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Council tax debt is one of the fastest growing types of arrears in Great Britain. According to the latest data, about 30% of people cannot pay their council debts on time. Therefore, it is critical to understand the subtleties of the tax payment.
Moreover, if you’re struggling under the burden of a council tax debt while trying to start or run a business, the additional distraction can hinder your success in business.
Therefore, it’s important to know the ways to write off council tax debt. Additionally, you should know that you can legally reduce the amount of council tax to pay.
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Consequences of Being in Arrears with Council Tax Debt
If you did not make your regular payment on time, the local authorities can send you a reminder. In this reminder, they can demand that you make payment within the next seven days. If during this period you do not make a payment, you will have to pay the tax for the whole year.
If you continue not to make payments, your council may apply to a judge. They can obtain the right to withhold the debt from your income. Alternatively, bailiffs could confiscate your property for council tax arrears. In extreme cases, you might even go to prison.
If a council sends you three reminders of an overdue regular payment within one fiscal year, you will lose the right to make periodic payments. After the third reminder, you will need to pay the entire tax arrears. However, in practice, your council can continue accepting monthly payments if you pay on time.
If you are struggling with arrears payments you would probably like to know how to write off council tax debt. One way to do it is to apply for an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) between you and your creditor to pay back arrears. However, before you embark on such a plan, you should be aware of IVA pros and cons.
How to Reduce the Amount of Council Tax
Every year local authorities set the amount of council tax for all the categories of real estate. However, not all citizens have to pay the full amount of the council tax. There are three ways to reduce it:
- Disabled occupancy reduction
- Second adult rebate
Disabled Occupancy Reduction
If a disabled person lives in a house, whether that person is an adult or a child, you can reduce your household’s council tax. However, to receive this reduction, you must prove that your property has at least one of the following:
- An additional kitchen or bathroom to meet the needs of an incapacitated person
- Any other room (except for the toilet), which is mainly used by a disabled person
- Enough space inside a house to use a wheelchair
How the Discount is Calculated
How is the discount calculated? You will pay a council tax corresponding to a lower category of real estate. For example, if your house belongs to the D category, you will pay a tax of category C. However, the discount also applies to the category A of real estate.
You must submit the application for this discount to your council in written form. In some cases, you may be asked to show additional evidence of disability, such as a letter from a doctor.
Council Tax Discounts
If only one adult lives in a building, this person receives a 25% discount on a council tax. When counting the number of people who live in the same household, some of them are not taken into account.
You are not considered if you are:
- Younger than 17 years old.
- Suffering from a serious mental disorder.
- A full-time student, a student of a medical school or an assistant of a foreign language teacher who came to the country according to the British Council program. If a housing is occupied only by students, the council tax is not due at all.
- A spouse, a civil partner or a student dependent who is not a British citizen and, according to immigration rules, cannot work in the United Kingdom or qualify for benefits.
- In public training or an internship.
- A hospital patient with the prospect of prolonged hospitalization or a resident of a nursing home.
- A caregiver who lives with a person you care for.
- Living in a dormitory that cares for you because of your age, physical or mental disability, past or present alcohol or drug addiction, or a former or present mental disorder.
- A graduate of a school or college under 20 years of age who has completed training after April 30. You will not be counted when calculating the number of people living in a household before November 1 of the same year, regardless of whether you find work or not.
- In the military service of a foreign country. Persons who are in your care are not taken into account either.
- A member of a religious community.
If there is an uncounted person in a household, you pay a council tax with a 50% discount.
Finally, if you live with a person who is not liable for the payment of the consular tax, you can request a second adult rebate.
If you are looking for a way to write off council tax debt or you believe a discount may apply to you, don’t hesitate to contact your council or get legal advice. Remember, a council tax arrears is a serious thing. However, as this article suggests, you can avoid the worst aspects of neglecting it—including prison time—by being proactive now.