Check your council tax valuation
1 How it works
The council tax system was established in 1993 and properties were placed in bands from A to H, based on valuations in 1991. While homes in Wales have since been revalued, properties in England and Scotland haven't. If you can prove your property is in a higher band than it should be, you can reclaim overpayments, often backdated to 1993.
2 Check your banding
You'll need to find out if your house is in the right band by checking the banding and value of your property and comparing it to your neighbours. Enter your postcode at the Valuation Office Agency website (www.voa.gov.uk) to find out your council tax band, then check the bands of neighbours with similar houses to yours - they need to be roughly the same size and age for an accurate comparison.
3 Research online
If you don't know the value of your home, you can find out what similar properties in your local area have sold for recently by visiting www.nethouseprices.com or www.ourproperty.co.uk. Next, you should work out what your home was worth in 1991 by using Nationwide's house price calculator at www.nationwide.co.uk/hpi. Now you'll need to compare this figure against the council tax bands - which will be available on your local council's website or at www.direct.gov.uk - to see if your banding is correct.
4 Challenge your banding
Double-check the previous steps, because the reassessment you will be asking for could actually place you in a higher band. If you do believe your banding is unfair, contact your local valuation office for a proposal form. There is an official list of reasons for revaluation available at www.voa.gov.uk, so try to quote one of these when making your claim. If your reason isn't listed, the valuation office will ask you to confirm the details they have on your property and to explain why you consider the band to be wrong. Where necessary they will carry out a review and get back to you with a decision in two months.
A catch-all phrase that can range from assessing the price of a property or vehicle before offering it for sale or the net worth of assets in an investment portfolio to the prices of shares on a stock exchange.