Council Tax is a chunk of your wages that you really don’t want to pay, but have to. It’s used to pay for things like rubbish collection, road maintenance, and street lighting. For the many people finding themselves cash-strapped through the pandemic, a Council Tax break would be warmly welcomed. Express.co.uk spoke to Ms Pat Lewis, tax department manager at Intellect Tax – financial experts, specialising in tax and benefits to find out when you could get a Council Tax break.
What is Council Tax?
Council Tax is collected by local councils and is used to pay for services in communities.
Every property is placed in a Council Tax band from A to H, based on size, location, and a few other factors. Check your band here.
Some properties and groups, like full-time students, are exempt from council tax.
It is used to maintain local services, support the elderly and vulnerable, look after parks and streets, etc.
Council Tax pays for a quarter of local government spending.
Has Council Tax risen this year?
From April 1, 2020, households across the nation started paying around 15 percent more on their Council Tax bills.
The average Band D council tax in England for this financial year, for example, will be £1,817 this year instead of £1,750.
This means in England, homes have seen roughly a 3.9 percent increase, while homes in Wales have seen a huge 15.4 percent increase.
Homes in Scotland are paying an average of 4.1 percent extra.
She said: “The COVID-19 Hardship Fund was announced by the government on March 24, 2020.
“It allocated £500 million of new grant funding to support economically vulnerable people and households in council tax areas, ie those households already in receipt of LCTS.
“The fund was allocated to council areas based on their share of LCTS recipients compared to the rest of the country in quarter three of the 2019/20 tax tear.
“For example, if a council area had one percent of LTCS recipients in quarter three 2019/20, they receive one percent of the Hardship Fund.”
Ms Lewis added: “Using LCTS, each council can decide their own approach to discretionary council tax discounts or hardship schemes.
“Any unused allocation of the Hardship Fund can then be used at the discretion of local authorities to help the vulnerable in their areas.
“The government guidance suggests the fund could be used to give additional relief to LCTS recipients, but it can be used in broader ways via other schemes.
“The Hardship Fund payments cannot be applied for but will be distributed by councils issuing revised Council Tax bills to the relevant people in their areas.”
If you cannot pay your Council Tax bill, let your local council know as soon as you can. Head to their website and either give the relevant department a ring or drop them an email.
It’s always better to go to them before you miss a payment rather than once you have missed it.
Published at Mon, 18 May 2020 09:04:00 +0000