Battle to change tax band
INCORRECT council tax banding is costing the community hundreds of thousands of pounds according to one angry resident who is urging people to check their tax categories. Father-of-two Derek Jamieson from Chells Manor, Stevenage, who researched his road
INCORRECT council tax banding is costing the community hundreds of thousands of pounds according to one angry resident who is urging people to check their tax categories.
Father-of-two Derek Jamieson from Chells Manor, Stevenage, who researched his road, claimed: "Since 1993 each home has been overpaying by just over £4,000, a total overpayment from the road of £100,000"
He has been delivering leaflets to houses with what he believes to be incorrect banding in recent weeks.
He said: "My home in Wheatlands was banded as an 'E' from the beginning of council tax in April 1993.
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"I took ownership in November 1996 and had no reason to dispute the 'E' as I believed it had been assessed and all similar houses were in line with this.
"But in January 2007 I was made aware, after a Trevor McDonald Tonight programme, that discrepancies across the country existed.
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"I researched my home and discovered identical houses built by the same builder and identical in spec, design and appearance from the road Downlands to be banded as 'D', there were also examples of larger homes banded as 'D'.
"I then researched all 112 houses in Wheatlands and found 24 to be wrong, 22 like mine and two, staggeringly, were two bedroom semis who were next door to identical houses rated as 'C'."
Mr Jamieson challenged the banding with St Albans Valuation Office agency (VOA).
He said: "I am aware of similar cases on Great Ashby which come under Bedford VOA.
"These have been reviewed, adjusted and householders refunded as much as £2,000 in just three weeks!"
"But the St Albans VOA seem very reluctant to correct this error possibly due to the scale of errors made."
Stevenage residents received their new council tax bill and information leaflet recently.
It states: "If you're paying council tax in a property for the first time and disagree with the banding you should make your appeal within six months.
"You can do this no matter how long you have lived there."
He added: "I would never advocate non payment of council tax, but I have withdrawn my direct debit facility and will pay my council tax at the offices in Danestrete using multiple small denomination payments over each four week period to ensure the timely collection of my bill is as expensive as possible.
"If they have the time to do this I would encourage all similarly affected residents to do the same until their individual reviews are complete and settled."
Stevenage Borough Council collect the tax on behalf of themselves, Herts County Council and the police, but do not decide on the valuation.
A representative for the Valuations Office said: "The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is currently investigating a claim made on January 31, 2007 that a home in Wheatlands is incorrectly banded for council tax.
"As part of the investigation the VOA will look at whether any consequential action need be taken to the banding of homes in the vicinity.
"We are working to get back to the resident as soon as possible and should we find an inaccuracy in the original assessment we will correct it.