Council Tax instalments are one of the main causes of disputes regarding Council Tax.
We will look at what you should be paying and some of the common questions which arise.
How many Council Tax instalments do I get ?
The short answer is , it depends !
If you are on a statutory payment plan:
If your Council Tax demand notice is issued so that your first instalment is in April then you will get 10 monthly instalments or 12 monthly instalments (if you’ve chosen that payment plan). Some local authorities may also allow you to pay weekly or fortnightly.
For each month later in the year the number of instalments will be reduced by 1 – bear in mind though that they must give you 14 days notice of a payment so you they may have to skip a month to make the next payment date. The same basic principle will apply if you pay weekly or fortnightly.
If a demand notice is issued where the first payment would fall in February or March then if you have a 10 month instalment plan you will only be given 1 instalment. The same basic principle will apply if you pay weekly or fortnightly. If you pay on a 12 monthly instalment plan you will continue to pay monthly across February and March.
If you are on a non-statutory plan made by or agreed with your local authority:
Within the standard framework of Council Tax payments being made between April and March, and allowing 14 days before a payment is due, then the local authority may agree a specific payment arrangement with you which is different from the standard statutory plan. In this case you need to check your Council Tax demand notice for payment dates but you should be aware that normal rules will still apply regarding missed or late payment.
Why have I been given fewer instalments ?
In certain cases, where you have a very small balance outstanding, the number of instalments may be reduced so that each instalment is ordinarily no less than £5 (if the total balance is less than £10 you may only get 1 instalment)
When should my instalments be paid ?
Unless your Council Tax Demand notice states otherwise then all payments are due on the 1st of each payment month and payment should be received by the local authority no later than date.
If payment isn’t received on or before the date shown then the local authority can issue a reminder notice and you may lose the right to pay by instalments.
Do I get really two free months ?
There is a common misunderstanding that Council Tax is not due for February and March. It is correct to say that, ordinarily, payments will not be requested in February and March however this is only because the Council Tax for those months is rolled up in the payments you have already made.
Check your Council Tax demand notice for further details on your payments as there are situations where instalments may still be due during February and March.
Can I choose the months I pay?
The simple answer is no – you can sometimes change the dates slightly by swapping between the 10 and 12 month statutory plans but other than that the decision is purely in the discretionary hands of the Local Authority as to whether they will allow a scheme which changes the payment dates (even with this they are limited as to what they can offer).
What if I move out of a property ?
If you move out of a property then any outstanding Council Tax will become due in one payment, no earlier than 14 days from when the Council Tax demand notice was issued.
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.