Martin Lewis reveals how to get a council tax refund
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Local authorities will have to hike council tax by a minimum of 3.6 per cent a year for the next three years simply to maintain current service levels, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). It warned that bills may have to rise by an even more punitive five percent.
The average Band D council tax bill in 2021/22 was £1,898, so a 3.6 percent rise would increase that to more than £1,966 from April 1, costing an extra £68.
If bills rise by five percent a year for the next three years, the typical Band D charge hit £2,197 from 1 April 2024.
That’s a stunning £299 more than today.
Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, said increases will vary dramatically around the country and many face much bigger bills.
Yet others don’t need to pay anything.
Suter said: “Anyone who is struggling to pay should seek help, as there is lots of support available for those on low incomes.”
Millions could be eligible for a state benefit called Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called Council Tax Support). This replaced Council Tax Benefit in April 2013.
You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Council tax could be reduced by up to 100 percent.
It makes no difference whether you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working, you may still be able to claim.
Each council runs its own scheme, so what you can get will depend on where you live.
Your personal circumstances play a key part, such as your income, who lives with you and what benefits you claim.
Your savings, pension and partner’s income will also determine how much support you get.
Pensioners on low incomes should also check whether they are eligible for a vital benefit called Pension Credit.
This tops up the earnings of a single pensioner to £177.10 a week and £270.30 for couples. Crucially, it also acts as a gateway to other State benefits, including council tax.
Pensioners who receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit might get their council tax paid in full.
Those who do not receive Guarantee Credit may still get some support if they have a low income and less than £16,000 in savings.
Pensioners who are disabled and receive Attendance Allowance to help with personal care may also be eligible for Council Tax Reduction.
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Others may be entitled to up to 100 percent council tax support if they are entitled to a disability premium or disabled child premium, receive the Employment Support Allowance and a qualifying disability related benefit, or receive a carer’s premium.
If you receive a war disablement pension, war widows pension or war widower’s pension, or care for a child dependent under six, you may also get help.
Claiming all you can is vital as council tax bills are set to soar, warns Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“The enormous rise in the cost of social care, and the additional cost of National Insurance on council wage bills, is going to put councils under real pressure.
“Many of them are likely to raise council tax as much as they possibly can.”
There is lots of support are there. Start by visiting gov.uk/apply-council-tax-reduction.
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