Households who try to get their council tax band lowered have been given a boost after the Government said it will push the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to consider appeals no matter when they are made. Currently, many people are wrongly turned away if they appeal more than six months after moving in.
The Government told last night's The Martin Lewis Money Show on ITV that claims should be investigated to determine if someone is in the wrong band — at any time.
In a statement to the show, Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said he has agreed to write to every council to tell them "the right to ask the VOA to check their band is not limited by time" (see his Council Tax letter).
See our Council Tax Rebanding guide to see if you are paying too much and how to fight it.
For years MoneySavingExpert.com and its founder Martin Lewis have lobbied the government to stop councils wrongly using the six month cut-off.
Martin says: "The six month rule has been a big blocker for many people. They've told me they've tried to appeal and the council's said 'no, you've been in there for more than six months, you can't do this'.
"But you do have this right to go to the VOA, and I think that should be communicated.
"If you've been trying to do this and you've been stymied by the six month rule, persevere."
1991 valuations count
Many households are in the wrong band because in 1991, when house valuations for council tax were undertaken, many councils rushed this process leading to many discrepancies.
Even though we are in 2013, it is the 1991 value that counts towards setting your band.
If you are found to be paying too much, you will not only be making a saving by paying less each month, you can also get a rebate on the extra you've paid going back as a far as 1993, which could be thousands of pounds.
Before appealing, be aware there is a risk it could push your band up, so read our Council Tax Rebanding guide for help.