Paying taxes is a crucial function that citizens have to carry out in order to provide the governments with the required funds to work towards their welfare. One such tax in the United Kingdom is the council tax.
How to pay council tax?
It is a form of direct tax payment made to the council for the local public services. It is charged based on the property that you are residing in. The local councils of each district and area in the United Kingdom offer multiple options to pay for the council tax.
A council tax is typically paid over ten months for the whole year in monthly installments. This amount is based on the value of your property, your council charges, your council tax band, and other details such as usage of the property and more.
It is vital to pay your council tax on time. You could be charged with penalties if you default or miss your payment for the third time in a year.
If you ever feel that it would be difficult for you to pay the council tax, you can always contact your local council and extend your payment period from ten months to twelve months. It will make the installments smaller and more manageable.
We shall now look into what are those payment modes and methods and how you can choose the best-suited mode for yourself.
Direct debit is considered one of the most secure, safe, and speedy ways to pay your council tax. A direct debit is an arrangement where the bank permits the third party to transfer money from your account on decided dates; paying bills is the main function of setting up a direct debit.
All you need to do is set up your direct debit, and it will automatically start deducting your council tax on the dates you choose. The government and councils give you a choice between four dates. You can either pay on the 1st, 14th, 16th, or 25th. It is a way with which you will never worry about missing payments or receiving penalties.
Suppose you wish to pay your council bill through an online mode with a debit or a credit card. You have to be mindful about not missing your payments every month with this method. To pay online, you will require your council tax account reference. You can find it by locating an eight-digit number on your council tax bill Inder the account reference.
You can even pay your council tax through a telephone. You can call the council number, which is available at any point. Make sure to keep all the details with you while making the phone call—details like bill or payment reference number and your credit or debit card.
A standing order is basically giving your bank an instruction to pay the council at regular intervals. The only downside with this method would be that you might have to contact your bank or your building society each month as the reference number changes each time you receive a council tax bill.
You will be obliged to provide your bank or building society the following details:-
- The council tax payment account number. You would be able to find this on the bill itself.
- How much tax do you need to pay
- The payment dates for every month
- The council’s bank details
Post offices allow you to make a free-of-cost payment. You can make a payment at any post office in the country, no matter your locality. You could also pay your council tax bill on any outlet that says ‘PayPoint’ through the barcode on the bill or by swiping your card.
All you need to do is tell them the amount you want to pay, select a mode of payment it can either be cash, or debit cards at Paypoint outlets, pay the amount or swipe the card, and take the receipt. It is essential not to throw away the receipt and save it for possible future purposes.
The best mode of payment
After considering all the modes through which we can pay the council tax, paying through direct debit is by far suitable for most people.
A direct debit is faster, automatic, and gives you a guarantee. You also do not have to worry about missing payments. The most important feature is that you get a choice of dates on which you would want to pay the bill. But with other modes, you will have to pay in the first week of the month since it takes time to process those payments.
What happens if you don’t pay?
The government of the United Kingdom and the local councils follow a four-step procedure if you cannot pay your council tax bill. The authorities might subject you to penalties and extra charges if you miss your payments. So you should always make sure you are on time with all your payments.
Here are the measures are taken in order to make sure people do not miss their council taxes.
If you miss your tax payment date, then a notice will be sent to you as a reminder to pay your tax with a seven-day extension.
If you have received a reminder two times a year, you must be careful with your payments. A third-time reminder notice in a year cancels the monthly installment system, and a whole year’s tax will apply to you in a lump sum.
The magistrate court will summon you if you do not pay the tax after the three notices. It will cost you an extra £90. There will be no further action if you pay the tax and summons before the court hearing date.
If you cannot pay before the hearing date, you will provide a liability order to recover the debt. The court would charge an additional £20 for a liability order. The council can use any legal method to recover the debt with the liability order.