From 01 April 2013, the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme replaced Council Tax Benefit. This is a reduction in the amount of Council Tax you have to pay and not a benefit payment. If you disagree with your Council Tax Reduction (CTR), you may start a challenge under section 16 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This needs to be done at any point after receiving confirmation of CTR.
Council Tax payers will be notified in writing of their reductions under the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
What should you do if you are not happy with our decision?
A Council Tax payer may request the Council reconsider its decision at any point after receiving confirmation of CTR. You must advise the Council in writing, stating the reasons why you disagree with the Council's calculation. Council Tax payers can only appeal if the Council has:
Your request for reconsideration must include:
The Council will then look at your claim and write to you and tell you whether we have changed our original decision. If the decision cannot be changed our letter will confirm why. If the decision is not changed in your favour, you have a right to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal for England within 2 months of the date of the reconsideration.
The Council must respond to you within two months of receiving a challenge to the CTR calculation.
At what point can the taxpayer appeal to the Valuation Tribunal?
Before appealing to the Valuation Tribunal for England (VTE), you must have written to the Council explaining why you are challenging the calculation of CTR. This gives the Council an opportunity to resolve the matter.
If you still disagree with the Council’s decision, you can appeal to the VTE within 2 months of receiving a written response from the Council.
If the Council fails to respond to your challenge within 2 months, you can appeal directly to the VTE. This needs to be within 4 months of sending your challenge to the Council's decision.
The VTE cannot hear appeals about the design and contents of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme - only how the scheme applies to your circumstances.
If you believe that the scheme is unlawful then the remedy is to apply for judicial review in the High Court.
If you are not happy with the outcome of the Valuation Tribunal Appeal a further appeal can be made to the High Court. This must be within 4 weeks of the date the decision notice is given. Where written reasons have been requested, within 2 weeks of the provision of those reasons, if later.
Please note that there is no recourse to the Upper Tribunal with regards to Council Tax Reduction Scheme appeals.