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COUNCIL TAX BAND MAY BE WRONG FOR TWO MILLION HOMES

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Two million properties in England and Wales may have been placed in the wrong council tax band, the National Audit ...
Two million properties in England and Wales may have been placed in the wrong council tax band, the National Audit says today, the Financial Times reports on its front page.

The figures suggest that 10% of households are paying the wrong level of tax, with 900,000 homes overvalued and 1.1 million paying too little. The figures are based on a survey of the real purchase prices of 12,000 banded properties which changed hands about three years ago - the date on which valuations were based.

The Financial Times claims the NAO figures appear to support the 914,000 claims to change bandings which had been lodged by the formal deadline at the end of November. Only 261,000 cases had been settled by the end of February.

According to the report by Sir John Bourn, the comptroller and auditor general, the Valuation Office - an agency accountable to the DoE and the Welsh Office- is aiming to have cleared up 730,000 claims by the end of this year, 21 months after the households concerned first started paying council tax. The remaining 184,000 properties will be dealt with in 1995.

In a separate development, the paper reports that John Gummer yesterday confirmed that three Labour-controlled councils - Langbaurgh-on-Tees, Sheffield and Slough in Berkshire - will be required to reduce their council tax levels by cutting budgets.
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