If you have fallen behind on your council tax payments, there are a number of options available to you. First, you can contact your local councillor or the Citizens Advice Bureau to explain your situation. You can also apply to the magistrates’ court for a liability order. This will give the local authority the right to recover debts from your assets.
Council tax is a priority debt and the consequences of falling behind on it are much worse than with other debts. The good news is that councils are generally willing to work with you to help you manage your payments. The best way to get this assistance is to contact your local council and explain your situation. It is worth mentioning that it is a legal requirement to pay your council tax in the financial year, which runs from April to March.
The council will need to see your budget before offering you a payment plan. Usually, they will want to see that you pay off your arrears within the same council tax year. However, if you are unable to pay within the agreed time, you can try to negotiate a written arrangement with them. This will enable you to show the council that you are unable to pay the full amount and you are ready to accept a payment plan.
When you have missed an instalment, you will be sent a reminder from the council. If you don’t pay within 7 days, you’ll lose the right to pay by instalments. If you fail to pay your entire balance, you’ll have to face the consequences of individual legal action. If you don’t pay, you’ll be charged with a 10% penalty on the total balance.
Alternatively, if you’re unable to pay the full amount of your arrears, you can request a means enquiry hearing. The magistrates will examine your reasons for non-payment and the amount you have offered to settle the debt. If you can’t pay, the council will send bailiffs to your home to enforce their decision.
The council can also apply for a liability order if you aren’t able to pay. A liability order is a legal demand for payment that gives the council more power to recover the debt. It is important that you talk to your council before the council takes action. It may be in your best interests to try to settle your council tax arrears out of court.
If you can’t pay the full amount, you may be able to make smaller voluntary payments. This way, the council will not take as much from your earnings. Often, you can ask the council for a reduction in the amount of your arrears. However, the council doesn’t have to agree to your request. Nonetheless, you should always try to contact your councillor and/or a debt advice service if you have fallen behind.
How to Deal With Council Tax Arrears was first seen on Help with My Debt