It is becoming common to hear of cases in which local authorities restrict how far back they will issue refunds in cases where a Council Tax band has been reduced retrospectively.
This backdating refusal may however give rise a to a valid Valuation Tribunal appeal.
What is the Statue of Limitations ?
The Statue of Limitations, from the Limitation Act 1980, is intended to prevent an open-ended liability to the legal action that can be taken against someone. Various time limits are specified in the legislation however claims under or against statue are limited to 6 years under Section 9 of the Act. The section states that :
Time limit for actions for sums recoverable by statute.
(1)An action to recover any sum recoverable by virtue of any enactment shall not be brought after the expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued.
(2)Subsection (1) above shall not affect any action to which section 10 of this Act applies.
Valuation Tribunal Decision on banding refunds
If your local authority has refused to backdate a refund or limited the refund to 6 years (as per the Limitation Act 1980) then you may be in luck.
In an August 2015 Valuation Tribunal cases – Holdsworth, Cassidy & Phillips v City of Bradford (tribunal appeal reference 4705M141113/254C ) – the Valuation Tribunal President considered what would should happen where a Council Tax demand notice was issued due to the Valuation Office Agency retrospectively lowering the property band.
The local authority disputed that any backdating of refunds should occur beyond 6 years as otherwise it fell past the 6 year period given in the Limitation Act.
Professor Zellick determined that an amount can only be property calculated once a demand notice has been issued (this principle is in line with other Council Tax cases). He stated that
They have simply assumed that s. 9, as interpreted and applied in Arca (an earlier case), sets a six-year maximum period for refunding overpayments. It does no such thing
The issuing of the demand notice was found to be the ’cause of action’ under the Limitation Act and therefore the claimants had 6 years from the date the revised demand notice was issued to claim any backdated refund.As the claimants had all applied for the backdating within 6 years of the revised demand notice being issued then they were entitled to the full amount. Professor Zellick stated that
The requirement to make a refund of council tax going back some 20 years may seem odd, but it is not the only odd feature of council tax law
How do I get a re-banding?
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) are responsible for Council Tax banding in England and Wales. In order to challenge your Council Tax band you must contact the VOA and not your local council. If the VOA amend your Council Tax band they will inform your local authority who will amend your Council Tax charge as appropriate.
Assistance from LGFA92
Good quality help with your Council Tax help dispute can be hard to come across – there’s a lack of independent, expert, places where you can get the help you need however LGFA92 are here to change that. See how we can help today
Contact us today. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, Call our Council Tax helpline on 0191 6451118.
This article is solely the view of LGFA92, the Council Tax experts, based on our interpretation of legislation. Your local authority is free to dispute this view. A binding decision may require the intervention of a valuation tribunal.