Council tax discount changes – empty properties and second homes
At the meeting on 13 December 2012, councillors reduced the level of discretionary council tax discounts that apply to empty properties, those properties undergoing substantial repair and second homes.
The new discounts will be shown on the 2013/14 council tax bill which is due to be issued on or around 15 March 2013. If any of the information on the bill is incorrect, the council must be advised immediately in order that a revised bill can be issued.
Banding of Properties
We are aware that some residents within Basingstoke and Deane are currently receiving letters from a third party in relation to a possible reduction in their council tax banding. If you believe the banding of your property could be incorrect then please our section on ‘Valuation Bands and Appeals’ (link to http://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/browse/advice-and-benefits/council-tax/valuation-bands-and-appeals.htm). Please be aware that any appeal made regarding the banding of your property can result in a reduction or increase to your banding.
The council tax band applied to each domestic property is determined by the Valuation Office Agency and is based on factors such as the market value of the property on 1 April 1991. If you feel that the Council Tax band that has been applied to your property is incorrect, you do have the right to appeal against this. All appeals are dealt with by the Valuation Office, and they can be contacted at: The Valuation Office, The Square, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hants, RG21 4EB, 03000 504300. You can also find out more information about valuation matters on their website: www.voa.gov.uk
The council tax is set in March each year for the forthcoming new financial year. Approximately 82% of the amount due is payable to Hampshire County Council. Council tax is not an actual charge for services, however it does contribute in a small way to providing those services.
The amount due in respect of each property is payable over 10 monthly instalments, which are shown on the bill.
Council tax benefit
Those council tax payers on low incomes can apply for council tax benefit, and people in certain groups may be exempt from council tax or entitled to discounts. Councils are required to carry out an annual review of all exemptions and discounts. The council issues a form asking our customers to either tick a box to confirm that the situation is unchanged, or advise us of the details of any change that may affect their entitlement to the reduction. This review form can be issued at any point during the year.
Changes to council tax benefit
During a meeting of full council on 13 December 2012, councillors voted to retain the existing council tax benefit scheme as the local council tax support scheme for 2013/14. This means those people who qualify for council tax benefit will continue to receive the current level of support until March 2014, providing their circumstances remain the same.
Notifications showing how the amount of council tax support is calculated, and a council tax bill showing the amount of support awarded, will be issued on or around 15 March 2013.
Those people who are receiving council tax benefit on the 15 March 2013, or have made a claim which has not been dealt with by that date, do not need to make another application for 2013/14. The council will use the information that has been provided to calculate the support for 2013/14.
The information on the notifications and bills should be carefully checked by the person named on the documents and the council should be advised immediately, if any of the information is incorrect.
Queries about council tax
Staff in the Local Tax team deal with a wide variety of council tax issues on an account-by-account basis. Residents, owners, solicitors, lettings agent, councillors and banks are among those that contact us by letter, telephone or visit our offices. Some of the issues that we deal with on a daily basis relate to people moving, payment methods and discount entitlements.
All of the information received is entered onto the computer system and relevant documents such as bills are issued. The majority of information we need to manage your council tax account can be taken over the telephone, however there will be occasions when written information is required. All written correspondence is acknowledged and we aim to issue a reply within 20 working days. The reply may be in the form of a letter or a bill, depending on the content of the letter.
If the monthly instalments are not paid exactly as shown on the bill, or on time, reminders and summonses may be issued. The council will apply for a Liability Order at the Magistrates Court, which enables a variety of recovery methods to be used to collect the outstanding amounts. These include attachment of earnings and instructing a bailiff to act on our behalf. If you find that you are unable to make your payments by the due date, irrespective of any recovery action that may have been take, please contact us to discuss the way forward. It may be that an alternative arrangement can be entered into.
Staff are available to deal with any enquiries from Council Tax payers during normal office hours, including those relating to recovery action, by telephone, letter or meeting. You can contact us at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Civic Offices, London Road, Basingstoke, RG21 7EA, (01256) 358555, or email us at email@example.com