Council Tax and business rates recovery procedure policy

Payment arrangements

Taxpayers and ratepayers who are experiencing personal and financial difficulties and struggling to pay their council tax and business rates will be encouraged to undertake an income and expenditure analysis with the council to ascertain the best method and rate of recovery.

Taxpayers and ratepayers will also be advised of other organisations that can help with debt advice.

An individual's financial and personal circumstances will be assessed before any arrangement is made.

When agreeing an arrangement to pay with a taxpayer or ratepayer, Recovery Officers will refer to our guidance on vulnerability (attached appendix - vulnerability criteria).

We will make arrangements with the taxpayer, ratepayer or bona fide representative, including, but not limited to, husband/wife, partner, debt advisor, executor or solicitor. Arrangements will only be made with representatives, where there is written or express authority for the representative to act on behalf of the taxpayer or ratepayer whose name appears on the bill.

When making arrangements to pay the council will seek to clear debts within the financial year of the liability. Where this is not possible, we will seek to reach an agreement that allows, as a minimum, the payment of the continuing liability plus an affordable amount off any arrears. Arrangements will be assessed based upon the affordability and sustainability for payment and seek to ensure that the debt is paid off within a reasonable period.

At the discretion of our Recovery Section, a solicitor's undertaking that council tax arrears will be paid from the proceeds of a sale will be accepted as an alternative to setting up a payment arrangement.

Where a taxpayer or ratepayer makes an arrangement to pay but fails to keep to that arrangement, we will assess the circumstances of the taxpayer (if known) before taking further recovery action.

Whether the arrangement is made by telephone or by personal contact, we will confirm the arrangement in writing, clearly detailing the arrangement and the consequences of not meeting the payments.