Debt and Recovery
The Council Tax account you receive is payable by 10 instalments in accordance with the statutory regulations (fewer instalments as the year progresses).
You may opt to pay by Direct Debit for convenience. The delivery of vital local services relies on payment of the Council Tax.
The Revenue section will always try to make a payment plan with you, but will not agree to payments which leave you falling further behind into even more arrears. You may be entitled to a reduction in your liability or if you are on a low income you may qualify for Council Tax Benefit.
You must pay the instalments shown on your bill even if you have a question about the charge, your Council Tax Band, Council Tax Reduction, Discounts or Exemptions. If you have a question you should contact the Revenue Section immediately, but until it is answered and a revised bill is sent you, must pay as originally billed. If a later amendment results in an overpayment it will be returned to you.
You may contact the following organisations who could give debt advice.
|Money advice service
Money Advice Service
Helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems
Money Advice Leaflet
Money Advice Service debt management helpline
Tel: 0300 500 5000
Money Advice Service
|Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
Helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems
119 Broad Street Barry
Tel: 0845 120 3756
National Debtline is a charity which gives money and budgetary advice entirely free.
This is because National Debtline is part of a charity called the Money Advice Trust.
Tel: 0808 808 4000
Free, confidential advice and support to anyone who is worried about debt
Free phone: 0800 138 1111
Step Change Debt Charity
|Money advice trust
Money Advice Trust (Stop the Knock)
Free, independent money advice to people with debt problems
Tel: 020 7489 7796
Money Advice Trust
Housing Debt Helpline Wales (StepChange)
Support for people who have difficulty meeting their mortgage or rental payments
Tel: 0800 107 1340
Housing Debt Helpline Wales
Help in Wales to start businesses or projects which value people and the environment as much as profit.
Tel: 0808 129 4050
Credit Unions Wales website
Wales’ people and homes charity, working for people in housing need.
PO Box 5002, Cardiff
Tel: 0345 075 5005
|Debt support trust
Debt support trust
Debt Support Trust is a not for profit debt charity (SC041902) with trained, friendly debt advisors ready to advise you on your available debt solutions.
Tel: 0800 085 0226
Debt Support Trust
What happens if I don't pay?
Failure to pay instalments
- If you are making regular payments, but are paying later than the dates shown, or if you miss an instalment you may receive a reminder giving you 7 days to bring your payments up to date.
- If you do not pay within the set time or if after a second reminder you fall behind with your payments again, we will issue you with a notice cancelling your right to instalments and requiring you to pay the outstanding balance in full.
- If the balance is not paid, we may issue a Magistrates Court Summons plus costs.
Court Summons and Court Hearing
- A summons may be issued if you have not made payment in accordance with the instalments shown on your Council Tax account, and you have not complied with the reminders, which have been issued.
- After the date the summons is sent then unless payment is made in full (including the summons costs) an application will be made for a Liability Order plus further costs and will be done in your absence if you fail to attend.
- Once a summons has been sent, special arrangements will only be made at our discretion AND only if you supply information about your employer and earnings once a Liability Order has been granted.
- If you are having difficulty paying and cannot pay the full amount on the Summons plus the costs you should contact the Revenues Section as further arrangements, including payment by direct debit, may be made.
- If payment is made by cheque it should be received by the Council at least 7 working days before the date of the Court Hearing otherwise it is unlikely to prevent the Council from applying for a Liability Order plus costs.
- It is your right to appear in court and tell the Magistrates why you feel you should not pay the Council Tax, however the Magistrates will not be able to consider your ability to pay. If you are going to attend the hearing, please advise the Council before the hearing and you may also wish to seek legal advice.
- If you dispute either the liability or the amount of the summons, you should immediately contact the Council's Revenue Section; however your attendance will still be required, unless your dispute is resolved to your satisfaction beforehand.
