My first council tax bill of the year has come through and I know I’m not going to be able to afford it with so many other important bills to pay, let alone food. What should I do?
Council tax arrears are a “priority debt”, which means you need to pay them before other non-priority loans like credit cards. 14 days after you’ve missed a council tax payment your council can take you to court and request you pay your entire year’s bill at once. If you don’t pay, you’ll owe court costs and possibly bailiff fees as well as your debt, which can add hundreds of pounds to your bill.
It’s important to speak to someone in the council tax office about your situation immediately. You’ll probably be asked to commit to paying a regular amount each month. If you’re on a low income, you might be able to get a reduction on your council tax bill. You may also qualify for your council’s Hardship Scheme.
For more help, use the Citizens Advice budgeting tool or contact your local Citizens Advice.
Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens Advice on any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing, employment or any other problems. We have various outlets across South Lakeland and can also give advice over the phone – telephone 03444 111 444 for an appointment and help, 015394 46464 for debt and on-going enquiries. Please note the opening hours at Windermere have been reduced, but contact details remain the same.
South Lakes Citizens Advice is a registered charity,
No: 1118656 and company limited by guarantee, No: 6113551.