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Dark 1

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  1. Well "these people" are living on the plant dictated to them by legislation laid down to them by government. Councils have no control on how much rates you need to pay, and they have virtually no discretion. They're merely a collection agency for central government. They're probably sticking their neck out giving you anything. So if you want to vent and criticise anyone, probably more accurate to aim it at Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Osborne etc.
  2. Just to play the pedant card for a second, I would point out that councils have no say in the level of business rates, and do not keep any of the proceeds. Business rates is a central government tax that goes into the same pot as income tax and VAT etc. Individual valuations are set by HMRC (VOA), and the national multiplier is set by the treasury. So any criticism you have in the level of business rates, there's no point aiming it at the council. Local councils are merely utilised as a collection agency, which incidentally is also why they aren't obliged to provide any services in return.
  3. My suspicion is that an appeal would not be successful on those grounds. Couple of reasons: 1. Council tax bandings are rather wide, so unless the value of your property is right on the edge, it would take a rather large value significant factor to affect it. 2. My understanding is that for valuation purposes, a property will be assumed to be in reasonable repair, and the value attributed to it will be on the assumption that it is. I would assume that would also extend to the repair condition of adjacent properties. As to the possibility that bandings can be increased, that is true. So make sure you do your research first to find out how your banding compares to other houses of your type in your location, and how much they were selling for in 1991 (the date council tax valuations are based on). But also bear in mind though, if you do find anyone else's band that's lower than yours, it's just as likely theirs is too low. And poking around could talk your neighbour into an increase, which I'm sure they wouldn't thank you for.
  4. There is indeed a certain logic in saying the fairest tax is one where the more of it you consume, the more you should pay. However, what is fair isn't necessarily practical. For instance, given that the lion's share of councils' budgets go on education, by advocating a system where you pay for what you use, you have effectively advocated the abolition of a state education system. Does even the rightest of winger believe that's okay? When you look at what 'services' our council tax is spent on, how much of it could actually be practical to allocate more of its budget to those who use it? I'd say not very much. And that's before you get into the big question of whether those who need to use these services are able to pay for them at all.
  5. Now that's just not true at all. Otherwise every house in the UK would be in band H. Please do be mindful of the distinction between property valuations (bandings) as done by the VO, the amount of council tax payable per banding as set by local councils, and the total local tax burden as largely dictated by how much central government contributes to the councils' budgets.
  6. Oh, here we go again. The sycophant press recycling another old story, fed to them by the power-hungry Tory propaganda machine, and then devoured as gospel honest truth by the chronically paranoid. Ho hum. Okay, a few things to clarify. Again. Council tax is based on property values. Anything that affects the value of a property could be a factor. So when the Tories churns out yet another yarn about plans to introduce new rules about "nice views" or "nice gardens", it's scaremongering, pure an simple. Would you expect an estate agent valuing your house to ignore any advantages it may have to artificially keep its price down? Is that what the Tories are suggesting they'd implement when they're next in change? The council tax revaluation is a favourite target for a bit of scaremongering. As they say, it was going to happen, but was postponed. But if a property value tax based system is what we're going to continue with - which it seems we will no matter who wins the next election - then it'll have to happen eventually. How much sense does it make to forever base a tax distribution on how much houses were worth 20 years ago? Is that what the Tories are suggesting is best? A little while ago, the press was making a big issue about current bandings being based on "second gear valuations", and that "hundreds of thousands" could be paying too much as a result. The only way to make sure that's not the case, would be a complete new revaluation, and there was much criticism that that was not happening. So what's it to be then Mr Cameron? A revaluation to bring it all up to date and correct, or stick with 20 year old valuations which could be wrong anyway? Damned if you do, damned if you don't! They keep trotting out this computerised valuation model as proof of "revaluation by stealth". Utter fiction. There's a lot of people who work in the VOA. Are they suggesting they're all in on the conspiracy? Look out for low flying black helicopters people! In reality, it was indeed started to aid in the revaluation by computerising ancient paper based surveys. But then the revaluation got put on ice. A lot of work and money had been spent on it, so it made sense to finish it and use it for current council tax maintenance. There is no revaluation going on, but with this system in place, it would make it much easier and cheaper to start it up again when they get the go ahead to do so. So are the Tories saying when they take charge, they're going to scrap it all and get all the dusty old paper surveys back out of storage? Are they saying the efficiency savings of a computerised system is a bad thing? The thing is, despite what the Tories want everyone to believe, beyond access to technologies not available 20 years ago, the way the council tax system works is almost entirely unchanged from when they invented it. And that includes the sensationalist crap about "armies of council tax snoopers" kicking down you door to riffle though your belongings. That right does not exist no more than it did 20 years ago. That's just more politically motivated scaremongering propaganda, and it's really sad that so many people lap it all up so readily... But I will admit, it does amuse me when you do. Here, read this if you don't believe me: http://www.voa.gov.uk/thefacts/council-tax-facts.htm
  7. You get the same as you get for paying any other central government tax, such as income tax or VAT. Contrary to common assumption, unlike council tax, business rates is not a locally set tax. The councils only collect business rates, but they have no say in how much, and they don't get to keep what they collect. They're effectively a collection agency. It all goes into central government coffers to pay for... whatever central government taxes pays for. Although councils do get contributions back from those central government coffers; which incidentally has decreased dramatically over the past several years which has directly led to such large increases in council tax... but that's a different story.
