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Tackling your debts

Attachment of Earnings (AoE) for council tax arrears - Part 2

Posted 25 September 2015 by Christine Walsh

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What is an attachment of earnings? Read our guide to understand how it could affect your council tax arrears.

Attachment of Earnings (AoE) for council Tax Arrears Part 2

Following on from last time, part two looks at how the council gets their money if you’re not working, and what you should and should not do if you’re struggling to pay your bill. So let’s crack on.

Attachment of benefits

It is also possible for the council to take money from your benefits before they reach you as well, this is known as an attachment of benefits. For them to do this you would have to be receiving Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), or Income Support (IS), or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Pension Credit Guaranteed Credit (PCGC).

What you should do if you’re having trouble paying your council tax

As soon as you think that you’re going to have trouble paying your council tax bill, you should contact the council and let them know. The council may also ask you to fill in a budget form so they can see what your incomings and outgoings are each month. They’ll use this information to try and make an arrangement to pay with you.

The council may also allow you to spread the cost of your council tax over 12 months instead of 10, which will reduce the monthly cost slightly.  

It’s possible that you’re eligible for a Council Tax Reduction if you’re on a low income of receive benefits so it’d be worth finding out if you are eligible first.

How much you pay for your council tax depends on what band your property falls into, and it’s possible that your property could be in the wrong band. You can check which band your property is, compared to that of the other people who live on your street on the Government’s website.

If you find that you’re on a different band to the other people on your street, with similarly valued properties, it may be worth challenging it. However, bear in mind that the outcome of a challenge can go either way. If the other people on your street are on a lower band than you and you apply to have yours moved down, you may find that the council decides to put all the other people on your street up a band instead. It has been known to happen before, so think carefully about what you want to do before you decide. 

If you are issued with a summons asking you to attend a court hearing, you can use this opportunity to defend your case, if you want and feel confident doing so. However, you’ll only be able to do this if you believe that the summons has been issued in error because you’ve already paid, that you are not being charged the right amount or if the summons contains errors regarding your information. 

What you should never do!

You should never bury your head in the sand and hope that your council tax arrears will go away – it won’t. If you continually ignore letters from the council the situation will simply get worse and worse as time goes by. And, unlike with many other debts, council tax arrears will never become statute barred, meaning the council will always have the right to chase you for the debt. So, the sooner you try to get things sorted, the better it is for you.

If you have found yourself in a sticky situation with debts and you need some professional help, why not get in touch with us and we’ll answer your questions. No matter how serious the situation has become there is always a debt solution to help.

 

 

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.