INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR
Council Tax 2010/2011
Valuation Bands Council tax affects most homes. There is one bill for each home, whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette, mobile home or houseboat, and whether it is owned or rented. The Government’s Valuer is responsible for categorising each home into one of eight bands according to its open market capital value at 1st April 1991: Valuation Band Band A Band B Band C Band D Band E Band F Band G Band H
Range of Values Up to & including £40,000 £40,001 - £52,000 £52,001 - £68,000 £68,001 - £88,000 £88,001 - £120,000 £120,001 - £160,000 £160,001 - £320,000 More than £320,000
Your council tax bill shows what band your home is in. If the valuation office has not yet banded your home because it is new, Lichfield District Council will use a temporary band based on the purchase price.
Payments You may pay your bills in the following ways: · by direct debit
This leaflet contains useful information about your council tax: · Council tax valuation bands · Exemptions · Discounts · Council tax benefit · How to challenge your property banding · How to appeal against a decision
· online at www.lichfielddc.gov.uk
with a debit or credit card · at any post office using your swipe card · by post · by telephone on 0845 2340068
with a debit or credit card The back of your bill gives more details.
Your property may be exempt from council tax
You may be eligible for a discount
Council tax is not charged on a property that is empty and falls into the following categories:
The full council tax bill assumes there are two adults living in your home. If only one adult lives in a property (as their main home), the council tax bill will be reduced by a quarter (25%). If a property is empty and is no-one’s main home, the bill will be reduced by half (50%). Following changes to council tax rules, from the 1st April 2007, if a property is your second home the bill will be reduced by 10%, in certain circumstances a 50% reduction will still apply to second homes.
· needs or is having structural alterations done or major repairs (exempt for a period of up to twelve months) · is owned by a charity (exempt for up to six months) · is unfurnished (exempt for up to six months) · is left empty by someone who has gone into prison · is left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital or care home · is waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted (and for up to six months after)
· is waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion · is left empty by someone who has moved in order to provide personal care · is left empty by someone who has moved in order to provide personal care to another person
People in the following groups do not count towards the number of adults living in a dwelling:
. is left empty by students
. full time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth training trainees
. is an unoccupied annex which is part of another home and may not be let separately from that other home . has been repossessed and is the responsibility of a bankrupt’s trustee
· is empty because no one can live in it by law Other properties are also exempt even when they are occupied, if they are: . student halls of residence . occupied only by students . forces barracks and married quarters (their occupants will contribute to the cost of local services through a special arrangement) . occupied by a member of visiting forces . a dwelling consisting of a pitch or mooring which is not occupied by a caravan or boat . occupied only by a person or persons aged under 18 . occupied only by a person/persons who is/are severely mentally impaired . occupied by a diplomat . an annex occupied by an elderly or disabled relative
. hospital in-patients . people who are being looked after in care homes . people who are severely mentally impaired . people staying in certain hostels or night shelters . 18 and 19 year olds who are at, or have just left, school and intend to enrol for further education . care workers working for low pay, usually for charities . people caring for someone with a disability who is not their husband, wife, partner or a child under 18 . people for whom child benefit is payable . member and non-British dependants of visiting forces and certain international HQs . members of religious communities (monks and nuns) . people in prison (except those in prison for non-payment of council tax or a fine) If you think you may be entitled to a discount please ask for an application form from Lichfield Connects on 01543 308900. If your bill shows that you are getting a discount, you must tell us about any change of circumstances which affects your entitlement. If you do not you may be fined.
If you are disabled, or someone disabled lives in your property
If you would like to challenge your property valuation banding
What happens if I don’t pay my council tax?
You may be entitled to a lower council tax bill if you, or someone who lives with you needs a room, or an extra bathroom or kitchen, or extra space in your property to meet special needs arising from a disability. The bill may be reduced to that of a property in the band below the band shown on the valuation list. This is to make sure that disabled people do not pay more tax because of space needed because of a disability. If your home is in Band A, you already are in the lowest council tax band but you can still apply for a reduction.
