News story

Valuation Office Agency warn against council tax banding scams

Checking and querying your council tax band is free when you contact the VOA.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) are warning council tax payers about dishonest individuals and companies that may be operating in your area. They may telephone you or appear personally at your door.

Here are some examples of the tactics used to try and get you to part with your money:

  • charging an up-front fee and then not challenging your band on your behalf, blaming the VOA for not taking any action
  • insisting you are definitely in the wrong band, when in fact your band is correct
  • saying they are from the local council or VOA and asking for your bank details so they can provide a refund. You may then find that money is taken from your account
  • claiming that the VOA charges you to challenge your band when you can do this for free
  • claiming that you must, by law, be represented by an agent to challenge your band when in fact anyone can do this
  • saying that the VOA won’t reduce your band without the help of an agent because the government is short of money

Things you can do to avoid falling victim to scammers

  • remember that you can have your band checked free of charge by contacting your local Valuation Office
  • ring a cold-callers office to confirm that they are who they say they are
  • inform the police if you believe that anyone is impersonating staff from your local council or the VOA
  • dial 999 if a cold caller refuses to leave your home
  • contact your local Trading Standards Service if you feel you have been the victim of a council tax scam

Things you should not do

  • don’t give your bank details to anyone that contacts you by phone or who calls in person.
  • don’t let anyone into your home without seeing appropriate identification
  • don’t feel under pressure from a cold-caller to pay an immediate up-front fee. Take the time you need to think about it. What’s the rush?
  • don’t accept cold callers claims about your band without seeing evidence or proof of what they are claiming. There is nothing wrong with being sceptical.
  • don’t speak to anyone who is reluctant to give you their company address or contact details

If you feel that the band on your home is wrong, then all you have to do is contact your local office and explain why you think it is incorrect. We will also ask you to confirm that the details we hold about your home are correct. We will listen to your views and if we agree that the band is wrong, we will change it. Bands can occasionally go up as well as down.