Council tax is a priority payment which needs to be paid regularly (or in a lump sum) and missing it can have serious consequences. If you’ve missed a Council Tax payment, you’re classified as being in council tax 'arrears' - this means you owe money to your council. Just as Council Tax is a priority payment, Council Tax arrears is a 'priority debt' meaning you need to pay it before other unsecured debts such as like credit cards.

What happens if you miss a Council Tax Payment?

You’ll get a reminder from the council about 2 weeks after you miss a payment. If you pay within 7 days, you don’t need to do anything else. The debt will be clear and you’ll be able to continue paying your Council Tax in instalments.

If you don’t pay within 7 days of the reminder (or if it’s the third time you’ve been late with Council Tax payments this year), the council will send you a ‘final notice’. The final notice will tell you to pay all of your Council Tax for the rest of the year within 7 days.

If you don’t pay within 7 days of the final notice your council will usually apply to the courts for permission to collect the debt from you. They might send a bailiff to your home or take money from your pay.

What happens if you can’t pay?

If you find yourself unable to pay your council tax, ask your council if they’ll let you pay your Council Tax in smaller amounts. You’ll probably be asked to commit to paying a regular amount each month.

Keeping on top of your council tax

It can be difficult to juggle a number of debts at the same time and you may drop the ball sometimes, but being organised when it comes to your debts can help you avoid the more serious consequences involved. Why not try using a budgeting tool to plan your income and expenditure and ensure that your priority debts are taken care of first.

If you are struggling to pay council tax, please call Aperture, we offer free debt advice. You can contact us on 0333 939 7919.

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