The basic meaning of council tax is that it is a system in the UK where local authorities collect tax on domestic properties. Though some properties are free from council tax, for some people, they don’t have to pay council tax. Furthermore, there is another set of people who even get a discount. Thus, here you will get to know whether you have to pay the council tax or not. And, most importantly, we will answer your most asked question “Can I pay the Council instead of the Bailiffs?”
What do you mean by Valuation Bands?
By the valuation office agency, all homes are given a council tax. A different amount of council tax is charged on every band. The local authority keeps a list of all the domestic properties in their areas. You can check the valuation on the official website or you can find out the details on your council tax bill. Also in the main office, you can check the valuation list in your local council.
Which Properties are Free from Council Tax?
Some of the properties are free from council tax. It is free either for a short period of time or for an indefinite. The list is given below, simple go through it to grasp the details:
- Properties that are condemned are free from council tax.
- The properties are free from council tax that are mortgage.
- Unoccupied properties are also free because the person might be somewhere else.
- Such properties where only students live can be a hall of residence or a house, which is exempted from the payment list.
- A boat or a holiday caravan is free if it is on a property where the council tax is paid.
- The property is free if the people who are living are under the age of 18.
- If people with severe mental disorders live, then the property is also free.
What are the ways You can pay the Council Tax?
As you got the answer “Can I pay the Council instead of the Bailiffs”, there are certain ways through which you can pay the council tax instead of the bailiff. The ways are stated below.
Payment by direct debit
This method of payment is very convenient. It saves you time as the bills are paid directly and automatically. Further, it is protected by the direct debit guarantee. And, it promises that if anything goes wrong then you will get back the money straight away.
You can make the payment through installments
Generally, the council tax is paid in 10 monthly installments. But, if you are facing any problem you can choose 12 installments over a full year. Normally in the first month, the installments are due. But the debit payers can choose the dates between the 1st, 8th, 15th, or 22nd of each month. One can also pay through half installments or for the whole year, you are going to receive a new bill. There it will be mentioned if the amount changes during the year, like the change, is due to discount, etc. This new bill will show the new amount and new installments as well.
You can also pay the council tax through online mode
Through online mode, you can also make the payment. They accept debit cards, credit cards etc. If you are paying online then you have to use some of the mentioned browsers so that your data is protected. They have a very high level of security. And, you are also advised to update your browser, if needed.
By using the phone you can also make the payment via bank
They accept debit or credit cards. The transaction is open 24 hours a day. And, it also has proper security. To make the payment through the bank you need to use a particular code and account number.
Who needs to pay the council tax?
The payment usually has to be done if someone is 18 or above. Also, if that person owns or rents a house. Married people can jointly pay the council tax. You can also count for a 25% discount if you are an adult if you live on your own, and also the eldest one. If no one is living in your home then you can get a 50 % discount. Even if everyone in your house is a student then you don’t have to pay the council tax.
What will be the consequences if you miss the council tax?
First, you are going to receive a notice sent by the council. This is a reminder notice where you have been given 7 days for the payment. Further, if you still don’t make the payment within 7 days then you have to make the entire payment at once.
And, if you miss another council tax payment then you will be sending another reminder notice. There will be a maximum of 2 reminder letters. Then the council can take legal action against you. The council can ask for a liability order if you don’t make the payment. The amount for taking legal action, the cost can also be added to the money that you owe.
Moreover, you can also take advice from local citizens. And after all these things, still, if you do not pay the debt, then the following steps will be taken against you.
- The council can collect the debt from your wages. Request the council to pay the amount in a small amount.
- The enforcement agents can come to your house. Their main job is to seize someone’s property if there is no other way left to recover the debt.
- They will tell you the amount you owe before their visit. The bailiff cost can also be added with the amount you owe the council.
- If you don’t pay the amount you owe the council, then your council can also take you to the court. The court will see whether you can afford the council or not. Also, you must have a valid reason not to pay the amount.
How to deal with the letters saying bailiffs will visit?
If you don’t pay the debt on time, then you can receive a letter from bailiffs that they will visit your house to collect the payment. This is the notice of enforcement. So, you are advised not to ignore the letter, as 7 days later the agents can visit your house.
They can also charge you fees so that you could end up owing more money. There are few things that you can do to stop them from coming to your house. And, the things are listed below:
- Only after getting the enforcement letter. The bailiff can collect the amount.
- If you have already asked the court for more time, then the bailiffs cannot collect the money.
- If you have problems, like — you are seriously ill or you have a mental health problem or you are pregnant or etc, then you have to follow the extra rules.
- If the enforcement date has been already extended by the court.
Check the enforcement notice properly?
First, make sure that you check the enforcement notice properly, check whether every information is right. If you see any information is wrong then you can complain to stop the bailiffs from coming, until the next notice.
You must have a valid enforcement notice. Below are some lists that you need to follow:
- Your correct name and address must be there.
- See the amount that you owe the council is rightly mentioned.
- In that notice, the visit period of bailiffs, i.e. after 7 days, must be mentioned.
- See that the bailiff is the registered one.
- The notice will be sent through post or fax or email or etc.
How to deal with the amount that you need to pay to the council??
You can stop the bailiff from coming to your house, but challenging the debt that you owe is not at all a good option for you. Further, if you think that you can pay the entire debt, you can also call the enforcement agents to pay the amount at once. By doing this your problem will be solved, and they won’t visit your house.
On the notice of enforcement, you will get the number of the bailiff, if you want to call them. After you have done the payment ask the bailiff to send a receipt it will work as proof if anything goes wrong in the future. If any situation arises where you can’t pay the entire debt then you can also negotiate with the bailiff. If you haven’t paid the debt nor made any payment arrangement. You can stop the bailiff from entering and taking your belongings.
How can you negotiate with the enforcement agent?
Keeping your budget and your situation you can make the negotiation with the bailiff. You can also set up a payment arrangement. Though your offers have been refused, still you should try to pay, as this gesture will help you a lot.
The bailiff will see that you want to make the payment and this will help you to negotiate with them. If the bailiff is already in your house, still you can pay them and stop them from taking your belongings. It will also help you not to pay the extra fees.
If a situation arises where you are unable to pay the debt and the bailiff is already in your house then you can go for a ‘controlled goods agreement’. The meaning of this plan is that you agree with the repayment plan and also you are going to pay some bailiff fees. You can also contact your nearest citizens for advice in case you face any problem.
So, this was all about council tax. The above information will help you a lot. And, you can make the payment in a different mode where the bailiff is not included. But, if the council wants they can take the help of the bailiff to get the money back. So, now you know “Can I pay the Council instead of the Bailiffs”, act now and pay all your debts.