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Council Tax Debt & Arrears

If you are struggling with your council tax bills you are not alone. According to the StepChange Debt Charity, Council Tax arrears are one of the key debt problems for the households of Britain. A large number of people are forced to get into council tax arrears and end up entering Trust Deed, DAS or Sequestration arrangements if they are leaving council tax debt unsolved for a long time. 

Council tax debt is considered to be a priority debt that requires to be dealt with in a first instance. It includes taxes for your water, sewerage charges, roads, street lighting and rubbish collection. The amount of the council tax bill differs depending on your age, income, value of your house and who lives with you.

If you find yourself in a difficult financial situation and you are struggling to pay your council tax bill it is important to contact your local council and tell them about your circumstances. They might ask you to send them a copy of your bank statements with your income and outgoings to show your financial situation.

You might be entitled to council tax reduction and relief if you are on a low income, you live on your own, if you are above pension age or if you live with a student or a disabled person.

What happens if you miss your council tax payments?

If you don’t pay your council tax debt your local authorities can take you to the court to regain the money owed. In this instance you might have to pay all of your debt at once as well as cover the court costs and sheriff fees.

If you miss your council tax payments and end up in council tax arrears you will be sent a few reminder letters to cover your debts. If you don’t pay after receiving a reminder you might lose the right to pay your council tax bill in monthly instalments which means that you will have to pay a full one year’s fee.

If you continue to fail to make your Council Tax payments over a prolonged period of time then the council may decide to seek that the Sheriff Court make you bankrupt. Therefore it is very important to ensure that a large amount of arrears do not build up.

If you can’t pay your council tax debt and you are not sure what are your options contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or StepChange Charity for a free debt advice.