Why did the Attachment of Earnings get issued
Local authorities are empowered in legislation with powers to collect council tax arrears for which a liability order has been granted by the magistrates court. Once they have obtained the liability order they are handed a range of powers, amongst which is possibly their most effective debt recovery tool. This is not the use of an enforcement agent, bankruptcy or a charging order but use of the attachment of earnings order (or two if you have more than one debt outstanding).
Whereas a bankruptcy or charging order needs further authorisation from a court, and enforcement agents are strongly regulated over their action and fees, the attachment of earnings order is based on your net wages and under the direct control of the local authority.
Why is so much being taken ?
The amount which can be deducted through an attachment of earnings is set in legislation. The local authority have no powers to vary this amount. Once an employer receives an order they are legally obliged to comply with it and deduct monies as soon as is reasonably possible. Any monies deducted will be passed direct to the local authority and offset against the value of the liability order.
A monthly allowance of £300 (£75 per week) can currently be earned before deductions are taken from your wages – earn more than this and an amount will be deducted. Deductions start at 3% and increase incrementally up to a maximum of 50% for higher earners.
For example, a person earning the average (net) national wage of £1700 per month would receive a deduction of 17% per month – £289. If they had a second attachment of earnings order an additional £169 would be deducted.
Can I appeal or halt the order ?
There is no appeal to the courts in respect of a Council Tax order. The local authority has the sole power to decide if they wish to cease an attachment of earnings order. You can ask them to do so – especially if you can propose an alternative payment arrangement – however they are under no requirement to do so.
The most effective way of avoiding an attachment of earnings order is to try to sort your council tax before it gets to the point of a liability order being issued. If you can’t stop the order being issued then you may benefit from a Section 13A write off.
Your ongoing Council Tax charge
You would be expected to continue to make any other council tax payments which are required alongside these deductions. This will include your ongoing council tax charge unless you’ve agreed other arrangement with the local authority.
Advice & Assistance from LGFA92
Good quality help with your Council Tax help dispute can be hard to come across – there’s a lack of independent, expert, places where you can get the help you need however LGFA92 are here to change that. For further, written, assistance on this matter we’d be happy to provide a quote.
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.