Fight over Chippenham tax banding
Pensioner Barry Hutchins believes his Chippenham home has been placed in the wrong council tax band and is to fight his case at a government tribunal.
Mr Hutchins, 69, who pays £140 in council tax every month for his house in Brook Street, says his two-bedroom home has been overvalued and he has been paying too much council tax.
His house is categorised as a Band C property, but in August he discovered his neighbours’ houses are in Band B, which means they pay less council tax.
Mr Hutchins, a retired plasterer, says his house is a similar size to his neighbours’ and he has taken the issue up with the Valuation Office, part of HM Revenue and Customs.
At the hearing, arranged by the Valuation Office for February 6, he hopes to recover thousands of pounds paid out in council tax since buying his house more than 20 years ago.
Mr Hutchins said: “We’re in a two-bedroom house, next door is a two-bedroom, and all the three bedrooms down the street with the same frontage as mine are in Band B.
“The house next door sold in 1990, the year they did all the banding. That was sold for about £40,000 and they are saying my house is worth more than that one. I’ve got four children and, at one time, when we had poll tax to pay, there were six of us in here paying that.
“I think someone has put two and two together and thought ours is a bigger house.”
The question of whether he is paying extra council tax has caused extra stress for Mr Hutchins, whose wife, Pamela, 71, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Before her diagnosis, Mrs Hutchins took good care of the bills and Mr Hutchins has collected a paper trail demonstrating how much council tax they have paid since 1993.
He first discovered the discrepancy in council tax when his son, Wayne, 41, used a mobile app to look at what other houses in the street were paying.
Mr Hutchins, who has been helped by the Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “Everything was going fine until I found that out. I’m not trying to make it sound worse than it is, but when you’re in bed at night it catches up with you. I’m like a dog chasing my tail round.
“I honestly don’t know what they’re going to come up with, because I think it’s a fair bit of money I’m owed, and the way it has turned out with my wife it would help towards funding later on.
“I’m looking for the whole lot to be refunded, because the thing is, if I owed them that they would be chasing me. I have paid my taxes and I have worked for every penny.”
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