Huntingdonshire District Council has once again been contacted by a number of concerned and confused residents who have received calls from national claims companies, more usually linked to Personal Payment Indemnity (PPI).

These calls are misleading in at least two respects: firstly, the calls state that the council has already agreed that the ‘banding’ of the taxpayer’s property is incorrect, and secondly, the cold caller requests an upfront payment, most recently reported to be £69.99, to ensure that the householder gets their refund.

The statutory duty to value all domestic property for Council Tax purposes lies with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) , not the council. The VOA can be contacted by calling 03000 501501, emailing cteast@voa.gsi.gov.uk or via the VOA pages of the government website. All these details are provided with every Council Tax bill issued by us.

Councillor Darren Tysoe, whose executive responsibilities include local taxation, said: "The appeal process is completely free of charge, and so residents should always be wary of any claims company or alleged ‘advisers’ asking for any monies whatsoever. Huntingdonshire District Council would never employ any company to cold call customers, and certainly not at the same time seek this type of ‘commission’."

We have previously warned of similar cold calls to business ratepayers offering to get them ‘small business rate relief’ or ‘retail rate relief’. These reliefs can be applied for, free of charge, directly from the council, and most conveniently with simple online applications via the Business Rates pages of our website.

For more free advice on these reliefs, ratepayers are encouraged to call the Local Taxation helpline on 01480 388030.