Council tax arrears

Council tax is a priority debt because the council has strong powers to make you pay. This means you should pay Council Tax before paying non-priority debts such as credit cards or unsecured loans. If you live in your own home or in private rental accommodation and you're having difficulty making a payment, contact your local council immediately and explain the situation. The longer you ignore a debt problem, the worse the situation becomes.

If you're deployed abroad you can get Council Tax Relief (CTR). It will be worth just under £600 for an average six-month deployment based on the average Council Tax per home in England. At the end of your tour, take your Council tax bill to your Unit HR to make sure you get the CTR.

If you live in Service accommodation a contribution for Council Tax is deducted from your pay before you get it. If you're deployed abroad the deductions will stop, so that's more in your pocket.


Who pays what?

The amount of Council Tax you pay is based on the value of your home and the number of adults that live in it.

Only people over 18 can be made to pay the bill. If there is more than one person over 18 living in your home, the owner will normally have to pay the bill if they live in the home.

Money fitness tip

Contact the council if you are having trouble keeping up with your Council Tax payments. They may be able to agree a new payment plan with you. If you do this quickly, they may not apply for a liability order.

Joint tenants and owners may have to pay even if their names are not on the bill. If you are married, live with your partner or live together in a same sex civil partnership, both you and your partner will be responsible for paying all of the bill. This is known as 'joint and

several liability'.

Can I reduce my bill?

You may get a reduction if someone living in the house has a disability. Apply to the council for this. You can also apply to the council to get a discount if:

  • you are the only adult in the property; or
  • you share your house only with people who are not counted for Council Tax purposes.

You may be able to claim a rebate called 'Second Adult Rebate'. Check how this works with your local council.

What can a liability order lead to?

If the council get a liability order and you do not pay the amount stated, they can take further action against you. This is called enforcement action and can include:

Money fitness tip

Tell the council if you have applied for help with your Council Tax bill. The council may be willing to wait until your claim for help is dealt with before applying for the liability order.

Where to get advice

Many organisations, see Where to get help if you are in debt are independent and don't charge for guidance. Always get free, independent advice before using a commercial service.

Last reviewed: 18/06/2018