What is Council Tax?

Council Tax is a charge made by your local authority (Council) to cover services which they provide for you. The amount of Council Tax that you must pay varies from authority to authority but all assessments are based on the property band that applies to your home.

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Council Tax is a priority spend and everyone of working age, except those with a severe mental impairment will be liable for some of their Council Tax bill.

Most bills are issued over 10 months, giving residents February and March as ‘free’ months. You can however request the bill is spread over the full 12 months to make the monthly payments less.

You can choose to pay weekly, fortnightly, monthly or in full, however you prefer. You can pay online, over the phone or at a local PayPoint with the barcoded bill everyone is sent around March/April.

You can request a new barcoded bill if you lose your old one, just by ringing the council tax number.

Reductions on your Council Tax

You can get a discount of 25 per cent off your bill if you are the only person living in your home.

You may then get Council Tax Support on the remaining amount, depending on your situation and income. To find out how much support you would get, you need to provide information about your current financial situation to the council for them to calculate your entitlement.

Failing to pay

Failing to pay your Council Tax is a serious offence and you could end up with big charges added onto the amount you have to pay, up to twice a year. This will just make your ability to pay even harder, so wherever possible, keep up to the current payments as council tax is a priority spend.

Continual non-payment will result in bailiffs coming to your home and removing goods. In extreme circumstances (or if you do not have goods to the value of your bill), you could be imprisoned for non-payment for up to 3 months.

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, Cash Wise can help.

How to apply

You can call Wakefield Council Revenue and Benefits Service and claim over the phone on 03458 504 504, or you can claim online.

Remember to ask for Council Tax Support when applying for housing benefit as they can be assessed together. If you are claiming Universal Credit, you should also contact the local authority and see if you can claim Council Tax Support.

If you are struggling to stick to the payments you are required to maintain, call Council Tax on the above number as early as possible as they may be able to help and informing them may prevent further action in the short term.

Exemptions from Council Tax

Your property may be exempt from Council Tax. This would be the case if you (and anyone else living with you) are severely mentally impaired and no one else could be liable to pay.