If you owe council tax but cannot pay it, you should try to make a payment arrangement with the local authority. There are various ways to make a payment arrangement. Firstly, you can offer a lower amount than the full amount. This will allow you to avoid incurring further arrears and court costs. Secondly, you can ask your local councillor to intervene on your behalf.
If you are unable to make the full amount, you can ask for a voluntary payment plan. Councils normally take a single payment per month, but you can ask them for smaller payments if you are experiencing hardship. Lastly, if you still cannot pay the full amount, contact your local councillor or debt advice service to discuss your options.
When you make payments, remember to include the relevant reference number or liability order number. If you do not include these numbers, the council may allocate all payments to the current year’s bill, which could lead to a collection action. Alternatively, you may be entitled to a discount on your bill.
Failure to make a payment on time will result in a court hearing, which can include up to 3 months in prison. In some cases, the council may write off the debt if it can be proven that the person is unable to make a regular monthly payment. A court hearing can result in a jail sentence, a fine, and/or a warrant.
Your council will send you a reminder letter if you are behind on paying your Council Tax. It will give you 7 days to make a payment. If you miss the deadline for the second time, the council will issue a final notice. After that, they will take legal action to collect the full amount.
If you cannot make a payment, the council will arrange a means enquiry hearing in Magistrates’ Court. At this hearing, you will have to attend, and the magistrates will examine your circumstances and the amount you offer to clear the debt. This means that your right to make payments by instalments has gone.
In some cases, you may be able to make payments from your benefits. If you work for the council, your employer can also request deductions from your net income. These deductions can come from a number of benefits, including Income Support, Pension Credit, and Contributory Jobseeker’s Allowance. However, it is important to note that the council cannot use this method for self-employed people.
If you are struggling to make payments, you should look for council tax reduction schemes. There are a number of different schemes, and some of them offer up to 100% reductions. These are often available to those who are on benefits, and are suffering from financial hardship.