Council tax refund from 11 years ago!

What should I do?

  • Apply a straight interest rate of 5%

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Bobby Dazzler

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Yesterday I came home to find an envelope stuffed with Council Tax bills from 1998 to 2002 on the door mat, relating to a property I purchase in 1998 as a new build and sold in 2002.

Upon closer inspection I noticed that there were credit balances on each bill, and an invitation in the footer to claim a refund. Seemed to good to be true - too much like a scam. How cynical am I, eh?

I called the Council Tax office today and sure enough it's legitimate. It seems that the property has been re-banded - downwards - as it was banded incorrectly when it was built, and so I've in effect overpaid.

My first thought is that I'm amazed they even bothered to contact me.

My second thought was that they had money for more than 7 years!!

So what's the concensus - should I ask that an amount equivalent to interest be applied, or just take it, run and be grateful? :devil:

Using HMRCs Official Interest rates for years 1998 to 2002, I've calculated that it would actually increase the amount owing to me by 80%!!
 

d w124

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just take it, run and be grateful? :devil:


;):thumb:
 

verytalldave

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I had a council tax refund dating back to 2000 a year or so back relating to overpayments during that period - exactly the same scenario as yours..........
It also included interest payments ! ! ! !
I live in Bromley council area.
If your repayments DONT include interest, I would query this.
I will try to find all the relevant paperwork regarding this and if I can find it, you can have a copy to use as case example.
It was a tidy sum..................
 
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davidjpowell

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Looking at a couple of cases I don't think that Interest is payable on Council Tax refunds. I'm not an expert though so if you can get it go for it!

As a matter of interest if this was a Business Rate refund there is a specific statutory instrument The [FONT=Arial,Italic]Non-Domestic Rating (Payment of Interest) Regulations 1990 [/FONT]which set it for any given year at 1% below base rate on the preceeding 15th March.
 
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Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

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This forum never ceases to amaze me when it comes to the knowledge and experience of it's members.
 

Shude

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Would be useful to know if a "customer" would be charged interest if they had underpaid their council tax. That could be the decider in the end I suppose!
 

bennesspipers

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You're repayment should include interest at one rate or another, in my experience its best to march in there, say this to them, & then dont move untill they give you an answer. Remember, if you'd owed them you'd have been in court by now ! ! !
 

verytalldave

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Quote:
"Would be useful to know if a "customer" would be charged interest if they had underpaid their council tax. That could be the decider in the end I suppose!"


Depends whose fault it was why the underpayment was made.
If it was a council error, then I cant see how the payee could be liable and expected to pay interest. They may even have trouble claiming for lost the payments as it was their fault.
If however you made a false declaration which resulted in a lower payment, then, yes I would expect you would be liable for both back underpayments AND interest.
 

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I do like the store card option.

You need to consult a more legally minded expert and see what you are entitled too. Even try the citizens advice bureau but whatever outcome you will get whats owed to you back.

You also need to considered not just interest but inflation as well ;)
 

bouncer

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I've checked my banding online and the rest of the street, on my side there are 3 different bands even though the whole street is teresed town houses.
Time for a word with the council i think. Refund.

sTeVe
 
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Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

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Would be useful to know if a "customer" would be charged interest if they had underpaid their council tax. That could be the decider in the end I suppose!
Just called them to ask a hypothetical question. There is no "interest" due as such if an individual underpays or falls behind...

If you fail to make a payment then you receive three reminder letters over the course of three months. If you're still behind in your payments then it goes to court which is when it begins attract "costs" which would be a minimum of £68.

After it's court then then it's all dependent upon the specifics of the case: whether they contacted the council, whether they're trying to make payments, salary/benefit income, etc.

So not a simple answer.
 

verytalldave

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Just called them to ask a hypothetical question. There is no "interest" due as such if an individual underpays or falls behind...

If you fail to make a payment then you receive three reminder letters over the course of three months. If you're still behind in your payments then it goes to court which is when it begins attract "costs" which would be a minimum of £68.

After it's court then then it's all dependent upon the specifics of the case: whether they contacted the council, whether they're trying to make payments, salary/benefit income, etc.

So not a simple answer.

