Manchester residents who want to check whether they are paying the right amount of Council Tax are being reminded that there is no need to pay commercial organisations to find out.
Manchester City Council is aware of a number of organisations offering a paid-for service to help people check whether they are entitled to discounts, exemptions or support with their Council Tax.
But while the vast majority of residents will be paying the correct amount, there is no need to pay to double check - the Council provide this service for free.
Individuals who may be eligible for discounts or exemptions include students, apprentices, single adults, carers, care leavers, and mentally disabled people.
Residents are able to view and apply for discounts and exemptions online and are encouraged to check if they are receiving all of the entitlements they are eligible for.
It’s especially important that claimants of Universal Credit are aware of the need to make a separate claim for Council Tax Support from the council.
The Council Tax Support scheme - funded by the council - provides means tested financial assistance to working age residents to help pay their council tax, which is not paid as part of a Universal Credit claim.
You can apply if you own your home or rent, are unemployed or working, and the quickest and easiest way to check eligibility is online.
In 2017/18 Manchester claimants of Council Tax Support are able to receive support to pay up to 82.5% of their Council Tax charge. Residents living in a band A property could claim up to £825.
Claiming Council Tax Support will not affect the amount of money received in other benefits.
Councillor Carl Ollerhead, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Finance, said: “A number of residents have recently reported being approached by commercial organisations offering - sometimes incorrect - fee paid advice purporting to reduce council tax payments. I'd like to remind residents that they are able to view and apply for discounts and exemptions online for free.
“We want our residents to be confident they are paying the correct amount of council tax without needlessly paying third parties for this advice. And it is hoped our Council Tax Support scheme will benefit as many people as possible so it's imperative our residents find out if they are entitled to this help. If you need help paying your Council Tax I’d urge you get online and check if you’re eligible for support.”
Each property in Manchester is in one of eight council tax bands decided by the government's Valuation Office Agency. If you think your home is in the wrong band you can find out how to appeal at: www.gov.uk/challenge-council-