personal finance

Britons could be owed thousands in council tax as data shows some overpaid for 30 years

Dozens of households who spent up to 30 years overpaying their council tax are due thousands of pounds back in refunds. That’s according to an investigation which has found 79 households in the East Lothian Council region in Scotland are owed money back, while many other households south of the border could also be due refunds.

While many people’s council tax bills increased in April, figures show that nearly one million people have ended up paying too much and are actually due a refund.

Britons who have moved to a different area or experienced a change in circumstance are most likely to be affected and are being reminded to get in touch with their council to check.

The MoneySavingExpert website has a guide on how to check if people are due a refund and recommends contacting their local council if they think they have overpaid in error.

Gareth Shaw, deputy editor at, said: “While many councils do make an effort to track down those who have cash lying unclaimed, they are still staggeringly sitting on £150million worth of overpayments.”

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Meanwhile, millions of people are missing out on discounts to their council tax bill which could see them £900 a year better off.

Almost three million people (2.7m) are losing out on billions of pounds in council tax help according to charity Turn2Us.

Britons in receipt of certain benefits like Universal Credit and Pension Credit usually get a discount.

In total, ten groups of people are disregarded from paying Council Tax bills.

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Britons are usually disregarded from council tax if they are:

  • under 18 years old
  • on certain apprentice schemes
  • 18 or 19 years old and in full-time education
  • a full-time student at college or university
  • under 25 years old and get funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency
  • a student nurse
  • a foreign language assistant registered with the British Council
  • severely mentally impaired
  • a live-in carer for someone who is not their partner, spouse, or child under 18
  • a diplomat.


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