Mr Dazzler.
First off, I must apologise to you. I fear I told you an untruth. In my defence it was an accident and I blame my poor memory.
I checked my rates paperwork last night and found all the relevant forms for the refund the council paid me.
This was in November 2007.
There are references to interest payments, but not for what you mean or what I thought.
Sorry.
The amounts repaid to me over a period between 2000 and 2007 amounted to circa £1400 which equated to being taxed at one band above what I should have been charged.
But no interest for this overpayment was applied and I just received the difference back between the two rate bands.
So over about 8 or so years I was refunded circa £160 per year as being the overpayment per annum.
I can remember a neighbour who was also due a refund enquired about interest payments and was informed that because of the reason that the refund came about was told it would be a straight refund with no interest being applied. This point was not persued.
The reason we got this refund was rather complicated, but I suspect the reason that you are now expecting a refund is very similar.

What often actually happens on a new development is this.
The builder submits the drawings to various interested departments of the council for their information, permissions and approvals.
Two of these departments are the rates department and one of the others is the buildings approval department.
Althought these departments are all under the single umbrella of the council, they work independantly of each other to a large degree.
The rates department look at the drawings and assess the rateable value of the projected dwellings individually. Each home is given a rates value according to many different bits of criteria. Number of bedrooms, style of home, plot size and actual plot location are but a few of the many parts the council use to finally arrive at what band the home will be placed.
BUT............
Between THAT point in time and when you move in and start paying rates many changes can and often do take place.
Not least is that the builders "fiddle" with the overall plot layout and squeeze in more homes in on the site than was originally given council approval. This is quite a common practice. Once the site is finished, the council come down with the drawings and THEN discover that the builder has erected more homes than they were originally gave permission for.
They then scuttle off back to their offices and make the builders pay more costs because they were naughty boys and broke the rules. Which they gladly do as they have made more money by selling more homes that they really should have.
Very, very rarely do councils make bulders actually remove buildings to comply with their original drawings. They are simply fined (quite heavily), the builders pay up. The council gets extra dosh. The builder sells more homes. Everyone is happy. Cushti.
EXCEPT.............
That the department that originally calculated the rates dont get involved in all these "building" changes and so is never told of all this.
So more homes have been squeezed into the site and everybodys plots are a tiny bit smaller than was shown on the original plans. Sometimes whole new roads are added if there is room.
These changes on a plot by plot basis are often small, but often significant when calculating rates. So, if somebody living on the site queries his rates banding, then its only when a council officer comes onto the site with his "original" drawing and makes a visual comparison and - shock horror - its not like the actual layout. He then scuttles off back to his office and eventually someone recalculates each homes rateable vaue only to find that in some cases, people are being overcharged because their home plot size takes it down into a lower rates band.
And that my friends is how it often happens - all least it did to me.

Waffle over.
 
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proser

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just check online about our banding and found some issues.

our house was part of a small new build estate in 2000/1, when we purchased it) and had 3 types of houses build:

4 bed with integral single garage (D)
large 4 bed with integral double garage (E)
large 4 bed with seperate double garage (F)

we are in one of the std 4 beds with a banding of D
next door is in the same type of house with a banding of E
our other next door (well opposite due to layout) is in a large 4 bed with seperate garages is also in a band D

I have checked the rest of the houses and they are banded as per the banding that I have put next to the style of the house above

What do I do ;

1. challenge my banding based on my neighbour's house being much larger but in the same band, therefore I should be in a lower band
2. just leave it as I seem to be in the right band compared with the rest of the houses (apart from next door)
 

verytalldave

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I would only challenge it if you are of the considered opinion that its likely that your banding MIGHT be reduced. If not, then there seems very little point in getting the hassle. Not only that, it could also result in a neighbours home going UP a band. And that could cause considerable unrest and even aggravation between neighbours which is NOT what you want.
Why a specific home is a particular band when another seemingly similar home is in a different band can be puzzling. Often its down to plot size, lengths of drives etc. There might be internal differences as well that are not apparent from the outside that could affect the rate banding.
 
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davidjpowell

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Mr Dazzler.
First off, I must apologise to you. I fear I told you an untruth. In my defence it was an accident and I blame my poor memory.
I checked my rates paperwork last night and found all the relevant forms for the refund the council paid me.
This was in November 2007.
There are references to interest payments, but not for what you mean or what I thought.
Sorry.
The amounts repaid to me over a period between 2000 and 2007 amounted to circa £1400 which equated to being taxed at one band above what I should have been charged.
But no interest for this overpayment was applied and I just received the difference back between the two rate bands.
So over about 8 or so years I was refunded circa £160 per year as being the overpayment per annum.
I can remember a neighbour who was also due a refund enquired about interest payments and was informed that because of the reason that the refund came about was told it would be a straight refund with no interest being applied. This point was not persued.
The reason we got this refund was rather complicated, but I suspect the reason that you are now expecting a refund is very similar.

