b-ct-man-sect1-pt1

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Part 1 - Introduction

VO letters and forms which are not included as appendices are available as MS Word Templates.

1.1 Preface

This Manual has been written to enable Business Unit and site management, caseworkers and administrative staff in England and Wales to deal with Council Tax work.

It consists of three sections:-

● Section 1 - Introduction

● Section 2 -Maintenance of Council Tax Lists

● Section 3 - England : Proposals and Appeals

● Section 3 - Wales : Proposals and Appeals

Appendices are attached to each section.

Additional Practice Notes provide guidance on legal and technical matters concerning the banding process.

The process maps accord with this Manual and have been developed to assist all staff employed on Council Tax duties to deal with the aspects of work with which they are involved.

1.2 Legislation

Council Tax came into effect on 1 April 1993. It was established under the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (referred to as LGFA 92 in the remainder of this manual). The Act requires the Commissioners of Inland Revenue (now known as HM Revenue & Customs) to carry out valuations of dwellings in England and Wales for the purposes of compiling and maintaining valuation lists and specify bands within which dwellings are to be placed. The Commissioners have delegated this duty to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

Specific Regulations are contained in Statutory Instruments. (Each title is a hyperlink to the legislation)

Statutory Instrument 1993/290 - The Council Tax (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) Regulations 1993 (SI1993/290). The regulations apply to the English and Welsh 1993 Council Tax Lists.

Statutory Instrument 2005/181 The Council Tax (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/181) amended the 1993 regulations for Wales. The regulations apply to the 2005 Council Tax List for Wales only. See 1.3 below.

Statutory Instrument 2009/2270 The Council Tax (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2270) revoked the 1993 regulations for England. The regulations apply to England only and came into effect on 1 October 2009.

Currently, there are 8 valuation bands in England, lettered between A and H, and nine in Wales, lettered between A and I. One of these valuation bands is allocated to each dwelling. There are different levels of value appropriate to the bands in England and in Wales. For the 1993 Lists these were:-

England

Valuation Band

Range of values

A

Not exceeding £40,000

B

Exceeding £40,000 but not exceeding £52,000

C

Exceeding £52,000 but not exceeding £68,000

D

Exceeding £68,000 but not exceeding £88,000

E

Exceeding £88,000 but not exceeding £120,000

F

Exceeding £120,000 but not exceeding £160,000

G

Exceeding £160,000 but not exceeding £320,000

H

Exceeding £320,000

Wales 1 April 1993 – 31 March 2005:-

Valuation Band

Range of values

A

Not exceeding £30,000

B

Exceeding £30,000 but not exceeding £39,000

C

Exceeding £39,000 but not exceeding £51,000

D

Exceeding £51,000 but not exceeding £66,000

E

Exceeding £66,000 but not exceeding £90,000

F

Exceeding £90,000 but not exceeding £120,000

G

Exceeding £120,000 but not exceeding £240,000

H

Exceeding £240,000

1.3 Council Tax Revaluations

In Wales, there was a revaluation which took effect on 1 April 2005, with an Antecedent Valuation Date (AVD) of 1 April 2003.

In England, a proposed revaluation, due to take effect on 1 April 2007 (with an AVD of 1 April 2005), was postponed.

The instructions for carrying out the revaluations were given in short term Instructions & Advice documents (IAs).

This Manual includes instructions covering the maintenance of Council Tax Valuation Lists and challenges made against the bands in these Lists. It has been updated to take account of the revaluation in Wales. The bands in Wales are now:-

Wales 1 April 2005 -

Valuation Band

Range of values

A

Not exceeding £44,000

B

Exceeding £44,000 but not exceeding £65,000

C

Exceeding £65,000 but not exceeding £91,000

D

Exceeding £91,000 but not exceeding £123,000

E

Exceeding £123,000 but not exceeding £162,000

F

Exceeding £162,000 but not exceeding £223,000

G

Exceeding £223,000 but not exceeding £324,000

H

Exceeding £324,000 but not exceeding £424,000

I

Exceeding £424,000

The Local Council (the "Billing Authority") is responsible for the setting and collection of Council Tax, based on the valuation band ascribed to each dwelling.

1.4 Client Bodies

The VOA's client bodies for Council Tax are Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in England, and Welsh Government (previously Welsh Assembly Government) in Wales. On policy matters, Welsh Government generally accepts advice from Department for Communities and Local Government.

1.5 Antecedent Valuation Dates

The Antecedent Valuation Date (AVD) for Council Tax purposes has been set in the legislation. The basis of valuation states that the value of any dwelling shall be taken to be the amount which, subject to certain assumptions, it might reasonably have been expected to realise if it had been sold by a willing vendor.

1993 Council Tax Lists (England and Wales)

The AVD for England and Wales is 1 April 1991. [SI 1992/550 The Council Tax (Situation and Valuation of Dwellings) Regulations 1992]

2005 Council Tax List (Wales only)

The AVD in Wales is 1 April 2003. [SI 2003/3046 The Council Tax (Valuation Bands) (Wales) Order 2003 applies]

Further guidance relating to the AVD is given in Practice Note 3 to this Manual. Separate versions are provided for England and Wales, as different regulations apply.

1.6 Definitions of "Proposal" and "Appeal"

As with Rating legislation, LGFA 92 refers to the term "proposal" for any documentation completed by a taxpayer, or their agent, in which they seek a different CT band to that currently shown in the CT List. This in turn becomes an "appeal" when agreement is not reached and the matter is referred to an independent Valuation Tribunal for a decision.

Before 1 April 2008 the appeal regulations required a listing officer to identify unresolved proposals and forward them to the clerk of the Valuation Tribunal, at which time they became appeals. This remains the position in Wales.

From 1 April 2008 in England an “appeal” will only arise in the following circumstances. The new regulations require the Listing Officer to serve a formal decision notice in response to a proposal within four months of receipt of the proposal, and require the proposer to make an appeal direct to the valuation tribunal should the decision notice not be accepted. An unresolved appeal will be heard by the Valuation Tribunal.

1.7 The VOA website – further information

Information on Council Tax is provided on the Directgov - Home and Community website.

Additional information relating to both England and Wales has been published on the VOA website. This includes the Council Tax Manual, IAs and other statistical information.

Staff engaged with CT work are encouraged to visit both sites regularly to familiarise themselves with all the information leaflets and factsheets available.

As well as general information and advice, including the HMRC Charter and VOA Customer Service Standards, specific leaflets are available on the internet or in printed form:-

1.8 Use of the Welsh Language

The VOA is fully committed to the provisions of the Welsh Language Act 1993.

All correspondence received in Wales in the Welsh language must be similarly replied to, and all information can be supplied in Welsh.

Listing Officer Notifications for dwellings in Wales are issued automatically in both English and Welsh, with bilingual letter headings.

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