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Council Tax Bands (Appeals Procedure)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Richard Lyle Richard Lyle Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on concerns that the appeals procedure for altering council tax bands is being applied inconsistently. (S4O-00799)

Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

Proposals to amend council tax bands are considered by the assessor for each area, and any appeals are heard by a valuation appeals committee when there is disagreement on the outcome. Assessors and appeals committees are rightly independent of the Scottish Government and must interpret the law in a way that is correct, fair and consistent. I would be concerned if individuals were not being treated fairly. Ministers remain of the view that the council tax system as a whole is unfair and that the best way in which to resolve that is to bring forward a fairer tax that is based on the ability to pay.

Photo of Richard Lyle Richard Lyle Scottish National Party

Lanarkshire Valuation Joint Board is refusing appeals in relation to wrong council tax banding based on an act that was implemented in 1993 and which states that appeals must be made prior to that date or within six months of a person moving into a property. Other valuation boards are not being so proscriptive. Will the minister write to the Lanarkshire board to request it to allow appeals that are outwith its rigid time limit?

Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

Some boards are considering appeals that are outwith the time limit that Mr Lyle describes. I repeat that it is not for ministers to instruct local organisations. The issue would be for the courts and, if relevant, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. We expect the law to be interpreted appropriately and consistently throughout the country. Mr Lyle might want to direct further inquiries to the organisation that I have mentioned.