Council tax payments
Council tax payments
If you’re over 18 and own or rent a home, you’ll almost certainly have to pay council tax. There are exceptions for some people in full time education or training, including student nurses, live-in carers and people with a severe mental impairment. Two adults living in a home pay a standard rate. A discount of 25% is available if you live on your own or there are not any other adults in the home. A discount of 50% is available if nobody who counts as an adult is present. If everybody is a full-time student, no council tax is payable. If you receive a discount in error, inform your council. You may be asked to repay it. If you do not inform the council, you could be fined. For more details, see the Gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/who-has-to-pay
Falling behind with council tax payments is known as being in council tax arrears. Council tax payments are a priority obligation, which means that the consequences of non-payment are more severe than for non-priority payments.
If you miss or underpay a council tax payment, after about two weeks a council will send a reminder. If you pay within seven days, the bill is paid. However, if you don’t pay within seven days, or it’s the third time you’ve been sent a reminder in a year, the council will send you a final notice demanding that you pay the balance of the year’s council tax.
If you don’t pay what’s due within seven days, the council is likely to start legal proceedings against you to recover the unpaid tax and may add its legal expenses. These proceedings include asking a court for permission to collect the debt from you, by means of bailiffs or subtracting sums from your wages or certain benefits. If bailiffs (enforcement agents) have contacted you, speak to Citizens Advice Westminster (contact details below) or see Citizens Advice, Stopping Bailiffs at Your Door.
As the process can move fast, if you’re at all concerned about your ability to pay a council tax bill, it’s prudent to talk to someone straightaway in the City of Westminster council tax office to discuss options. These may include spreading ten monthly payments over 12 months. If you’re on a low income or benefits, council tax support may be available. It may be possible to arrange smaller regular payments. Speak to an adviser at Citizens Advice Westminster to understand how much you may be able to pay – contact details below.
Covid update: City of Westminster Council has received special funding until 31 March 2021 which means the council can increase by a maximum of £150 the sum offered as hardship support to those people already receiving council tax support.
For more information, see Dealing with Council Tax Arrears on the Citizens Advice website.If you have missed payments on more than one priority debt, and want help deciding which one to deal with first, contact Citizens Advice Westminster (details below).
If you have council tax worries, call us on our freephone 0808 278 7834
Or help is available online (Our adviser will respond within 5 working days). Make an online enquiry