Council tax counts as a priority debt which means it is important to make payments or you risk facing severe consequences. If you fail to pay your council tax debt, you could be visited by bailiffs, money could be deducted straight from your wages / benefits, a Charging Order may be issued by court which will secure the debt against your home or the council might begin bankruptcy proceedings against you.
As these consequences are so severe, it is even more important to seek professional debt advice and ensure that you make your council tax debt payments over paying your non-priority bills (such as store card or credit card debt).
Getting Council Tax Debt Advice
When you first miss a payment to your Council Tax, you will receive a reminder from your local council, and if you can afford to pay the council tax debt, no further action will be taken against you. However, if you do not or can not pay, your local council could ask the magistrates’ court to grant a liability order. A liability order means that the council will be able to pursue ‘enforcement actions’ against you.
The first step in council tax debt advice could be to contact your local council. You will need to explain about how you intend to pay off your Council Tax arrears and whether your financial situation has changed. Ensure them that you plan to pay off the council tax debt as soon as possible by discussing your income and expenditure which will help you calculate how much is affordable.
Additionally you can enquire about your eligibility for a Council Tax discount. For example, you could get a discount if there’s only one adult living in the property, or if you’re on a low income. In some cases, you may even be able to backdate a Council Tax discount.
Additional Council Tax Debt Advice
Perhaps your council tax debt is unaffordable because your outgoings are too high due to your unsecured debts. If this is the case, you could benefit from a debt management plan which could lower your payments to your non-priority debts which will make your council tax much more affordable.
With a Debt Management Plan, you only pay what is affordable to you after all living expenses (including your mortgage and council tax) have been deducted.