Advice on paying your Council Tax bill
Do I have to pay Council Tax?
If you have moved into, become responsible for or purchased a property you must inform us immediately advising of who is the responsible person for the property: can now do this online - Access your Council Tax Account online
You have to pay Council Tax for most properties. There is one Council Tax Demand for each property whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette or mobile home or houseboat and whether it is owned or rented.
The bill sent to you at the beginning of the financial year allows you to pay in 10 monthly instalments. Usually the dwelling's resident owners or tenants are liable.
Where two or more residents are joint owners or joint tenants, they are each responsible for paying the bill. In some cases, for example, houses in multiple occupation, non-resident owners may be liable.
How can Council Tax payments be made?
You can pay your Council Tax Demand in full at the start of the financial year if you wish. However, most people choose to pay in 10 monthly instalments starting in April and ending in January, usually on the 1st of the month.
When do I have to pay my Council Tax?
Council Tax demand notices are due in 10 monthly instalments from April to January. The date you must pay your instalment each month is shown on your Council Tax Demand notice. This will normally be the 1st of each month.
If you pay in a Bank or Post Office, or send your payment through the post, please remember that we will not receive your payment for a few days. Please allow for this delay when you pay in one of these ways.
What if i'm living in Merthyr Tydfil but have another home elsewhere?
The amount of Council Tax payable works on the principle of 'sole or main residence'. The liable person for any dwelling is normally the 'resident'; for Council Tax that person can be a resident in only one location - their main residence. This is where full Council Tax is payable or where claims for single person discount could be considered. In some areas of the UK this results in a 50% discount for the 'second' home because it has no 'residents'.
In Wales special rules may be applied for furnished dwellings that have no residents. In Merthyr Tydfil the Council has resolved that no discount is allowable for dwellings in this category.
Help to reduce your bill
We may be able to help you by reducing your bill:
- If you are on low income (even if you are working), you may be entitled to Council Tax reduction.
- If you are living on your own, you should be getting single person discount which reduces your bill by 25%.
- Sometimes, we can give you discount because we can disregard someone who is living in the property.
- If you are disabled, sometimes we can reduce your council tax bill.
We may be able to agree a revised schedule of payments which will be easier for you to keep to. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the problem – the sooner you get in touch, the better.
Can I change my payment date?
If your payment date is inconvenient, consider paying by Direct Debit as this gives you a choice of 3 payment dates (1st, 10th or 20th of the month). To do this please log onto: Access your Council Tax Account online
What happens if i don't pay my Council Tax?
If you receive a letter about unpaid Council Tax, do not ignore it – it will only make matters worse and the amount you owe may increase.
You pay your Council Tax by monthly instalments. The amount of each instalment and the date it must be paid by is shown on your bill. If you do not pay your instalment on the due date we will send you a reminder notice.
If the missed payment(s) are not then caught up within 7 days you will lose the right to pay monthly and the total remaining charge will become due. If, after receiving a reminder, you then bring your installments up to date but subsequently fall behind again, a second reminder will be issued.
If you fall behind again, you will be issued with a final notice (not another reminder) and the whole remaining debt will then become due within 7 days. Failure to pay after receiving any of these notices will result in a complaint being made to the Magistrates Court for the issue of a summons. This can result in further recovery action being taken against you.
If you receive a summons you are required to pay the sum due, plus costs, straight away. If you do not pay the whole balance before the date of the hearing, the Council will apply to the Magistrates Court for a liability order.
You will have the option to make an arrangement to pay the outstanding amount, including the costs. The agreed payments must be made on time if further recovery action is to be prevented.
Further Recovery Action
If, following the liability order you have not contacted us to make an arrangement for payment, we will issue you with a 14 Day Notice which must be either completed online (Council Tax Recovery Questionnaire) or the paper application be completed and returned back to the Revenues Department.
If you subsequently set up an arrangement but fail to maintain the agreed payments we will usually collect the amount you owe by:
- Attachment of earnings
- Attachment of benefits
- Using Enforcement Agents (formerly Bailiffs)
“Attachment” means we can ask whoever pays your salary, wages or benefits to deduct part of what you owe us before they pay you, until all the money you owe us is paid.
If we pass your account to an Enforcement Agent, they will charge you for visiting your property to collect the amount you owe. They also have the power to remove goods to sell at auction to recover the amount you owe.
We will however also consider the following options:
- Placing a charging order on your house
- Making you bankrupt
If you are having difficulty paying your council tax bill, please contact us straight away.