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Making a Council Tax Arrears Arrangement

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 28 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Council Tax Arrears Arrangement

It isn’t difficult to slip into arrears with council tax payments and this debt does cause worry for thousands of people. But council tax arrears arrangements can break down arrears into easily affordable monthly repayments.

UK Council Tax Arrears

Council tax arrears in the UK are a common household debt. Many people have found themselves owing years of arrears before local authorities have submitted them with an arrears bill. Missing years of council tax can easily occur due to people moving property and backlogs of council paperwork. Council tax debts are serious, and those in arrears can find court action taken against them for non payment. The court can order bailiffs to remove goods from the householder’s property if this debt is not paid. Court action can be avoided in most cases by arranging a council tax arrears repayment plan.

What Is a Council Tax Arrears Arrangement?

A council tax arrears arrangement is an agreement between the property holder and the local authority.An arrangement will allow the property holder to repay the arrears in affordable monthly payments. Council tax payments are usually paid in 10 monthly instalments; one missed payment will usually see a reminder letter sent to the property holder. Local authorities are usually not slow at sending out notices with demands for the full year’s payment if instalments are missed. It is in the best interests of the property holder to make an arrears arrangement if late payments do occur.

Council Tax Arrears Reminder Letters

Local authorities will send out two reminders for missed payments. The first reminder will give the property holder seven days in which to pay the instalment. This reminder will also state that if the missed payment is not paid, the property owner will lose the right to pay by instalments. The reminder will also state that the property holder will be liable for the entire year’s balance if the missed payment is not made within seven days. A second reminder letter will state that the entire financial year’s council tax will be required within 14 days.

Making a Council Tax Arrears Arrangement

Property holders who are in arrears should contact their local authority as soon as possible. Even after the second reminder letter has been received it is still possible to make an arrears arrangement. The final say over making a council tax arrears arrangement will be at the discretion of the local authority. The first step will be to either telephone, email or write to the local authority. Details of who to contact will be on the local authority’s website.

Emailing the Local Authority to Make a Council Tax ArrangementEmailing the local authority is a quick and easy way to set up a council tax arrangement. The property holder should state in the email that they would like to set up a repayment plan of affordable monthly payments. These payments can be added to the present council tax monthly payments. Property holders can suggest a monthly repayment figure but it will be up to the local authority whether or not they will agree to this amount. If the local authority does agree then they will set up the arrangement and send confirmation through the post.

Adhering to a Council Tax Arrears Arrangement

It is important that arrears repayments are realistic and affordable. Failing to maintain the arrears arrangement may mean the local authority will bring the matter to court. Property holders can also state a date when they would like to pay the arrears each month. Arrears and present council tax payments can be paid online by debit or credit card. Direct debit payments can also be set up to pay council arrears and cash payments can be made at local authority offices.

If a property holder fails to maintain an arrangement the local authority can use court action to recover the debt. Property holders will have the chance to explain to the court why they have not paid the debt. If a liability order is granted by the court this may mean that arrears will be deducted from the property holder’s salary. In extreme circumstances it can mean the court will order bailiffs to the property holder’s home to remove goods that can be sold to pay this debt. Contacting the local authority at the earliest possible point to make an arrears arrangement can mean that these court actions are avoided.

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