The dreaded council tax.  Well, the government needs the money to provide everyday services but when it comes to owning a home in the Liverpool or London, council taxes are about as certain as death, and well, taxes.   While you won’t be able to hold off the tax man forever, this article will give you some tips on how to save big money on your council taxes.   It doesn’t matter if you have been in your home for 50 years or are buying your first property – this is one article you can’t afford to skip.

  • All by Myself

Maybe you aren’t the social type or your roommate skipped town with your girl.  Either way, sole occupiers are eligible to get up to 25 percent off their council taxes.  However, there is a catch – as you will need to fill out a form with your council to make sure the discount is applied correctly.

  • Fight the Power

People do have the power and in the case of the council taxes is it the option to query your bill.  A big part of this is due to the way in which properties are assessed – especially if you have owned your home since 1991.  As it was in that year that the government performed a series of “drive-by” assessments for tax purposes.

Given the haphazard way in which these assessments were performed a number of discrepancies have been identified.  In fact, close to 70,000 properties in England and Wales were found to be in the wrong band and it took a campaign by Martin Lewis to shed light on the issue and eventually right this wrong.

However, you don’t want to assumes that your property has been placed in the correct band.  As such, check with your local council and if you think your property has been improperly classified, then ask for a proper assessment.   By the way, you can also look up this information from the comfort of your home by going to the Valuation Office Agencies website for properties in England or Wales, or the Scottish Assessors Association website if your property is north of Hadrian’s Wall.

  • Remember Your “Please” and “Thank You”s

Ok, this is not a lesson in comportment, but it never hurts to ask – especially if you are a first-time home buyer.  After all, the entire process of purchasing a home can be challenging and stressful for some buyers. Whether it’s getting pre-qualified or figuring out the type of home you’re looking for, there certain things to know for first time home buyers that can put you on the right track.

One of these things is finding out if the property you are considering is either exempt from council taxes or eligible for a discount.  This can include exemptions on uninhabited properties or if the property is being renovated.

You can also ask for a discount on a furnished second home. In fact, some councils will cut your bill in half, but remember that you have to ask first.  If you are not sure if your property qualifies then you can check out this list from Citizens Advice.

  • Rooms for Let

This is especially useful if you are living near a university and want to save on your council taxes as renting out a room to a student can help you to qualify for a 25 percent deduction.  When it comes to council taxes you can save money on your council taxes if you like to live alone (see number one above) or if you enjoy company.

  • Time IS Money

It turns out that failing to pay your council taxes on time can be a costly mistake.  It doesn’t matter if you pay it in a lump sum or installment, you want to make sure your council taxes are posted to your account on time.

As such, the best way to do it is to pay your taxes either via the direct debit option or online.  If you miss the date, then you will lose the ability to pay your council taxes by installment – remember, time is money.

6) Other Ways to Save

We are not done yet.  You can also get a discount if a second adult lives in your house and is either on the dole, has no income, or is receiving Income Support.  Discounts are also available for caregivers and the disabled.

There you have it – how to save money on your council tax.  Check out which option is the best for you.

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Daniel Peacock

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