How Council Tax bands are assessed
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) explains how domestic properties are valued for Council Tax bands.
Council Tax valuations are based on the value of properties that are not used for business purposes.
The value is based on the price the property would have sold for on the open market. Properties were put into a band based on their market value on 1 April 1991 in England and 1 April 2003 in Wales.
All properties are banded on the same basis, including properties bought under discount schemes, eg Right to Buy. The purchase price discounts applied to these properties are not taken into account when setting the band.
Council Tax bands in England (based on 1 April 1991 values)
|Band||Value at 1 April 1991|
|A||up to £40,000|
|B||£40,001 to £52,000|
|C||£52,001 to £68,000|
|D||£68,001 to £88,000|
|E||£88,001 to £120,000|
|F||£120,001 to £160,000|
|G||£160,001 to £320,000|
|H||more than £320,000|
Council Tax bands in Wales (based on 1 April 2003 values)
|Band||Value at 1 April 2003|
|A||up to £44,000|
|B||£44,001 to £65,000|
|C||£65,001 to £91,000|
|D||£91,001 to £123,000|
|E||£123,001 to £162,000|
|F||£162,001 to £223,000|
|G||£223,001 to £324,000|
|H||£324,001 to £424,000|
|I||more than £424,000|
Council Tax band assessments
The VOA assesses properties to ensure that they are in the correct Council Tax band. They automatically assess some properties, eg when a property has been made bigger or smaller or when a property is newly built. The VOA also assesses properties when asked to do so, eg during a Council Tax challenge or band review.
Assessments are based on different factors, such as a property’s:
- change in use
- value on 1 April 1991 (England) or value on 1 April 2003 (Wales)
Local authorities set rates and collect Council Tax based on the band set by the VOA.
Find out the Council Tax rates set by your local authority.
Banding of houses in multiple occupation
Domestic properties that have separate dwellings are houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). Each separately let part of a property qualifies as a separate dwelling with its own band. There may be circumstances where the VOA can amalgamate the bands.
HMOs with little or no adaptation: Where minor adaptations have been added then the VOA can put the whole property into one band. This could be where door locks are added and the occupants of the separately let parts share the kitchen and bathroom of the original house.
HMOs with adaptations to each floor: A single band can be given where each floor of a house let in parts has standard facilities and can be treated as a self-contained unit. This applies where the occupiers of the floor share a kitchen and a bathroom.
HMOs with adapted letting rooms: Separately let rooms in a HMO may have been adapted, for example, so that they have their own kitchenette or separate shower/bath and WC. They will be given their own band even though may share some facilities. In making a decision, the VOA will look at the degree to which each part has been structurally altered.
Purpose built HMOs: These properties would generally not be combined and would have separate assessments for each internal unit.
There is more information available on houses in multiple occupation.
Your local council calculates a separate Council Tax bill for every property banded and collects payments. The Council is responsible for applying relevant discounts or exemptions.
If you believe your band is wrong, or your household shouldn’t be banded at all, you may be eligible to challenge.
Council Tax bands and annexes
If the VOA determines that your property contains more than one area of separate living accommodation, you may find you are charged for more than one Council Tax band.
The VOA is required by law to apply a separate Council Tax band to every:
building, or part of a building, which has been constructed or adapted for use as separate living accommodation
The operational instructions we follow when applying this can be found in Practice Note 5 (Disaggregation of Dwellings) in the VOA’s Council Tax manual.
A family adapts two rooms in their house so that a relative is able to live with them. This includes installing kitchen appliances and a toilet and shower and also creating a single entrance to the new annexe. As a separate area of living accommodation this annexe would normally require its own Council Tax band.
The VOA will make a decision on every case based on the specific nature of the construction and/or adaptation of the property, such as:
- independent access to, or access from, a hallway, landing or other common area
- its own facilities for sleeping and preparing food
- washing facilities and a toilet
Only physical features are considered when deciding whether or not an additional area of living accommodation exists within a domestic property, not how it’s used. A separate Council Tax band is still required if an area of a house, flat or other domestic property which could be occupied separately is vacant.
Accommodation occupied by tenants would not be treated as an annex, but it would still have its own Council Tax band.
Various discounts and exemptions are administered by your local billing authority (council).
If you’ve removed a separate area of living accommodation by making physical changes to your house, flat or other domestic property, you should contact the VOA. The VOA will only be able to remove a Council Tax band if the area or annexe has been sufficiently altered so that it could no longer be lived in separately.
The VOA is unable to give specific advice on any planned changes to a property. We can only explain how we apply the relevant Council Tax regulations.
If you think your property has incorrectly been given an additional Council Tax band, you have the right to challenge that decision.