How do I check if my council tax will go up next year?

How do I check if my council tax will go up next year?

MILLIONS of households will see their council tax increase next April – here's how to find out if you're affected.

Two-thirds of English councils which responded to a BBC poll last week said they plan to raise taxes by as much as 9% next year.

That will add an average of £400 to household bills by 2026.

The government is set to announce its annual funding package for local councils this week.

Town leaders will then calculate how much they need to raise taxes by in order to cover rising social care costs.

Is my council tax set to rise?

Households receive their council tax bills in April, at the beginning of the new financial year.

Before then, it's hard to say which areas are likely to raise rates by the most – and which may keep rates frozen for another year.

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Changes to council tax are typically announced in the last week of March, giving homeowners little time to prepare for changes to their annual budget.

This year, for example, the changes were announced on March 25.

In the meantime, it's safe to say your council tax is likely to go up by around 2.5 to 3%.

That's because ministers are set to allow councils to charge a 2% increase – that's ON TOP of a 1% hike that will fund social care.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior personal finance analyst Sarah Coles told The Sun: "It will be up to individual councils how much they take advantage of this, but there’s a strong likelihood that many of them will.

"They’re wrestling with the enormous rise in the cost of social care, so they may well raise council tax as much as they possibly can."

Though it's not yet clear which areas will be most affected, Coles said there is likely to be a strong regional divide.

She said: "This year the average Band D council tax is £1,898, but someone on Band D in Westminster is paying £829 a year while someone on Band D in Nottingham is paying £2,226.

"This means a percentage-based rise in council tax hits those with higher bills even harder.

"A 3% rise in Nottingham would mean an extra £66.78, while in Westminster it would mean a rise of £24.87."

What can I do if I'm struggling to pay?

If you're having a hard time paying off council tax debt, there's may be help available.

Struggling homeowners could get thousands of pounds in council tax debts wiped as councils clear record levels of arrears, we revealed last week.

To do this, you must fill out a Section 13A application form, which can also be used to wipe your bill if your home has been damaged in a flood or a fire.

Crucially, though, it is down to individual councils to decide whether to knock cash off your bill – and some councils are better than others at offering the help.

When applying for the tax let-off, make sure you have evidence of your financial situation including bank statements, benefits letters and proof of your earnings.

Each council will decide on a case-by-case basis on how much they’ll wipe your debt off by.

Here are some more ways to save thousands of pounds on your council tax.

We've listed nine benefits you could be missing out on – and how to check if you're owed a government pay-out.

You might also be in the wrong council tax band – and paying hundreds more than you need to.

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