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Age UK Bury has received a number of calls from worried people who have been contacted by private companies that offer help in reducing council tax bills. At a time when many people are struggling because of the recession, the prospect of paying less council tax is a very tempting offer. However, Age UK Bury is urging that people should be extremely cautious of companies that offer to reduce your council tax.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is the statutory organisation that makes assessments about council tax bands. Some private companies have been claiming that the VOA makes a charge for a reassessment, but this is untrue. Some companies have been saying that you need an agent to act on your behalf with the VOA and this is untrue. Some companies have been known to charge an up-front fee and then do nothing, putting the blame on the Valuation Office for not taking any action. Most worryingly, some companies are just using the promise of reduced council tax as a means of gathering your personal details so they can empty your bank account.

You can get your council tax reassessed for free by following the instructions at this link. You do not need an agent to act on your behalf to do this and there is no need for you to pay anyone.

It is important to note that a reassessment of your council tax band could mean that your council tax band could go up, instead of down, and so you could end up paying more, not less.

NEVER feel pressurised into giving someone money for a service like this. If someone is pretending to be from the local council and offering this service, then please call the police. 

For more information, go to the VOA webpage : Valuation Office Agency online. Alternatively, you can contact the Manchester Valuation Office Agency, 17th Floor Portland Tower, Portland Street, Manchester, M1 3LD or telephone: 03000 501 501.

Further information