What Are The Different Council Tax Bands?

As we’re sure you’re aware, moving home isn’t the simplest process. Costs can pile up during every stage of the move, and the more you have to arrange the harder it is to budget and plan effectively. One key thing you should always keep in mind is what council tax band your new home will fall under. Knowing this ahead of time will help when budgeting for day-to-day life in your property. But what exactly are council tax bands, and how do they affect homebuyers?

What are council tax bands?

Council tax bands are the determining factor behind how much council tax you need to pay. A house is grouped into a specific band depending on what the value of the property was in April 1991 – the date when the tax bands system was applied. In the UK, council tax bands range from bands A-H.

The council band values are:

Band A – up to £40,000

Band B – £40,001 to £52,000

Band C – £52,001 to £68,000

Band D – £68,001 to  £88,000

Band E – £88,001 to £120,000

Band F – £120,001 to £160,000

Band G – £160,001 to £320,000

Band H – more than £320,000

So, for example, if a property would have sold for £150,000 in April 1991, but is now worth £200,000, it will remain in band F, as this was the value when the bands were set.

For new build homes, the same applies: they are valued based on the 1991 market. This ensures that all homes and all buyers are treated fairly and consistently across the board.

How to check my council tax band

If you’re unsure of the council tax band for a property you’re interested in buying, then you can find it out by using a tax valuation list – such as this one, from gov.uk. You can compare it with your current property’s band to estimate the difference in tax between the two.

How much are my council tax payments?

While the tax bands are based on a strict value range, the amount of council tax you have to pay can change, depending on your local council. To find out how much you can expect to pay in council tax for a certain band, it’s always best to ask the relevant local council.

How does a local council calculate council tax?

A local council decides how much you pay in council tax. Local authorities receive funding from the government, but require council tax to support all necessary costs. The amount of tax paid depends on the given funding for the council, so it may be higher some years than others.

A tax band is calculated after a visit from the VOA (The Valuation Office Agency). They will look at a property, assessing things like:

  • Size
  • Layout
  • Use – or change of use
  • Character
  • Location

If a property has been extended, then it may fall under a higher band than before when it is next sold. A band can also change if similar properties nearby have been ‘rebanded’ or if the house has diminished in size.

What is council tax spent on?

This varies between councils, depending on what is in need of funding. Typically, your council tax goes back into the local community, allowing the council to uphold infrastructure, make essential improvements, maintenance or repairs, provide adult social care, education, healthcare and more. As you can see, council tax is a vital part of the economy.

If you’re planning to move house – especially if you are a first time buyer – it’s important to reseach council tax and council tax bands in your local area, and the area you’re planning to move to. A council tax band can play a significant part in your buying decision, so make sure you come prepared when looking into specific properties. This will give you a greater idea when it comes to budgeting before and after the move.

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