How To Cope With Council Tax – a fact sheet
Written By
Team Nucleus

SPANISH EDITION: Si usted quiere tener acceso a esta ficha informativa en español, clique aquí por favor:

Council Tax is a priority debt because local councils have strong powers to make you pay. In other words, you should pay council tax before paying non-priority debts such as credit cards or unsecured loans.

The amount of council tax you pay for depends on the value of your home and the number of adults living in it. If you are not sure who is responsible for the bill, please contact us for free advice.

How can you reduce your council tax bill?

Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to a reduction to, or discount on, your council tax bill. These are some ways to reduce your bill:

1. Council Tax Reduction

If you are on a low income, you may be able to apply for a Council Tax Reduction. Each council in England and Wales can create their own local Council Tax Reduction scheme. For more information, please check here:

2. Disability reduction

If you are on a low income,If someone living in the house has a disability, you may get a reduction to your council tax bill.  Contact your local council for further information on how to apply.

3. Discounts

You may be able to get a discount to reduce your council tax bill if: (i) you are the only adult in the property: or (ii) you share your house only with people who are not counted for council tax purposes. 

Examples of people who are not counted include: a full-time student or student nurse; an apprentice or someone on a youth training scheme (only certain ones apply); or someone with a mental disability who is getting certain disability benefits. 

4. Second Adult Rebate

You may be able to claim the Second Adult Rebate if you share your home with another adult person who: is on a low income; is not liable to pay the council tax bill; and does not pay rent to you. You can check whether you are eligible with your local council. 

5. Discretionary reduction

The council also has the discretion to reduce your council tax bill in part or in full. They can consider a discretionary reduction if you are liable for council tax reduction and there are exceptional circumstances, such as severe financial hardship.

What happens when you miss a Council Tax payment?

Your local council will send you a reminder notice about 2 weeks after you miss a payment. This notice will give you 7 days to pay – if you pay within 7 days, you don’t need to do anything else as the debt will be clear.  

If you don’t pay within 7 days, you will have to pay the whole year’s Council Tax instead, and will be sent a second reminder notice if you miss another Council Tax payment. The maximum of reminder notices is 2 per financial year.

Legal enforcement action

If no payment is made even then, your council will usually apply to the courts for permission to collect the debt from you - this is known as a ‘liability order’. They might send a bailiff to your home or take money from your pay.

The court can also take money from benefits payments like: Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit and Universal Credit.

If the court gives the council a liability order, you’ll have to pay the cost of the court fees. You might also have to bailiffs fees.  

For more information on legal enforcement action, please check the following:


SPANISH EDITION: Si usted quiere tener acceso a esta ficha informativa en español, clique aquí por favor:

Disclaimer: This blog is for general information only.
Nothing on this blog constitutes formal legal advice or gives rise to a solicitor-client relationship.
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