Council tax clawback if homes sell too dear

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HOMEOWNERS who sell their properties for more than the amount they were valued at when the council tax was introduced may have to refund some of the tax they have avoided paying.

The Inland Revenue plans to examine all house sales to check whether the price a house is sold at is vastly different from the original valuation made in 1991.

A National Audit Office report disclosed last week that more than 1 million householders may be paying too little council tax because their band was wrongly assessed at the time.

But an Inland Revenue spokeswoman denied that many people would be affected by its move: 'If a person has a house in band A, valued at pounds 40,000 for the council tax, and it is sold for pounds 45,000, they would not be expected to pay back any tax.

'On the other hand, if the valuer had a complete mental breakdown in 1991 and the homeowner sold the same house for pounds 250,000, it would be reasonable to say that they must have been in the wrong band in the first place.

'It is the local tax office's duty to expect people to pay the correct amount of council tax.'

A difference of just one band - from A to B - would not warrant repayment, but one of three or four could, she said.

In nearly every case, the differences cited by the Audit Office were between one band and the next one up.