Moving from one house to another, or one place to another is a big headache in itself. An important aspect that you need to keep in mind while moving to a new neighborhood in the UK is council tax. If you ignore your council tax, you might end up paying two council tax bills or have an unwanted tax bill in your new house.
To ensure correct taxes are being charged upon you, here are some things you need to keep in check.
Council tax bands
The council tax is divided into eight bands labeled ‘A’ through ‘H’ in the UK. The higher the band, the more expensive the property is for the council and local authorities and the more tax it carries. Based on these bands, a property’s council tax is charged. Hence, properly assessing your property band is a significant aspect you must check before getting a council tax in a new locality while shifting.
How do you change your council tax?
The first thing you need to ensure when changing your council tax is to gather all the information regarding your new locality, such as who gets discounts and exemptions, which types of properties are exempt from taxation, and which band your property belongs to. You can get these details from the local council websites or by contacting them directly through phone or mail.
It is advised to visit your local council for the first time and carry out all the necessary steps. These steps include:-
- Visiting the local council and setting up your new council tax account. Please provide them with your moving information.
- Enquire about all the things you are uncertain about.
- After moving, you will receive your new council tax bill along with instructions on when and how to pay.
- Follow the steps and pay your new council tax.
There are chances your tax band may not be clear. In that case, they will provide you with a band assessment from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). They will consider all parameters give you a band, and determine how much council tax will apply to you.
For an honest and just assessment, you need to be transparent about the following things with the VOA:-
any changes made by you to your old or new property in terms of size, location, character, layout, or usage.
You will also need a change in address or postcode to disclose. These changes can be about merging flats into a nigger property, converting into The House of Multiple Occupations (HMO), or creating a floor or supplementary building to your property.
What information would you have to provide?
Since the VOA and the local council take all details about you into account. The tax band assessment considers your living situation, all individuals living in the property, use of the property, your income, and more. Following is the list of the necessary information you will have to provide:-
- Your name and phone number for them to contact you
- The postcode you are moving to and from
- The tentative dates of your shift
- Existing account number, only if you have one
- In case you are a tenant, the end date of your tenancy
- Whether the home is furnished or not furnished
- Date of moving furniture in or out
- The name and address of any solicitors who are acting on your behalf
- If you are a tenant, you will have to provide details about your landlord. Details like name, address, and more.
Council tax cancellation
During your shift to a new home, you will have to notify the council of your new locality to register a council tax for your new address to pay council tax. Suppose you initiate and carry out this process on time. In that case, you will have the least amount of chaos and duplicities in your payments.
- Suppose you want to save yourself from long queues and repeated visits to the administrative offices. In that case, you should start a few weeks ahead of time and inform your local authorities about your move’s tentative starting and ending time.
- It is advised to start this process at least one month before your shift. Sometimes it takes several weeks to process your application if there is a long waiting list. You will save yourself from paying a council tax for a house where you don’t live anymore if you do this.
- Moving to the same area or district is comparatively easier than to a different district. If you move to a new district, you will have to contact authorities in that area and ask them to open you an account. You will also have to get your old account canceled.
- All of these steps are necessary to avoid paying two council taxes. Hence, you should inform the authorities of both the localities beforehand.
- You should be getting your last bill as your moving day approaches if you follow these steps.
What to do in case of an overlap?
In case you forget to inform the local authorities regarding your move and receive two council bills, you should not panic. The situation is still reversible.
The first thing to do now informs the council of the locality you have moved out of. Explain the situation and tell the council that you did not use the old property. When you give these details, they should fix the situation by canceling your account.
If you have moved out of a property you owned and it is not empty, you will receive two bills, but you should still inform the authorities about your move. It is because you are only obliged to pay 50% of your council tax on an empty property.
If you own the house and have given it to a tenant, it will be the tenant’s responsibility to pay the council tax until they are living there. In this case, receiving a council tax bill is an error, or you forgot to inform the authorities. So you are not obliged to pay any tax for your old property. It is the obligation of your tenant. You should contact your previous local council to fix this issue.