06, June, 2023

What do I need to know about council tax?

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What do I need to know about council tax?
It’s important that you pay your council tax bill each month. You can contact your local council to find which band you’re in.

Council tax is an important factor as a homeowner. It’s a fee that your local council charge for services in your area paid ten months of the year, but many factors can change the amount that you need to pay.

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What does my council tax bill depend on?

The amount that you have to pay for your council tax can differ massively depending on –

  • Your circumstances
  • What tax band you’re in
  • How much the council need.

Council tax pays for many things in your local area, such as –

  • The police and fire services
  • Leisure and recreation; the upkeep of parks and sports centres
  • Local libraries and education services
  • Waste collection and disposal
  • Transport and highway services, such as street lighting, cleaning, and road maintenance
  • Environmental health and trading standards
  • Admin and record-keeping; marriages, deaths, births, and local elections.

All of these combine to keep your area running, and paying your council tax funds them.

How do I know how much I need to pay?

Your monthly council tax payment will depend on the value of your house and where you live, amongst other things. If you’re not sure how much you should be paying or want to check an area that you’re considering to move to, you can check it on the gov.uk site.

Am I entitled to a reduction?

There are several reductions available for your council tax, and you may qualify if you –

  • Are on a low income
  • Are a student, or living with students
  • Live alone, or you’re the only adult
  • Receiving certain benefits, such as jobseekers allowance, income support, pension, universal credit, etc.
  • You or someone you live with is severely disabled
  • You or someone you live with is severely mentally impaired
  • Are a care leaver (this only qualifies in some counties of England)
  • Are a member of the Armed Forces
  • Are living in a care home or a hospital
  • Are in prison – unless you’re serving time for not paying your council tax.

If any of the above applies to you, you can contact your local council and see what they can offer you in the way of a discount on your council tax bill.

I think my house is in the wrong band – What do I do?

There are houses found every year that are in the wrong tax band, so if you think that your house is one of them you can ask for a review from your local council to check. If you do this, you should be prepared for one of three outcomes; your band may not change, so you have to pay the same, your monthly bill may be lowered, or it could be increased if they deem that you were in a lower band than you should be.

What happens if I miss one of my payments?

Missing even one month of your council tax payments can cause you a lot of problems. You run the risk of being charged the full year’s tax upfront, rather than your monthly payments.

It will vary area to area, but if you contact your local council and notify them that you’re struggling to pay your tax, they should try and help you. They may allow a late payment, or change your payments to pay over 12 months instead of the standard 10.

What if I don’t pay my debt?

Not paying your council tax is a serious offence. If you miss a payment, you’ll get a reminder around two weeks after the payment was due. If you pay this within seven days, no further action will be taken. If you don’t, or it’s the 3rd time that you’ve made a late payment, your council will send you a final notice. A final notice is a request to pay your full remaining tax bill for the year in one upfront payment.

If you receive a final notice and do not pay the bill in 7 days, your council will usually apply to the courts for permission to collect the debt themselves, called a liability order. The council can then contact your employer and have the debt paid directly out of your wages. If you’re on benefits, they can apply to have the debt taken from those too.

If they aren’t able to get the full amount from your wages, the council can arrange for bailiffs to come to your property. You’ll be charged the court fees as well as the debt you owe and will end up having to pay more. You can also receive a prison sentence for avoiding council tax in England.

Paying your council tax is essential, and it doesn’t take long to find out the band a property is in if you’re looking to move but aren’t sure what the monthly payment would be.

If you’re looking to move to a cheaper area as you’re currently struggling with your council tax bill but you’re having difficulty selling your house, contact us at We Buy Any House today for a free quote and see how we can help.

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