Property values are based upon values as at 1st April 1991 - recent selling prices are therefore not necessarily the best evidence. Since 1st December 1993 there are only a few occasions when taxpayers can challenge their banding, these include:
Your council tax is payable on, or before, the dates shown on your annual bill. If a payment is missed, the council will issue a reminder notice. You will have 7 days to bring your account up to date.
Please ask for an application form from Lichfield Connects on 01543 308900 if you think you could qualify.
If you are on a low income Council tax benefit is available to help people on low incomes pay their council tax. There is also a scheme called Second Adult Rebate. If you are not entitled to council tax benefit in your own right because of your income, but there is another adult in your house (not your partner) and they are on a low income, we may be able to work out your benefit using their gross income. If you would like to claim either council tax benefit or second adult rebate, please contact Lichfield Connects for a claim form.
Instalment dates for council tax payment The due date for council tax is the 8th of each month. Starting on 8th April with the final payment due on, or before, the 8th January of the following year. If you pay by direct debit you can also choose to pay on the 18th of each month.
· after demolition . conversions of houses to flats . physical changes in the locality affecting value and within six months of: · band change to your property made by the Listing Officer · a band change to a similar property to yours made by the court · becoming a new taxpayer If bandings are challenged, you must continue to pay the current bill until any appeal is settled. Full details are contained within the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) Regulations 1993. More detailed information is available from the Valuation Office Agency on 01782 298400. If you would like to appeal against a decision of the council, or because you think that you are not liable - for example: . you are not the resident or the owner . your property is exempt . we have made a mistake in working out your bill You must write to us first so that we can consider your case.
If you bring your account up to date, no further action will be taken. If you don’t pay, your right to pay by instalments will be withdrawn and the full balance will become due within a further seven days. No further or final notice will be issued. If your account then remains unpaid, the council will request that the Magistrates issue a court summons, costing £60. This is a request for you to appear at court and answer to the complaint that you have not paid your council tax. The magistrates will then issue a Liability Order, costing £25. This gives the council the right to take further action to collect any money outstanding. This may be an attachment on your earnings or benefit, or to instruct a bailiff to collect the arrears. (Bailiff charges will be added to your account.) Ultimately the council can make an application for you to be committed to prison. A maximum of two reminders will be issued in each financial year. If you fall behind a third time, your right to pay by instalments will be withdrawn and a final notice issued and recovery action will continue as above. If you are struggling to pay your council tax, please contact Lichfield Connects on 01543 308900 to discuss your account.
Contact us Please contact Lichfield Connects on 01543 308900 if you: · think your home may be exempt from council tax . would like to apply for council tax benefit, disabled reduction or housing benefit
Benefit…it’s your right You could be entitled to money towards your council tax. Thousands of pounds of benefits go unclaimed every year in this country. Make sure you don’t miss out on what you are entitled to.
For council tax, benefits and business rate enquiries for all areas
It’s your right - claim it!
Recovery section enquires for all areas
Summonses and liability orders if you are having trouble paying your bill
You can check if you may be entitled to benefits using our online benefits calculator www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/benefitscalculator
Automated telephone payments (24hr)
0845 234 0068
Help us prevent benefit fraud
Your telephone call may be recorded for training/monitoring purposes.
Benefit fraud is a crime. Why should you pay for it? If you have any information relating to a known or suspected benefit fraud please call:
Or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
National Fraud Hotline: 0800 854 440 Local Fraud Hotline: 0800 783 1030 Text phone users please call: 0800 328 6341
Or write to us at: Lichfield District Council, Finance, Revenues and Benefits Services, District Council House, Frog Lane, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6YX. You may wish to contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau at: 29 Levetts Field, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6HY. Telephone: 01543 252730 or Wade House, 7 Cannock Road, Burntwood, Staffordshire WS7 8JS. Telephone: 0844 856 3400
All calls and information will be treated in confidence.
If you are already claiming benefit Remember you must tell us about any changes in circumstances straightaway. If you do not, you will be breaking the law and the council may take action against you.
If you would like this leaflet in another format such as large print, please call 01543 308000. Finance, Revenues and Benefits, District Council House, Frog Lane, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6YX. Telephone: 01543 308900 Fax: 01543 309925
Explains more about council tax valuation bands, exemptions, council tax benefits, how to challenge your property banding, how to appeal aga...