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Council tax could rise by £220, so here’s how to check if you’re overpaying or if you’re eligible for a discount

Anyone else guilty of only checking their bank account on pay day? As for when the rent money comes out… Let’s not even go there. On a fundamental level, we’re all aware that we should be paying more attention to our finances: whether it’s getting to g…

Anyone else guilty of only checking their bank account on pay day? As for when the rent money comes out... Let's not even go there.

On a fundamental level, we're all aware that we should be paying more attention to our finances: whether it's getting to grips with all that jargon (APR what now?), or protecting your bank balance through the festive period. We get it, it's not easy. Especially when you've got bills to pay, and those bills only seem to be increasing.

The latest development we need to consider comes from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), who've estimated that council tax in England could rise up to GBP220 per year within three years. The IFS reported that council tax bills would need to rise by at least 3.6% a year to keep services running at pre-pandemic levels, meaning bills could rise to GBP160 by 2024-25. However, according to BBC News, extra costs could push council tax up by an additional 5% a year, or GBP220 by 2024-25.

With this in mind, it's worth checking to make sure you're paying the correct amount of tax, ensuring that you aren't overpaying or underpaying (which could result in nasty surprises later on).  According to James Andrews, Senior Personal Finance Editor at money.co.uk, "Council tax bands were first introduced in the early 90s, and haven't been updated since. And the speed at which the banding was implemented at the time means potentially hundreds of thousands of properties could be mis-attributed.

And all that is before we get to the homes that have been built since then." James explains that the first step towards bringing your council tax payments down is "to check your tax band on the government website. If you think your band is wrong, then you can make an appeal." He adds, "Just be careful to do your research first, as you could see your council tax rise as well as fall."

Next up, James recommends checking if you're entitled to a discount on your council tax: "This could save you a substantial amount over the course of the year. For example, if you're the only adult at the address, are currently receiving benefits or on Universal Credit, then you may be entitled to up to 25% off your council tax. "If you, or someone you live with is a carer, or has a health condition or disability, then you may also be able to claim a discount.

People diagnosed with a serious mental health condition are also entitled to a discount.  "Most students can claim exemption from paying council tax, meaning they won't have to pay a thing, however this isn't done automatically  students need to visit the government website to check their eligibility for a discount." Worried that you've been paying the wrong amount for a while?

According to James, "Discounts and exemptions are backdated, so if you've overpaid then you could be able to claim the money back. The same goes for a refund for being in the wrong tax band, meaning you could in theory backdate payments to the 1990s, a serious sum in most cases." What are you waiting for?

For more from Glamour UK's Lucy Morgan, follow her on Instagram @lucyalexxandra.