Be aware of bogus Council Tax callers

Posted: 09/09/2013

The Council House

Along with the police, we have been contacted by local residents in the last few days that they are receiving telephone calls from a company offering a service to try and reduce the council tax bill for their household.

In some cases, the caller will say they are from the Council. We do not call residents about this issue in this way.

There are some management claim companies who operate this type of service and offer a fair and legitimate service. They generally charge a fee, which can be as much as 30% of what they recover, even if this involves only giving advice and information.

If someone decides to use a fee paying company that handles such claims, they must usually be authorised by the Claims Management Regulator, and all regulated organisations are on their website.

If successful and the banding is reduced, the Valuation Office will advise the council and customers will have their council tax account amended and the whole amount of any overpaid Council Tax will be refunded.

The Valuation Office Agency offers the same service for free and their website also offers other information about Council tax banding at www.voa.gov.uk

Councillor Asaf Afzal, Cabinet Member for Planning, Environment and Public Protection, said,

”I would strongly advise our residents that they do not need to pay for this service and to be wary of any unsolicited calls they may receive from organisations offering Council Tax banding reductions. Anyone that wants to check their council tax banding is correct can contact the Valuation Office Agency. They are responsible for setting council tax bands on all domestic properties and will be able to review your band and advise you accordingly; and it is free of charge.

“If you decide that you would like that to go ahead with any organisation offering this service, please make sure you fully understand the terms of any contract before you sign it and avoid companies that want to be paid in advance. Always contact a legitimate business directly to confirm details and do not make payments following unsolicited contacts. If you require further advice, please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 or the Valuations Office on 03000 501501.”

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