Council Tax Arrears

You usually have to pay council tax if you are over 18 and you own or rent your home. You will be issued with a council tax bill each March, or when you move in to your home (please contact us as soon as possible to let us know). The bill itemises charges and sets out an arrangement to pay by installments.

Unless you pay by direct debit, all installments are due on or before the first of each month. If an instalment is not paid on or before its due date, the account is in arrears.

If you are having difficulty paying your bill please contact us as soon as possible. We will try to make an arrangement with you to repay arrears. In some circumstances you may qualify for discounts or exemptions, or for council tax reduction and we can check that for you. Our Money and Benefits Advice team can also help if you are struggling to meet your living costs.

The information below details the actions we will take if your account is in arrears.

If an instalment is not paid on or before its due date a reminder will be issued requesting that the overdue amount is paid in full within 7 days.

Where there is more than one person in the household liable to pay Council Tax, legislation requires each individual to be issued with a reminder. Payment of the whole outstanding amount is the responsibility of all liable people. This means that we will persue you each individually for the full amount.

If you fail to pay the overdue amount by its due date, the right to pay by instalments is withdrawn and the total balance outstanding for the financial year must be paid within 14 days of the issue of the reminder.

If you are unable to pay the overdue amount, then you should, as a matter of urgency, contact us on  03000 200 292 in order to discuss a mutually suitable payment arrangement for the outstanding balance on your account. Failure to do so will result in your account progressing further through the recovery stages to Summary Warrant. Once this is granted, 10% will be immediately added to any outstanding balance and your debt will be passed to the Council’s Sheriff Officers for collection.

A maximum of 2 reminders will be issued in any financial year, i.e. if you receive a reminder for missed instalments and pay the outstanding balance by its due date then miss another instalment, you will be issued with another reminder. If you also clear this balance by its due date but miss another instalment later in the same financial year, you will not receive another reminder and your account will progress straight to Summary Warrant stage.

Where a Council Tax account has been closed, the full outstanding balance on that account is due in one instalment.

Payment is due within 14 days of the issue of the Final Notice.

If you are unable to pay the outstanding balance in full, then you should, as a matter of urgency, contact the Customer Services on 03000 200 292 in order to make a mutually suitable payment arrangement.

No further reminders will be issued. Failure to pay the total amount outstanding in full within the 14 days will result in an application being made to the Sheriff Court for a Summary Warrant. Once this is granted, 10% will be immediately added to any outstanding balance and your debt will be passed to the Council’s Sheriff Officers for collection.

If the full outstanding balance has not been paid within the 14 days allowed, an application will be made to the Sheriff Court for a Summary Warrant. No notification of this will be made as the Reminder or Final Notice has already advised you that this will happen if payment has not been made as stated.

The Local Authority provides the Sheriff Court with a list of debtors (with names, addresses and amounts due) against each of whom a Summary Warrant is required. When the Sheriff has granted the Warrant, the Local Authority is then allowed to add a statutory penalty to the account. This penalty, or Warrant surcharge as it is known, is equivalent to 10% of the balance outstanding on the account at the time that Warrant is granted.

The Warrant is then passed to the Sheriff Officers for collection of the debt.

The Sheriff Officers who act on behalf of Aberdeen City Council are Scott and Co.

They can be contacted at:

  • 16 Queens Road
    Aberdeen, AB15 4ZT
    Telephone: 01224 627170 or 0845 3458982

Or online at www.scottandco.uk.com, where you can make online payment, make payment proposals or request information or debt advice.

There are a number of methods by which the Sheriff Officer can collect the outstanding debt. These include:

  1. A payment arrangement between you and the Sheriff Officer.
    This is similar to an arrangement with the Local Authority, with regular payments being made by Direct Debit, Standing Order, Cash, Debit / Credit Card or Cheque.
  2. Arresting your Bank / Building Society account.
    This will result in your bank account being ‘frozen’. You will then have to agree to pay not only the balance outstanding on the debt at the time of the arrestment, but also the Sheriff Officer’s costs for administering the bank arrestment. If you refuse to release the monies due your bank can then be instructed to release these funds after 14 weeks. You will have no access to any monies in this account and no monies will be paid out of the account for Direct Debits / Standing Orders.
  3. An earnings arrestment against you.
    This will result in a set amount being deducted from your wages by your employer over a period of time in order to pay the outstanding amount due. As with a Bank Arrestment, any costs incurred by the Sheriff Officer in recovering the monies due will be added to the outstanding balance. Once an arrestment has been lodged with your employer it will remain in force until the total amount outstanding has been recovered, or until the Sheriff Officer cancels it.
  4. Inhibition.
    This can be applied for if you are in the process of selling your property. An Inhibition Order prevents the sale of the property and remains in place until you sign a mandate promising to pay off the outstanding debt – usually from the profits once the house is sold. Initially, a letter will be issued to you advising you that an Inhibition will be applied for through the courts unless you either pay the outstanding amount in full or sign the mandate, which is enclosed with the letter. You are given 5 days to respond to this letter before the Inhibition Order is applied for.
  5. Sequestration (bankruptcy).
    This may be considered where there is a total combined debt of over £3000 and other forms of recovery have failed. This may result in you being declared bankrupt which can seriously affect your ability to obtain credit.
  6. Attachment of Goods.
    The Sheriff Officers can be instructed to secure some items in your possession which can later be taken away and sold at auction. You will then have to agree to pay not only the balance outstanding on the debt at the time of the attachment, but also the Sheriff Officer’s costs for administering the attachment of goods. Goods inside a dwelling house can only be attached in exceptional circumstances and a separate application for this is required.

 

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