Will I get a council tax rebate? How to claim the new £150 rebate

Many households are wondering, will I get a council tax rebate? This follows a government announcement in February to help ease the pressure on the rising cost of living.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £9 billion energy crisis support package earlier this month. This included a £150 council tax rebate for those on the lowest council tax bands A to D. “The council tax rebate was considered a relatively quick and easy way of getting £150 to families to help them deal with the enormous increases in the cost of living,” says Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst with Hargreaves Lansdown. “It’s a useful start and will soften the blow for a few months, but won’t come close to covering the extra cost of energy.”

Millions of households currently face a triple whammy of price hikes right now as the cost of living rises at its fastest rate for thirty years. So, the council tax rebate is a very welcome discount. We explain what the rebate is and if you will get it.

Will I get a council tax rebate?

Around twenty million homes in England will be in line for a £150 council tax rebate, which covers around 80% of households. Whether you get this ‘one off’ payment will depend on your council tax band, which is based on the value of your home. Homes within the lower council tax bands between A to D will all get the £150 rebate. Anyone with a second property, within these bands, cannot qualify and the council tax rebate is not payable on empty properties.

Some households within property bands A to D, where occupants don’t pay the full rate of council tax, for example, homes where one person lives alone and benefits from a 25% reduction in council tax, will also be eligible for the full £150 rebate.

Within Scotland, nearly two million households, will be in line for a £150 rebate, which, as in England, is payable for properties in council tax bands A to D. It will also apply for homes within these bands that incur council tax reductions.

In Wales, properties within bands A to D will get a £150 payment. Those who are eligible for council tax reductions, regardless of their property band, also qualify.

How to claim the £150 council tax rebate

There’s no need to apply for the £150 rebate as in most cases households should receive the payment automatically. And you do not need to repay it. It’s ‘free cash’ – unlike the £200 energy loan that will cut the cost of our energy bills in October, but must be repaid over the next five years. The £150 council tax rebate will be paid to you directly, rather than being deducted from your council tax bill.

If you pay your council tax by direct debit, then the rebate should be credited to your bank account at some point in April, if you live in England and Scotland. If you don’t pay by direct debit, within England, local councils will get in touch to arrange a way to make payment. In Scotland, the £150 will be a credit towards council tax bills.

The Welsh Government is currently working with local authorities on the rebate scheme and further details on how the money will be paid, are yet to be announced.

How to find out your council tax band

If you’re unsure which council tax band you’re in and whether you’ll qualify for the £150 rebate, there’s two easy ways to find out. You can either dig out your most recent council tax bill, which will have details of your banding, or use a postcode checker tool. For properties in England and Wales you can check your council tax band online and within Scotland go through the Scottish Assessors Association.

Unsure what council tax band your home falls under?

Use this service to find out: https://t.co/qkmwNyeKof pic.twitter.com/iWtGORZRSJ

— GOV.UK (@GOVUK) February 23, 2022

Who is excluded from the rebate?

Households on higher council tax bands, from ‘E to H’ don’t qualify for the £150 rebate. However the Chancellor said local authorities in England will be given a, “discretionary fund of nearly £150 million to help lower-income households in higher Council Tax bands, and households in bands A-D who are exempt from Council Tax”.

If you fall into one of these categories, it’s worth contacting your local authority to ask about the additional financial support.

When it comes to homes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, these devolved governments are being given a £565 million pot of cash, as part of the Council Tax Energy Rebate which they can use in their own way for financial support.

How to appeal a council tax band

If you’re on a higher, (more expensive), council tax band than your neighbours, yet the properties are of a similar size and design, you may have a case to appeal against your council tax band. You can start the process of challenging your council tax band through the Valuation Office Agency. It’s free to do this, regardless of the outcome. Before you start, it’s worth doing some detective work, especially as you may be asked to provide evidence.

Check which band your neighbours are on. For properties in England, this can be done through the Government website and the Scottish Assessors Association for Scotland.

You should also find out your property value in 1991, when council tax bands were set, which is easy to do using an online calculator like Nationwide’s House Price Calculator.

Check this back against the government’s advice on assessing council tax bands and if it doesn’t match the one you’re currently on, you may have a case.

Last year, over 40,000 households challenged their council tax band, according to the latest Government figures. One in three cases, this resulted in bands being lowered.

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