  8. That's bad advise. Refuse entry, and they'll simply "estimate" your valuation on assumptions you have probably much more than you actually have. The onus is then on you to prove those assumptions are incorrect via an appeal. So you're gonna have to let them in eventually, and the council will expect you to pay on your increased banding in the meantime. Whether you're dealing with a government department or the guy behind the counter at McDonalds, being an **** might make you feel better in the short term, but they can be arses too. You may end up with something in your Big Mac you didn't want.
  9. Or, theory #3: Someone in your locality has taken the advise of Martin Lewis to look though the VOA's website at other people's bandings, and concluded if you're in a lower banding, so should they be. However, it's backfired in rather than their banding being found excessive, they've found yours to have always been insufficient. In other words, one of your neighbours has dropped you in it!
  10. Well unfortunately, whether we like it or not, we're probably stuck with a property value based local tax. The Tories are #10 bound - that's pretty certain - but while they're very fond of wheeling out Caroline Spelman to stir up a few more scare stories about the evils of council tax, they've shown no indication that they plan to do anything any different. One has to ponder how they're going to spin it when they're in power, that the council tax that was so bad when they wanted electing, is now all hunky-dory after all. Politics, er?
  11. That's the kind of paranoia that got the revaluation postponed in the fist place. That's what the Tories fed to their sycophant press, and that's what the press fed to the general populous who doesn't know any better; that is that a revaluation was merely a sinister Labour plot to increase everyone's council tax. It is however, utter sensationalist scaremongering nonsense. Each council will need to collect a total tax burden from Council Tax charges. The banding system (as maintained by the VOA) is not a parameter in calculating the tax burden. It is merely a mechanism for distributing that tax burden. As such, following a revaluation, the total tax burden would be the same whether there's a revaluation of not. As said elsewhere, the revaluation was well overdue, and was well under way with much of the work already done. But the politically motivated scaremongering stories got peddled, and seems the government got cold feet and canned it. But what makes me laugh is that just a few months later, the press changed their story and started spreading more sensational stories that the original valuations were bodged, and the only way to cure it is... a new revaluation! Damned if they do, damned if they don't. These political games really do make me howl!
  12. http://www.voa.gov.uk/TheFacts/council-tax-facts.htm And the pertinent parts: So basically, this is probably yet another in the never ending line of politically motivated scaremongering FUD stories from the Tories to try and whip up some more paranoia among the general populous who doesn't know any better. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. I mean, just how are they going to spin it when they're back in power, and this tax that they invented, yet been been so critical of the past few years, and they're running it exactly the same as it has been since they were last in power?
  13. It is in the grand scheme of government departments. This story seemed to indicate that these 600 businesses weren't rated at all until just now. They weren't paying any rates! So I question, surely they knew they should have been? So why didn't they contact their council and request a bill? I think we all know the answer to that one. The VOA do have rules about back dating. If these are indeed businesses that have never been rated before, then their valuations can be back dated to the start of the current rating list, i.e. April 2005. If however this was a case of businesses already rated now being upwardly re-valued, then it would only be able to be back dated if the reason for that increase happened within the current rating list, e.g. a recent extension. If however this reason was prior to that date - e.g. it's always been incorrectly valued - then it cannot be back dated at all. That's what makes me believe these are far from innocent victims. They kept their gobs shut in the hope they'll get away without paying any rates. And I'm sorry, but if that's the case, I have no sympathy with them. Other businesses have to pay their rates; why shouldn't they?
  14. Yes indeed, the valuing of anything is always a matter of opinion. But that probably wouldn't work by itself as a parameter for tax distribution. There needs to be mathematics behind it too, so even properties of which there is no individual opinion of value can still be valued. This is done via a survey of each property being taken and maintained, and then values (via the analysis of rental evidence) applied to each physical aspect of that survey. Therefore, if the survey changes, then so does the VOAs opinion of its value. Okay, granted, I am assuming that's what the issue was here. Physical changes not previously accounted for, now found and being applied. I certainly wouldn't expect the press to have access to the full behind the scenes story. And nor do I think they'd be interested anyway if it gets in the way of a sensational politically motivated story.
  15. Just to clarify here for anyone not in the know, the VOA would not be back dating any charges as such. Billing is done by councils. The VOA just values things, and what they will be saying is that a business existed in premises of a particular value at a particular date, and it's then up to the councils to decide who pays what and when. So if the councils decide to use their discretion to write off the debts, that's up to them. The VOA has no say in that.
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