Problems with paying your bill
We realise that Council Tax can sometimes be a struggle to pay each month, and we want to help you. If you cannot pay your bill, let us know as soon as possible so that we can discuss option with you.
If you’re worried that you will not be able to make your payment, please contact us.
Let us know about your financial difficulties as soon as possible
If you’re having financial difficulties paying your Council Tax, it could be you are on a low income and could be entitled to local Council Tax Support. It might be that you are encountering temporary financial difficulties. Either way, you need to contact us immediately to discuss the various options available to you.
Section 13A (1c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 allows local authorities to, in exceptional circumstances, reduce the Council Tax liability for a charge payer. Statutory exemptions and discounts must first have been exhausted. If, after reading the policy, you wish to be considered for a discretionary reduction please complete the Section 13A form and email it to S13request@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.
If you're struggling with other debts or managing your money and would like advice, there are many organisations offering free services who may be able to help. For a list of these organisations, see the table at the bottom of this page.
What happens if you do not pay my Council Tax on time
Your Council Tax has a due date and, as our recovery process is mostly automated, if you fail to pay on time, you will be sent a reminder/final notice. However, if you contact us, we can discuss more suitable payment dates or extend your payments over 12 months instead of 10. If you're struggling to afford the repayments and have received a recovery notice, please contact us to discuss your options.
If you do not contact us and have received a final notice, the next stage is the issuing of a summons by the Magistrates’ Court. This will immediately add £90 to your bill. We will then apply to the court for a liability order. This adds a further £35 to your bill. These are the costs incurred by us for taking recovery action.
We would prefer not to take recovery action against any resident, but Council Tax must be paid. If you are struggling to pay and wish to try and avoid additional costs, you need to contact us immediately.
It may be possible to set up a 'Special Repayment Arrangement' for you. You will be required to provide certain information. You will also need to stay up to date with any ongoing instalments. Generally, any arrears will need to be cleared within six months.
A liability order gives us the power to:
- ask your employer to deduct an amount from your wages, there is an HMRC guide for employers.
- use external enforcement agents (bailiffs) - who will charge you £75 immediately, should they start recovery action against you, they will add further charges of at least £235 - these amounts are statutory amounts and cannot be refunded once charged
- ask the Department for Works and Pensions to make payments direct to us if you are in receipt of Income Support, Job Seeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit Guarantee
In some cases, we can register outstanding Council Tax as a charge on your property (like a mortgage).
If the matter still has not been resolved, we can also instigate bankruptcy proceedings or make application with the Magistrates Court for your committal to prison.
Independent free financial advice
Financial advice is available with:
- StepChange Debt Charity: free debt advice and solutions, support is provided over the phone or online
- Faithworks Wessex: budgeting support and home visits
- Christians Against Poverty Services: debt counselling, home visits, negotiable affordable payments with creditors
- Citizens Advice: help if you are in debt (they do not give general money advice)
- The Money Advice Service: debt advice
- National Debtline: free, confidential debt advice
- Payplan: free confidential debt advice
- Shelter: housing, legal and budgeting advice
If you're having problems paying your Council Tax, contact us and we'll try to help or put you in touch with someone who can.