Council tax is a high priority bill and this means that falling behing on repayments can have serious consequences.
The amount of council tax you pay is dependent on the valuation or ‘band’ of your house. Tax bands range from A-H, and the more expensive your house is, the higher the tax band. If you are of pension age or on a low income then you may be able to apply for a council tax reduction.
Councils have extra-legal powers, meaning that they can apply to collect unpaid council tax from your wages or salary – and in some extreme cases, you can even go to jail for non-payment.
If you do happen to fall behind with your payments, it’s important that you contact your council right away to clear your arrears.
Council Tax Arrears
You will be sent a reminder letter if you are more than 14 days late paying a council tax payment. If you make the payment within 7 days of the reminder letter then you can keep paying your council tax in instalments. However, if you fail to do this you can be asked by your local authority to pay the whole council tax for the rest of the year. You are then given seven days to pay the whole amount. After this, local authorities can take you to court. Depending on your location, the court process differs. Learn more about how to deal with council tax arrears here.
Keeping on top of Council Tax
An important part of keeping on top of your council tax is to make sure that you have a proper budget for each month. Your council tax payments are a fixed amount, so make sure to always set aside the right amount in order to guarantee it gets paid on time and in full.
If you share the bill with other residents of the property, make sure they’ve also paid their share before the payment is due to make sure that you’re not left short.
If you are still unable to pay the arrears by the end of the year you need to realistically work out what you can afford and then contact your local authority. You can ask to spread the cost over 12 months rather than the usual ten, either in weekly or monthly instalments.