Council tax reduction appeal
If you’re on a low income you may be entitled to a reduction to your council tax bill. This is known as council tax reduction (CTR) or council tax support (CTS), depending on your council.
Your council sets the scheme and decides whether you’re entitled to a reduction. If you think the council’s decision is wrong, you may be able to appeal. This is a free service.
Please note: before you appeal, you must have already contacted your local council to explain what the problem is. The council should reply to you within 2 months. If you are not happy with the council’s decision, you can make an appeal to us.
The appeal process
If you would like to appeal the decision made by your local council, please first review the step-by-step process below.
There are also some helpful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) beneath the appeal process.
Understand what an appeal involves
To make an appeal you’ll first need to complete an appeal form and provide information and evidence to support your case. You’ll find details on how to do this below.
You must make the appeal within 2 months from the date on the decision.
If the council does not reply to you within 2 months, then you can still appeal. In this case, you must appeal within 4 months from the date you first contacted the council.
If your case is accepted, you will then be expected to attend an appeal hearing to present your case to the Valuation Tribunal, who will make the final decision.
The appeal process currently takes about 9 months, from submission of an appeal form to final decision.
What issues can I appeal?
We can help you with the issues below:
- You think you are entitled to CTR/CTS under the council’s scheme.
- You think you are entitled to more CTR/CTS than you have been given under the council’s scheme.
We cannot hear appeals about the fairness of the council’s scheme. We can only decide if the council has applied their scheme correctly in your case.
Complete the appeal form
If you want to appeal, please complete an appeal form.
The form needs to be completed in one session (there is no option to save a part-completed form).
You will also need to attach a copy of the council’s decision to the appeal form.
We will check your appeal form and register the appeal if we have all the information. We aim to register appeals within 10 working days of receiving them.
We will let you know when the appeal is registered.
Once registered, we aim to set (known as list) a date for an appeal hearing within 5 months from the registration date.
If we cannot register the appeal, we will let you know why.
Prepare your evidence
We aim to give you 10 weeks’ notice of your hearing date, to give you time to prepare.
During this time, you need to gather the evidence to support your case.
Please allow plenty of time to do this. For more information, see how to gather your evidence.
At this point in the process, we’ll also send you guidance booklets about the hearing and how to prepare your evidence.
Attend the hearing
Appeals are decided by the Valuation Tribunal panel at the appeal hearing. At the current time, all hearings are conducted remotely using online/audio visual conferencing software.
The tribunal is impartial and independent. The tribunal will listen to both sides before making a decision.
During the hearing:
- The panel will ask you and the council to present your cases.
- You will be able to ask questions.
- You may be asked questions.
We try to make the hearing as informal as we can, and we will try put everyone at ease. However, these are judicial proceedings, so there is some formality.
The panel will make its decision on the evidence and arguments, bearing in mind what the law (legislation and case law) allows.
Our decision is not normally given at the hearing.
We will send you a decision notice (with reasons) within 1 month of the hearing by your preferred method of communication. If this period is likely to be exceeded, then the clerk to the hearing will contact you with information on when you can expect your decision.
Frequently asked questions
We cannot deal with housing benefit appeals. You should appeal this directly to your council.
For council tax appeals, the hearing is a free service.
No, the Tribunal cannot award costs. People making an appeal have to meet their own costs.
The appellant (and/or their representative), a council representative, and usually a panel of two (the senior member and a member), but sometimes a senior member will sit alone. A clerk will also be present.
Yes, to the High Court, but only on a point of law. Please click here for more information.
To get a decision, you must appeal to the council first. The council have 2 months to reply to you with a decision.
If the council does not reply to you within 2 months, then you can still appeal. You must appeal within 4 months from the date you first contacted the council.