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Council Tax Arrears

If you can't make a Council Tax payment, make a list of everyone you owe money to (your creditors) and prioritise your debts so that you know which debts you need to pay off first. Next draw up a personal budget so you can work out what you can afford to pay each creditor.

Our panel of specialists can quickly advise you if you qualify for an IVA,
Debt Management Plan, Trust Deed or bankruptcy. Simply call the team on 0800 088 2147.
Alternatively take the online debt test and find your best solution. Find your best solution with the online debt test

You can then contact your local council and offer to make regular payments you can afford. When you reach an agreement it's important to honour it, so only agree to payments you can manage. You should also find out whether you qualify for help, such as Council Tax Benefit.

What if you still don't pay?

If you are unable to come to a payment arrangement with the council or if you make arrangements to pay but don’t, your council can ask the Magistrates’ Court for a ‘Liability Order’ (a demand for you to pay the full amount you owe, plus costs).

You have the right to attend the court and offer evidence as to why you are not liable for the debt. Even if you decide not to attend court, you should speak to the council or, if you prefer, your Local Citizens Advice Bureau. The council will try to come to a reasonable arrangement with you for payment but they cannot do that unless you contact them.

The consequences of ignoring a Liability Order

If the court makes a Liability Order against you, your council can take enforcement action against you in order to recover the debt.  This will usually mean either deductions from wages and benefits or the use of bailiffs, although bankruptcy and charging orders are other options.

Deductions from wages

Your council can order your employer to deduct a regular amount from your wages toward your unpaid Council Tax. If this causes you financial hardship, you can ask your council if they're willing to accept smaller payments.

Deduction from benefits

Your council may be able to apply for deductions if you are receiving Jobseekers’ Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit.

Bailiffs

Your council can send bailiffs to your home to seize property to sell. The money raised goes towards paying your debt, plus costs. The billing authority must send a letter two weeks before the bailiff’s first visit stating how much money you owe under the Liability Order.

You can contact the Council and the bailiffs and offer to come to an agreement on payments. It’s important to do this straight away, because if the bailiffs make a visit their costs could be added to your bill.

Court hearing

If your council has tried using bailiffs but your Council Tax still isn’t paid in full, they may apply to the Magistate’s Court for a warrant committing you to prison. The council will only take this step when other efforts have failed.

Before issuing a warrant of commitment the court must hold a means enquiry with you present. A warrant will only be issued if the court is satisfied that the failure to pay is the result of wilful refusal or culpable neglect. The maximum period of imprisonment is three months.

The court may decide to postpone the period of imprisonment on certain conditions, normally relating to payment of the debt over a period of time. The court also has the power to remit all or part of the debt. 

What To Do Next

If you have Council Tax Arrears, and have been threatened with a demand for payment or the treat of Bailiff action, then you need to get professional advice as soon as possible.

Expert help and advice when you need it most

Our panel of specialists can quickly advise you if you qualify for an IVA,
Debt Management Plan, Trust Deed or bankruptcy. Simply call the team on 0800 088 2147.
Alternatively take the online debt test and find your best solution. Find your best solution with the online debt test

Solutions to deal with Council Tax arrears:

Become stress free from as little as £100 pcm
With a Debt Management Plan you could simply pay one affordable monthly payment and no longer have to deal with your creditors..
See if you qualify  DMP eligibilty test
 
Write off up to 70% of your debt
If you qualify for an IVA you could:
Write off up to 70% of your debt
Freeze all interest & charges
Keep your house

See if you qualify  IVA eligibility test
 
Scottish Resident?- be debt free in 36 months
Be DEBT FREE in 36 months using Scotland's answer to the IVA.
See if you qualify  Trust Deed eligibility test
 
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DebtAdvice-Online.co.uk does not charge you any fees for our service, however the partners we work with help fund the DebtAdvice-Online.co.uk service. Our partners charge fees and those vary depending on the partner and the debt solution. Customers should refer to our partners' websites for more information regarding their services.

We will pass your details on to one of our debt partners who will contact you and explain all the options available to you. They will then be able to help you set up a debt solution which is right for you.

Debt solutions should not be entered into lightly - they affect your credit rating. Failure to keep up with repayments can result in bankruptcy or legal action. Different debt solutions have different risks attached to them.

The lender is not obliged to accept less in settlement of the debt than they are entitled to; nor to freeze interest or charges. It could result in the total amount payable increasing, or the period over which it is to be repaid increasing. Debt solutions affect credit ratings.

The debt products and solutions offered by our partners depend on your criteria and circumstances, including how much you owe and how many creditors you owe money to. You need to speak to a debt advisor to obtain a full assessment.

 
 
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