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Completion Notices

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What is a Completion Notice (for Council Tax)?
Where we consider that a property is complete or the work remaining to be done on a new building can reasonably be expected to be completed within 3 months, a completion notice will be served on the owner of the property as soon as it is reasonably practical.  

The completion notice is a document that specifies the completion day, which is the day on which a property becomes a dwelling for Council Tax purposes.  It is then given a band by the Valuation Office Agency so that we can start charging Council Tax.
What if a property is Complete but Unoccupied?
Council Tax is payable on a property once we consider it to be complete. 
We make our decision with regard to Section 17 (as amended) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
What criteria do we use to decide a completion date?
A property will be considered to have reached a stage of substantial completion when it meets the following criteria:

  • The basic structure is complete, for example all external walls and roof are in place;
  • Internal walls are built (although not necessarily plastered);
  • Floors laid (although the screed or top coat of concrete need not have been laid).

A notice must be served specifying a final completion day of up to 3 months from the date of service for the remaining works for final completion of the property to be carried out.  A notice may also be served specifying a completion date within 3 months even if the above criteria are not fully met.

Many properties will have reached an advanced level of completion where, for example, ceilings are in place, walls have been plastered and second fixing may have commenced. In these circumstances the amount of time allowed in the notice for full completion of the property may be quite short.

In order to be considered ready for banding, the following work does not need to have been carried out:

  • Internal decoration of the property.
  • Final fitting of sanitary ware and kitchen units
  • Final fitting of electrical plug points and switches
  • Final connection of water, gas and electricity (although services should be laid on to the site).
  • The criteria for determining completion for Council Tax purposes are substantially different to that for determining completion for Building Control therefore whether building control certificates have been issued or not is not directly relevant. 

It is important to remember that a completion notice for Council Tax may be served up to 3 months in advance of the day on which the council specifies that a property will be complete. It may also be the case that by the completion date, the property may not actually be completed - this will not change the date on the completion notice - the criteria we must use is that at the time the notice is served, it is reasonable to expect that the property could be completed by the date specified. 

What if I disagree with the Completion Notice? 

For further information please contact us. We can look at your case and consider the facts. Please contact us in the first instance setting out the reasons why you disagree with the date of completion. We may ask for further information and we will advise you of our decision as soon as possible, to allow you sufficient time to appeal further if you wish.  

If you disagree with a completion notice you should appeal within 28 days of the date of service of the notice to the Valuation Tribunal Service which is an independent body. 


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Contact Details

Council Tax,
Ipswich Borough Council,
1W Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,

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01473 433910