or its surroundings which you consider has reduced its value.
I think that my valuation band is correct but I cannot afford to pay my Council Tax bill, what can I do?
The Director of Finance of your local Council determines the actual amount of Council Tax payable in respect of each property. You should contact that department in order to ascertain that all aspects of discount and relief have been correctly applied.
How do I make a proposal?
If you wish to make a proposal, you should contact the Assessor. The Assessor will send you a form on which to make your proposal. Fill it in and return it to the Assessor, who will acknowledge receipt of your proposal, and then will arrange to discuss the matter with you as soon as possible.
What can I do if I am unhappy with the decision of the Valuation Appeal Committee?
Appeals against a Valuation Appeal Committee decision can be made to the Court of Session, by either the Assessor or the appellant, but only on a point of law. Appeals to the Court of Session will generally require legal expertise and expenses and will also involve a lodgement fee by both the appellant and respondent. See Legal Extract below ;
Local Government Finance Act 1992, Chapter 14, Part II
82(4)Any party to an appeal under this Part may appeal against a decision of the valuation appeal committee on a point of law to the Court of Session.
Rules of the Court of Session (amended as at July 2005), Chapter 41, Part III
Form of appeal
41.19.-(1) An appeal to which this Part applies shall be made in Form 41.19 presented to the Inner House.
(2) An appeal referred to in paragraph (1) shall-
(a) specify the relevant provision of the enactment under the authority of which the appeal is brought;
(b) specify the decision complained of, the date on which the decision was made and on which it was intimated to the appellant, and any other necessary particulars;
(c) where the appeal is against only a part of such a decision, specify or distinguish that part;
(d) set out the decision appealed against or refer to the decision (a copy of which shall be appended to the appeal);
(e) state, in brief numbered propositions, the grounds of appeal; and
(f) set out in a schedule the names and addresses of the respondents in the appeal and the name and address, so far as known to the appellant, of any other person who may have an interest in the appeal.
Lodging of appeal in court
41.20.-(1) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), the appeal shall be lodged in the General Department-
(a) within the period prescribed by the enactment under which it is brought; or
(b) where no such period is prescribed, within 42 days after-
(i) the date on which the decision appealed against was intimated to the appellant;