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Tackling your debts

How to clear your Council Tax arrears

Posted 01 March 2017 by Christine Walsh

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It’s really important to pay your Council Tax. Here’s what you need to do if you’re falling behind with this payment.

Are you behind with your Council Tax payments? If you are, it’s really important that you address the problem and get back on track. The consequences of not paying your Council Tax can be severe - even more so than not paying other unsecured debts. Not paying can lead to your council taking legal action against you and even trying to take the money directly from your wages or benefits.


Are you worried you can’t afford your Council Tax? Here’s what you need to do.


Get in touch with your council


As with any debt, the first thing you need to do is make sure you keep in touch with the creditor. So with Council Tax arrears, you should give your council a call and tell them you’re aware of the issue. Tell them why you’re having problems making the payments and what you can afford to pay each month.


Your council may suggest that you spread your payments over 12 months, rather than 10 to make them more affordable. If you can prove that you can’t pay what you owe, your council may be able to give you a one-off discount.


If your council can see that you are making every effort to repay what your owe – for example by agreeing to a repayment plan and then sticking to it, they are unlikely to take further action against you.


Help with Council Tax


There are some people that don’t have to pay the full amount of Council Tax due to their circumstances. Council Tax Reduction is available to some people on low incomes or who claim benefits. You can apply whether you own your own home, rent, are unemployed or working. So if you’re having trouble keeping up with this essential bill, it’s a good idea to see whether you’re eligible for any help.


In most cases you can’t include Council Tax directly in a debt solution. But, if you’re having trouble paying your Council Tax because of your unsecured repayments, then a debt solution might help. Because you’ll agree a lower payment towards your unsecured debt, you will have enough money left over for your essential bills, like your Council Tax. Speak to a trained debt advisor to find out which debt solution is right for you.

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.