- Even if you decide not to attend court, you should speak to us, or if you prefer your local Citizens Advice Bureau. We will try to come to a reasonable arrangement with you for payment, but we cannot do that unless you make contact. Arrangements may be made, however the liability order and costs will still be requested at the scheduled Court Hearing.
- The following are not valid defences: You can't afford to pay: You have applied for Council Tax Benefit, Discount, Exemption or other reduction: You have an outstanding appeal with the Valuation Tribunal: You have not received the notices sent to you - The Council does not have to prove that you received them.
- If a Liability Order is granted by the Magistrates and you have not paid in full the Council will send you a notice informing you together with a form that you must complete and return with your income details. If you do not give this information you run the risk of being taken back to Court where a fine may be imposed on you. If you haven't paid or returned your income details within 14 days, Enforcement Agents may be instructed to visit you and you will incur extra costs.
- A liability order enables the Council to recover as follows:
Taking Control of Goods
- Enforcement Agents employed by the Council work to an agreed “Enforcement Agents Code of Practice” and can discuss your financial circumstances with you and can either request payment or enter an arrangement after Taking Control of Goods. The arrangement will include the Council's and Enforcement Agent's costs. If you contact them on receipt of their letter to make an arrangement they may need to visit your home in order to secure the debt first.
- If you have been visited before and have not kept to an arrangement, they will add further costs and may not enter into another arrangement with you.
- The Enforcement Agents will ask to enter your home to list your goods - this is known as the Taking Control of Goods. If you fail the arrangement the Enforcement Agents could return later to remove and sell your goods and further costs will be incurred for the removal of the goods, auctioneer's fees and the cost of storage.
- If you are unable to pay in full the Enforcement Agent has 3 options - A walking possession agreement where your goods will not be removed if you keep to the arrangements agreed with the Enforcement Agent; Close possession, by staying on the premises until payment is made or the goods are removed for sale; Removal of the goods immediately for their sale.
- If you fail to make contact, or if you have insufficient goods which can be removed, the Enforcement Agent will return the Liability Order to the Council for further enforcement action.
Taking Control of Goods Costs
The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 - Enforcement Fees Regulation 4 Table 1
Fee Stage Fixed Fee % fee for sum exceeding £1,500
Compliance Stage £75.00 0%
Enforcement Stage £235.00 7.5%
Sale or Disposal Stage £110.00 7.5%
Attachment of Earnings or Benefit
- The Council can instruct your employer to make deductions set as a percentage of your net earnings and pay the amounts deducted to the Council. your employer may also deduct an administration charge towards their costs in making each deduction and sending it us
- Employment details must be supplied and failure to do so could result in an additional fine of up to £500 for non-disclosure and £1,000 for supplying false information.
- Income support or Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based) may be collected by way of direct deduction through the Benefits Agency.
- If you owe more than £5000 you may be served with a Statutory Demand.
- Unless the balance due is paid immediately, the Council will continue to petition for your Bankruptcy, which will involve considerable costs. If you are made Bankrupt, the Official Receiver or a trustee appointed to act on their behalf will seek to realise any assets that you may have, to be sold, to pay off the outstanding debts which may involve substantial further costs and could result in the loss of your property or any other assets you may own.
- If you own a property, the Council may decide to place a charging order
- You may be forced to sell the property or the order will remain on the property until it is sold.
Committal to Prison
- If you have still not paid and taking Control of Goods proves unsuccessful then a committal summons may be issued for a Means Enquiry examination into your conduct and means at the Magistrates Court and you must attend otherwise an arrest warrant may be issued by the Magistrates.
- If you are found to have been liable as a result of wilful refusal or culpable neglect, the Magistrates may issue a warrant of commitment for a period of up to 3 months in prison and involve additional costs. The court also has power to remit all or part of the debt.
- If you are sentenced to a postponed term of imprisonment and fail to pay the amount decided by the magistrates you may be sent to prison without a further appearance.
If you are having difficulty in paying your Council Tax, get in touch with the Council Tax Section immediately on 01446 709564.Email: CouncilTax@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk