Solve Your Council Tax Arrears Problems
Council Tax Arrears Debt Advice & Debt Help
Council tax applies to all households in the UK. The amount we pay is used to cover the cost of local services such as refuse collection, policing, roads, and schools. It is collected for the council, including Adult Social Care, Police Authorities, Combined Fire Authority, and some parish councils.
Speak with your council as soon as possible if you struggle to pay your Council Tax or any council tax arrears.
You can spread your payments over twelve months instead of ten months to reduce your repayments – ask your council to set this up for you.
Your council may provide a one-off discount if you still can’t pay what you owe, and you check to see if you qualify for the following:
- a Council Tax Reduction if you’re on a low income or get benefits
- a reduced council tax bill if you live on your own
If you have Council Tax Arrears
Your council will provide a notice giving seven days to pay any council tax arrears. If you don’t pay within seven days, you’ll have to pay the whole year’s Council Tax instead.
You’ll be notified again if you continue to miss the next payment incurring further Council Tax arrears.
Typically, you will receive two reminder notices in a financial year. Each financial year will cover from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.
Finally, your local council will send you a final notice confirming payment due for the whole year’s Council Tax if you miss a payment for the third time.
If you continue to fall into further council tax arrears
The local council can force your employer to start paying any Council Tax arrears directly from your wages. This is called an attachment of earning.
Your council can also apply to take money from benefit payments, sometimes referred to as an attachment of benefits or a deduction of benefits.
Below is a list of benefits that they can collect any council tax arrears from:
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
If this means you need help to maintain the repayments to your other essential items of living, you can request that your council collect smaller payments. It is worth noting that your council does not have to agree; however, they will usually try to arrange it with you.
High Court Enforcement Agents / Bailiffs
Council Tax Bailiffs are enforcement agents authorised by the local council to collect outstanding council tax debt.
If you still need to pay your council tax and have yet to reach a payment arrangement with the local council, they may send an Enforcement Agent known as a bailiff to collect the debt.
Here are some things you should know about council tax bailiffs:
- Bailiffs can only be used as a last resort: The local council must take several steps to collect council tax debt before resorting to bailiffs, including sending reminders and final notices and offering payment arrangements.
- Bailiffs can enter your property: Council Tax Bailiffs have the legal power to enter your property to collect the debt, but they must follow specific rules and procedures. For example, they must give you notice before entering your property, and they can only enter during reasonable hours.
- Bailiffs can seize and sell your belongings: If you don’t pay the debt or reach a payment arrangement, the bailiff may take and sell your belongings to pay the debt.
- Bailiffs can add fees to your debt: If a bailiff is sent to collect the debt, they may add costs to the debt, increasing the amount you owe.
It’s essential to communicate with the local council and to seek help if you’re struggling with council tax debt.
Ignoring the problem will only make it worse, and a range of options are available to help you resolve your debt and avoid bailiff action.
If a bailiff has already been sent, it’s essential to take action as soon as possible to resolve the debt and avoid additional charges.
They can take you to court if the council can still not collect enough of your assets to cover the outstanding council tax arrears.
The court will assess and consider your circumstances and then decide if you:
- can afford to pay the bill
- or have a valid reason not to pay
Whilst this is very rare, you can be sent to prison for up to 3 months if the court decides you don’t have a good reason not to pay your Council Tax and refuse to do so.
If the court decides you have something to pay back, you may be able to arrange to pay your debt over time.
Know Your Rights
Many people need clarification about the rules and exemptions of council tax and what has to be paid. This is why our council tax arrears review has been created to help with all of the. At Debt Support Direct, we help with this. We offer advice, an overview of council tax and solutions for those struggling with council tax payments.
You can speak to one of our council tax arrears debt advisors, who can advise what options may be available by clicking here and applying online.
You can check to see if you qualify for debt help by speaking with a Personal Finance Manager by applying online.
Council Tax Frequently Asked Questions / FAQs:
What is council tax?
Council tax is a local tax in the UK that is used to fund various local services. It’s a property-based tax, meaning it’s based on the value of your property and the number of people living in it. The council tax you pay depends on the value of your property. It is usually divided into eight bands, each band having a different rate.
Who pays council tax?
Council tax is paid by anyone who lives in a property that is their primary residence. This includes homeowners, tenants, and those who live in a shared property. If you live alone, you’ll receive a single-person discount, which means you’ll pay less council tax.
What are the council tax bands?
Council tax is divided into eight bands based on the value of your property. The bands range from A to H, with band A being the cheapest and band H being the most expensive. The local council determines the value of your property, and it’s based on the property’s market value as of April 1991.
What services does the council tax fund?
Council tax funds a wide range of local services, including:
- Waste management
- Fire services
- Street lighting
- Community centres
- Local parks and recreation areas
- Social services
- Local roads and pavements
How is council tax calculated?
Council tax is calculated based on the value of your property and the number of people living in it. The amount you pay depends on the council tax band your property is in and the local council’s council tax rate. If you live alone, you’ll receive a single-person discount, which means you’ll pay less council tax.
What happens if I can’t pay my council tax?
If you’re having trouble paying your council tax, contact your local council as soon as possible. They can offer you a payment plan or provide you with financial assistance. If you ignore the issue, your local council may take legal action against you, including court proceedings and a court order to pay.
Can I appeal my council tax band?
You can appeal your council tax band if it needs to be corrected. To do this, you’ll need to contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and provide them with evidence to support your appeal. The VOA will then re-evaluate your property and decide whether to change your council tax band.
Can council tax be reduced?
Yes, council tax can be reduced in certain circumstances. For example, suppose you’re a single person living alone. In that case, you’ll receive a single-person discount, which means you’ll pay less council tax. If you’re disabled or have a low income, you may also be eligible for a council tax reduction.
Can council tax be increased?
Yes, council tax can be increased by the local council.
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Which Debt Plans apply to you?
We assess your circumstances based on your individual circumstances and will assess for all available debt advice solutions.
Please find below a list of debt solutions we will evaluate for:
- Debt Management Plan (DMP) – Information on a debt management plan
- Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) – Information on an IVA
- Debt Relief Order (DRO) – information on a DRO
- Bankruptcy – information on Bankruptcy
If you have used our online application form, we will contact you to run through your income and outgoings and discuss your options so you can make an informed choice. At Debt Support Direct, we offer all statutory debt solutions in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland so that you can choose the debt solution tailored to you and your circumstances.
If you have an attachment of benefits and have chosen the debt solution that you feel is the most appropriate, there will be some paperwork to fill in to put the debt solution programme in place.
Our debt advice is free, non-judgmental, and friendly, so if you are struggling with debt, speak to one of our experienced debt experts for a confidential chat on 0161 549 9848.
Free and impartial money advice is available from the Money Helper, an organisation set up by the Government for people in debt.
Debt Support Direct does not administer any debt solutions; we will assess your debts, circumstances and affordability and signpost you to an organisation or charity that can set up and help the debt plan you decide suits your circumstances.
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There are sources of free debt advice and services. You can find out more by contacting the Money Helper on 0800 138 7777 or visiting moneyhelper.org.uk
Here are some links to UK debt charities that can provide help and advice on managing debt:
Please carefully read the information on these websites to understand what services they offer and if they would fit your needs. Reaching out for help as soon as you start having difficulties managing your debts is important. These organisations can help you understand your options and work with you to develop a plan to get back on track.