Council tax exemption scam
If someone visits or calls you and tries to charge you to arrange a council tax reduction or exemption, this is a scam. We don’t charge for this. If this happens to you, note the details of the individuals and don’t hand over any details. Report the incident to the Police on 101.
Council tax reduction disputes and appeals
If you think our decision is wrong you can ask us to look again at your council tax reduction decision. If we decide that our original decision was correct you have the right to appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal which is independent of the Council.
On this page:
Your council tax reduction decision letter will tell you how we have worked out your reduction, how much reduction you will receive or the reasons why you do not qualify for a reduction.
You must read this decision letter carefully to make sure all details are correct, because if we have made a mistake and we reduce your council tax too much, you may have to pay back any shortfall when an error is rectified.
You must let us know immediately if any of the information in the letter is wrong or missing. You should also inform us if you or your household’s circumstances change within 21 days.
You can ask us to either explain our decision verbally or to provide you with a statement of reasons in writing.
To access the form you will need to sign in or register on the One Account and then subscribe to the benefit service.
If you think we have made a mistake, or you have information and evidence which you believe will change our decision, you have the right at any time to ask us to look again at our initial decision (a revision).
To access the form you will need to sign in or register on the One Account and then subscribe to the benefit service there. Your request should include the reasons why you feel our decision is wrong and also any additional evidence you want to submit which you can upload with the form.
You can only ask for a revision if you are a person affected by the decision:
- you are the person who is claiming council tax reduction or someone you have authorised or who has the power of attorney to act on your behalf
There are no time limits to request a revision of your council tax reduction decision.
When you ask for a revision, another officer will look at the claim. After reconsidering our decision, we will let you know in writing whether we have changed the decision or whether it will stay the same.
If you believe our decision is wrong you have a right of appeal to the Valuation Tribunal, who are an independent body.
Before you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal, you must first have written to us to ask us to reconsider our original decision. You can only appeal after we have looked at the decision again and upheld it to be correct.
If you try and appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal without first asking Hackney to reconsider the original decision, it will be struck out and not considered.
Once we have upheld our original decision – you then have 2 months to appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal.
In the unlikely event that we don’t respond within two months, you can appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal.
You must have proof of receipt and a copy of the original letter to prove to the Valuation Tribunal that you asked us to look at the decision again. You have up to 4 months, from the date of your request for a revision to appeal directly.
Make an appeal
You can appeal against
- the start or end date of your claim
- the amount of income, savings we used to work out your benefit
- the number of people we have included on your claim
- the amount we say we have overpaid you
You can’t appeal against
Decisions involving a rule that is laid down in the Council’s reduction scheme; eg that claimants can’t receive more reduction than 85% of their council tax liability.
If you try to appeal against a decision that you can’t appeal against, this is known as out of jurisdiction and it can’t be considered. The Valuation Tribunal will tell you if they consider your appeal to be out of jurisdiction.
The Tribunal can’t hear appeals about the contents of Hackney’s scheme, only about the way the scheme has been applied to your individual case.
You must continue to pay your council tax while awaiting the result of an appeal hearing.
The Valuation Tribunal may allow a late appeal if they are satisfied that you missed the deadline for reasons beyond your control. These reasons must have meant it was not practical to have made the appeal within the deadline.
The Valuation Tribunal will register your council tax reduction appeal and then send you a hearing notice saying when and where the hearing will be held.
You will receive at least 6 weeks notice of the hearing date, although less notice may be given in exceptional circumstances.
Hackney will then send you a copy of the evidence they will be asking the Tribunal to hear about your case. This should happen at least 2 weeks before the date of the hearing.
If you don’t understand process, need a postponement or have any other queries you can contact the Valuation Tribunal directly.
If you don’t wish to attend the hearing and want it heard in your absence this is usually allowed providing you tell the Valuation Tribunal at least 2 weeks before the hearing. You would need to provide a written statement outlining the points you wish the tribunal to consider.
If you do not come to the hearing and have not told the Valuation Tribunal that you want it heard in your absence, the appeal will be struck out.
You can withdraw the appeal at any time before the hearing by writing to the Valuations Tribunal.
What happens at the appeal hearing?
Your hearing will be heard by up to three lay members of the tribunal, however in more complex appeals a member from the first tier tribunal may sit with a senior member. The panel members will be independent of the Council and impartial. There may also be a clerk present to advise on law and procedure.
You will be guided through the hearing and both you and the Council’s representative will present your cases. You will both have the opportunity to ask questions on the evidence and the panel members may ask additional questions if they are unclear about anything.
You will normally be told the decision at the hearing, however if this does not happen you will be sent it within a month of the hearing. If you are successful we will amend your council tax reduction entitlement accordingly.
Benefits Contact Line
- Mon to Fri 9am - 5pm