What often actually happens on a new development is this.
The builder submits the drawings to various interested departments of the council for their information, permissions and approvals.
Two of these departments are the rates department and one of the others is the buildings approval department.
Althought these departments are all under the single umbrella of the council, they work independantly of each other to a large degree.
The rates department look at the drawings and assess the rateable value of the projected dwellings individually. Each home is given a rates value according to many different bits of criteria. Number of bedrooms, style of home, plot size and actual plot location are but a few of the many parts the council use to finally arrive at what band the home will be placed.
BUT............
Between THAT point in time and when you move in and start paying rates many changes can and often do take place.
Not least is that the builders "fiddle" with the overall plot layout and squeeze in more homes in on the site than was originally given council approval. This is quite a common practice. Once the site is finished, the council come down with the drawings and THEN discover that the builder has erected more homes than they were originally gave permission for.
They then scuttle off back to their offices and make the builders pay more costs because they were naughty boys and broke the rules. Which they gladly do as they have made more money by selling more homes that they really should have.
Very, very rarely do councils make bulders actually remove buildings to comply with their original drawings. They are simply fined (quite heavily), the builders pay up. The council gets extra dosh. The builder sells more homes. Everyone is happy. Cushti.
EXCEPT.............
That the department that originally calculated the rates dont get involved in all these "building" changes and so is never told of all this.
So more homes have been squeezed into the site and everybodys plots are a tiny bit smaller than was shown on the original plans. Sometimes whole new roads are added if there is room.
These changes on a plot by plot basis are often small, but often significant when calculating rates. So, if somebody living on the site queries his rates banding, then its only when a council officer comes onto the site with his "original" drawing and makes a visual comparison and - shock horror - its not like the actual layout. He then scuttles off back to his office and eventually someone recalculates each homes rateable vaue only to find that in some cases, people are being overcharged because their home plot size takes it down into a lower rates band.
And that my friends is how it often happens - all least it did to me.

Waffle over.
It's not a serperate department, actualy a seperate organisation - Valuation Office agency is a agency belonging to the Inland Renveue - which is why the communication goes awol ocasionaly.

just check online about our banding and found some issues.

our house was part of a small new build estate in 2000/1, when we purchased it) and had 3 types of houses build:

4 bed with integral single garage (D)
large 4 bed with integral double garage (E)
large 4 bed with seperate double garage (F)

we are in one of the std 4 beds with a banding of D
next door is in the same type of house with a banding of E
our other next door (well opposite due to layout) is in a large 4 bed with seperate garages is also in a band D

I have checked the rest of the houses and they are banded as per the banding that I have put next to the style of the house above

What do I do ;

1. challenge my banding based on my neighbour's house being much larger but in the same band, therefore I should be in a lower band
2. just leave it as I seem to be in the right band compared with the rest of the houses (apart from next door)
Can you see a reason why you and your neighbours have a higher banding - do you have bigger plots / better views? If so do nothing. To be honest it looks like they got hte big one wrong, while yours fits in.
 

proser

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Can you see a reason why you and your neighbours have a higher banding - do you have bigger plots / better views? If so do nothing. To be honest it looks like they got hte big one wrong, while yours fits in.
That's how I see it, but wouldn't mind a challenging it, as the one with the wrong banding (too low) are so up their own a**e and they planted conifers a long one part of their property, directly opposite our lounge window, and have let them grow to about 10ft (covernant states 6ft max) and when I challenged them I was told that they wanted privacy in their back garden (well they shouldn't have brought the property that had a back garden that could be overlooked by 3 other houses :doh: ). All I can see now out of our lounge is a wall of conifers. :devil:
 

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That's how I see it, but wouldn't mind a challenging it, as the one with the wrong banding (too low) are so up their own a**e and they planted conifers a long one part of their property, directly opposite our lounge window, and have let them grow to about 10ft (covenant states 6ft max) and when I challenged them I was told that they wanted privacy in their back garden (well they shouldn't have brought the property that had a back garden that could be overlooked by 3 other houses :doh: ). All I can see now out of our lounge is a wall of conifers. :devil:
You need to appeal within the first six months of buying the property or alternatively if something in the area happens that might affect the value of the property eg yellow lines, new school, supermarket - anything to get your foot in the door.

Alternatively you are are reduced to writing a nice letter saying that you believe your banding is wrong, and while you understand that you have no right of appeal at present, the VO does have a legal duty to maintain a correct rating list and could he please investigate.

Done this a couple of times with sucess.
 

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