Since the introduction of Council Tax in England there has been a statutory right to pay over a maximum of 10 monthly instalments.
This right was accompanied by a power for the local authority to offer further instalment plans but that was always at their discretion.
The right to pay by 12 instalments
As of 01 April 2013 a change to council tax legislation introduced a further statutory right for English council tax payers (The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) (Amendment) (No.2) (England) Regulations 2012).
Regulation 21 of the Council Tax (administration & enforcement) regulations 1992 was amended to add the following
(1A) Where a liable person requests by notice in writing to the billing authority to pay the amount mentioned in regulation 20(2) by 12 monthly instalments paragraphs (1B), (1C) and (1D) apply.
(1B) Such a request may be made either before or after the demand notice is issued and may be made in relation to the relevant year or the year following the relevant year.
(1C) Where the request relates to the relevant year, a notice to which paragraph (1) of regulation 20 applies shall be issued as soon as reasonably practicable after the date on which the notice in paragraph (1A)is received by the billing authority and shall require the amount mentioned in paragraph (2) of regulation 20 to be paid by instalments in accordance with paragraph 2(3A) of Schedule 1 to these Regulations.
(1D) Where the request relates to the year following the relevant year, as soon as reasonably practicable after the date on which the notice is received by the billing authority, the billing authority shall write to confirm that from such date as is requested in the notice in paragraph (1A) the amount mentioned in paragraph (2) of regulation 20 for that year shall be paid by instalments in accordance with paragraph 2(3A) of Schedule 1 to these Regulations.
This addition to the regulations allow a person to pay their council tax over a maximum of 12 monthly instalments if the request is made in writing (a local authority could waive this and accept it verbally if they wish).
Can the Council refuse my request ?
Providing you have not lost the right to pay by instalments (for example, you’ve not paid a reminder notice or you’ve had a court summons) then you may make the request to change your instalment plan at any point during the year. The decision is that of the tax payer, not the local authority, and they must issue new demand notice which “shall be issued as soon as reasonably practicable…”.
Why haven’t I been given 12 instalments ?
You will only receive the maximum 12 instalments where a demand notice is issued showing a first instalment being due in April. If the instalments start later in the tax year the number of instalments will reduce accordingly.
Can I swap back to 10 instalments ?
Providing you have not lost the right to pay by instalments then you can request the Local Authority to swap you back to the 10 instalment payment scheme at any time.
Advice & Assistance from LGFA92
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This article is solely the view of LGFA92, the Council Tax agents and experts, based on our interpretation of legislation. Your local authority is free to dispute this view. A binding decision may require the intervention of a valuation tribunal.