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Council Tax

Falling behind on council tax is likely to result in court action and a loss of your right to pay in monthly instalments.

Given that council tax relates to your premises, whether it be home or a place of work, it is vital that you keep on top of the repayments and avoid falling into arrears. However, if you have fallen behind, we have some valuable advice.

I’ve received my first council tax reminder – now what?

The reminder you receive will likely state the exact amount to be paid and will inform you of the consequences of not paying. If you fail to do so within seven days, you will lose your right to pay in monthly instalments and will consequently have to pay the remaining balance for the whole year.

A second council tax reminder has popped through… help.

As promised in the first reminder, the second will confirm that you must now pay the full outstanding amount and will give you fourteen days to do so. The ability for you to pay in instalments is at the discretion of the council in question.

Can I negotiate with the council?

If you have fallen behind on your council tax payments, contact your local council as soon as you can. If you’re having difficulty paying, be honest with them and explain your financial position. Follow that up with an offer of what you can afford to pay. This shows willing and you will find that they’ll hear you out.

I think my bill is wrong, though

Again, you must contact your council immediately if you think that is the case. You might be right, and to have arrears labelled against you which are incorrect is something you’ll need to rectify as soon as possible. However, bear in mind that the council will still expect you to pay your monthly instalments while they carry out their investigation.

What will the council do if I don’t pay?

If a court makes a liability order against you for your unpaid council tax, they can take enforcement action to recover the debt. That means they could dip into your wages and/or benefits in order to pay your council tax. They may also ask the court if they can employ the services of bailiffs.

Final thought on council tax

Not paying your council tax can result in a number of sanctions against you – all of which are very serious. At worst, it could result in a potential spell in jail if you are taken to court and the judge decides you don’t have a good enough reason to not pay your council tax.

As with any type of debt, start by contacting the organisation to whom you owe funds. Councils, in particular, will listen to your situation and you may be able to work out a repayment plan, thus avoiding any legal action.

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