Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I lodge a proposal for a disputed Council Tax Band.
To lodge a proposal online use the Council Tax Bands search on the Home Page (or your local Assessor’s Page) to identify the individual property concerned. Click on the address in the “Select Property” column and click on the “GO” button at the right hand corner of the page to bring up the Online Council Tax Proposals page where the proposal form and further detailed guidance to help you through the process can be found.
Complete the form, ensuring that, as a minimum, you identify: 1. Who you are, your contact address, your telephone number and e- mail address. 2. The date when you became the taxpayer at this property 3. The reason for making the Proposal (Appeal) 4. Your explanation of why you think the current Band is incorrect 5. The Band that you propose should apply 6. The date your proposed band should apply from.
You will receive an e-mailed acknowledgement (if you provide an e- mail address) that the Assessor has received your submission. The assessor will subsequently write to you to confirm if your proposal is valid or if further information is required (e.g., evidence to confirm that a new occupier complies with the six month rule). This acknowledgement will be accompanied by notes on procedure to be followed in dealing with the Proposal.
Note: In the normal course of events, you can only make a valid proposal if, within the preceding six months, you have become the owner or taxpayer in respect of the property. There are other instances when proposals may be valid and you will find information at the link below.
2. I have established that our flat is band “D”. However, that’s meaningless when it is not apparent how much this will cost per annum?
The amount charged for Council Tax in relation to each individual band will vary from Council to Council. You should therefore contact your local Council for information on Council Tax levels and billing arrangements.
Further general information on Council Tax and banding can however be found via the Portal by clicking here.
3. Is there any place where I can get information on the history of a valuation such as the reasons for a Rateable Value increase, when it was increased etc?
Use the Rateable Values Search facility on the SAA Home Page or on a particular Assessor’s Home Page and refine your search if necessary (using council area, street etc) to identify an individual property. Click in the “More Information” column to obtain a page providing further details of the subject you have selected. A history of changes made since 2017 can be displayed by selecting the ‘Valuation History’ tab. A note of the values that existed prior to 1 April 2017 is also available – further details of entries and values prior to 1st April 2010 may be obtained directly from the Assessor involved.
4. I am trying to clarify the breakdown of Non-Domestic Rates in terms of the percentage of the charge which can be allocated to given services, in particular the Police. Is this possible?
Collection of Non-Domestic Rates (and Council Tax) is the responsibility of local Councils. You should therefore speak to the Finance Department of the Council in whose area your property is located.
Each Council pays the Non-Domestic Rates it collects into a central “pool” controlled by the Scottish Government. The funds in the pool are then re- distributed amongst the local authorities, broadly on the basis of population. The amount which is re- distributed from the pool is known as the “distributable amount” and is set by the Scottish Government before the start of the financial year in question. It is based upon the forecast of the Non-Domestic Rates income and prior year adjustments and is therefore not guaranteed to match total contributions to the pool for that year.
More information is available from the Scottish Government website by clicking here:
5. How often is the data refreshed?
On average, data submitted to the Portal by individual Assessors is refreshed every 14 days. Further details are available by selecting Report 4 in the Statistics section of this site.
6. Where can I find information as to the ownership or occupancy of a house?
The SAA Portal does not contain any name information for residential property. Under current legislation Assessors are not required to hold this information. You can obtain information about ownership of property from the Land Register whose website can be accessed by clicking here.
7. Where can I find information on relief of rates such as small business rates relief?
You can obtain information from the Revenues Department of your local Council and information is also available on the Scottish Government website by clicking here.
8. If I fail to advise you of a material change of circumstances leading to an under-charge of rates, can I be prosecuted and do I have to repay any sums due?
Assessors may issue annual returns and other questionnaires about changes to property and failure to supply information may result in the imposition of a fine following summary conviction. Assessors have a legal right to ask for information about your property and failure to respond may result in a report being sent to the Procurator Fiscal.
Local authority Finance Officers who are responsible for collection of Non- Domestic Rates do have powers in certain circumstances to backdate the collection of underpaid rates.
If you have any doubts or questions about changes to your property which might affect the amount of Rateable Value and the payment of rates, you should contact your local Assessor as soon as possible.
9. How do I have my name added to the Electoral Register or apply for a postal vote?
Forms to apply to be added to the Electoral Register, or to apply for a postal vote, are available for download from the Portal through the pages for individual Assessors and ERO’s. In some cases this will involve using the link to the Assessor & ERO’s local website. In order to be able to register to vote by post you must already be on the Electoral Register at an address in the UK.
Forms to be submitted in relation to electoral registration do, however, require to be signed by each individual applicant and after download therefore forms require to be printed, completed, signed and returned to the appropriate ERO. Full address details for each ERO are available on the Portal by clicking here.
10. What do the markers “R” and “N” mean on the rates search?
These markers refer to the Residential and Non-residential apportionment in properties where there is a residential part which is liable for Council Tax as opposed to Non-Domestic Rates. This applies in properties such as Nursing Homes or Hotels where there are resident members of staff. The accommodation occupied by such staff is included in the total Rateable Value of the property which is then apportioned between the Residential and Non- residential elements.
You can also see other markers in some searches such as “M” which indicates the property is involved in the production of minerals (sand, gravel etc) which attracts an allowance in calculating the Rateable Value and “H” which denotes a property used for the breeding or rearing of horses which also attracts an allowance in calculating the Rateable Value.
11. Can you explain why Non-Domestic Rates are being revalued? When were they last revalued? When will they be revalued again?
The Rateable Values that form the basis for the calculation of Non- Domestic Rates are subject to a 5 yearly review or revaluation. The last revaluation was carried out with effect from 1st April 2017 and the next revaluation is scheduled for 2022.
The purpose of a Revaluation is to update Rateable Values to reflect up-to- date rental levels. The 2017 revaluation has been based on rental levels as at 1st April 2015 and the 2022 revaluation will be based in rental levels as at 1st April 2020. Each revaluation results in the production of a new Valuation Roll which contains revised Rateable Values for all Non- Domestic properties in each local authority area.
During the period between revaluations, Rateable Values for new or altered properties will be based on the “tone of the roll”. This means that the value will not be higher than it would have been if the property had existed in its present state at the time of the previous revaluation.
You can find further information about Business Rates and Revaluation on the Scottish Government website by clicking here.