Councils in England and Wales can scale back or write off your council tax below Section 13A (1)(c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This has been referred to as “the most efficient-saved secret in council tax regulation“.
These Section 13A write-offs can be utilized if your home is uninhabitable on account of flooding or fireplace. But you’ll be able to additionally get a write-off if you haven’t any cash to pay your council tax after paying for very important dwelling prices.
This article appears at how to follow for a Section 13A aid on account of monetary issues, and the way to attraction if the council rejects it.
Do you’ve got a more sensible choice?
There could also be more straightforward, faster, extra sure tactics to get lend a hand together with your budget. So glance severely at all of your different choices.
Council tax is a precedence debt. That method you’ve got to pay it even though then you definitely can’t pay a mortgage or a bank card. A piece 13A utility shall be rejected if you’re nonetheless paying different non-precedence money owed.
First learn What to do when you have issues paying Council Tax.
Could you pay all of your precedence money owed and very important dwelling prices if pastime is frozen for your loans, bank cards and so forth? In that case, take a look at a debt control plan or a token fee plan.
If your downside is greater and also you don’t have sufficient source of revenue to pay your precedence money owed, communicate to a excellent debt adviser in regards to the several types of insolvency. A Debt Relief Order for instance will write off all of your council tax arrears and maximum of your different money owed as neatly.
A piece 13A utility is one thing to fall again on when different debt answers gained’t give you the results you want.
Most other people want lend a hand with an utility
Section 13A programs aren’t simple. Most other people would have the benefit of lend a hand with making an utility:
- you’re going to want an Income and Expenditure remark (I&E) – debt advisers are mavens at drawing this up. It will ceaselessly want to be a family I&E protecting your spouse’s source of revenue and bills as neatly.
- there could also be in a position different advantages you want to declare or a higher debt resolution that covers extra of your money owed;
- a letter from a debt adviser in give a boost to of your utility will turn out that you’ve got checked out your different choices;
- a debt adviser can arrange a “breathing space” if this is able to can help you.
So until you’re very assured and council tax is your best downside debt, I strongly recommend you communicate to a debt adviser.
It’s absolute best if the adviser is native to you.
Although the regulation is identical throughout England and Wales, other councils have other procedures. An area company could have enjoy with segment 13A programs to your council.
You can get loose native recommendation from your local Citizens Advice, a Law Centre, a provider run via your council or a member of Advice UK. In the remainder of this newsletter, I simply say “Citizens Advice” for brief!
Do this earlier than making use of for a council tax write-off
1) Get main points of your council tax arrears
Councils account for cash in tax years, which run from April to March the following 12 months. If you’re getting letters from the council or a bailiff announcing you owe £450, that can be your council tax debt for the final tax 12 months and you may additionally have arrears in different years.
Unless you’re 100% particular you best owe cash for the only tax 12 months, telephone your council tax division and ask them for main points of the entire council tax years you owe cash for.
2) Other discounts or advantages you’ll be entitled to
You can get a segment 13A write-off as well as to claiming different discounts comparable to:
- the 25% unmarried-individual cut price;
- your council’s standard Council Tax Reduction provisions for other people on a low source of revenue;
- a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to lend a hand together with your hire prices now not coated via Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.
Most councils be expecting you to have carried out for the entire different lend a hand you’ll be entitled to earlier than making a Section 13A utility. Your native Citizens Advice can advise what else you’ll be in a position to declare.
3) Find your council’s segment 13A coverage
If you follow for a aid, the council has to imagine your personal case. But councils will have to have a coverage that covers how they make a resolution Knowing what that is would possibly can help you write a higher utility.
Some councils give an explanation for their Section 13 A coverage on their web site. To in finding that is to use the hunt field for your council’s web site and search for Section 13A or Discretionary Council Tax Reduction.
If you’ll be able to’t in finding the rest on their web site, this doesn’t imply they don’t give segment 13A discounts – they simply don’t need other people to find out about them! So telephone or e-mail the council tax division and ask how to make an utility for a Section 13A Discretionary Council Tax Reduction.
Read the coverage moderately and take into accounts the way it applies to you.
If the council coverage turns out to brush aside your state of affairs, communicate to your native Citizens Advice. For instance, some councils say you’ll be able to best follow for a aid/write-off for the present council tax 12 months – this is fallacious!
4) Get an Income & Expenditure remark
A excellent I&E is necessary for making a a hit utility for a write-off. The purpose is to display you don’t come up with the money for to make an association to pay off the council tax owing, which is why it will have to be written off.
You can use National Debtline’s Your Budget software to draw one up. You can ship a reproduction of this to your council with the segment 13A utility.
Your I&E will have to both be balanced with source of revenue and very important expenditure about equivalent, or it can be in deficit together with your very important expenditure being higher than your source of revenue. It will have to now not display a surplus, because the council would be expecting you to use that to pay the council tax.
It has to be correct. You can’t build up one of the numbers in order that your place appears worse! You shall be supplying your financial institution statements together with your utility so this shall be glaring.
Expenditure to inessentials will have to be stopped. This comprises now not making any bills to non precedence money owed comparable to unsecured loans, bank cards, catalogues and your overdraft. If you’re recently paying a few of these, you want debt recommendation on preventing so that you’ve got extra money to pay to precedence money owed comparable to council tax.
If you’re making adjustments, eg you’re preventing paying a debt and a couple of subscriptions, then you’ll be able to come with a word with the I&E to say what you’ve got finished.
Your native Citizens Advice mean you can kind out precedence and non-precedence money owed. They can speak about your debt choices and what expenditure could also be accredited as “essential” via your council.
Making the Section 13A utility
Using the council’s shape
When the council supplies a shape, use it. When the council asks for particular proof you will have to provide this. Some councils ask on your financial institution statements, payslips, receive advantages letters and/or an I&E sheet produced via a native recommendation company.
If this turns out intrusive, take note that is a discretionary aid, so the council is entitled to ask for information about your budget. Your utility is most likely to be rejected should you don’t ship this, and also you gained’t win an attraction.
When the council simply says “send supporting evidence” with out a checklist, you will have to connect an I&E sheet and your two most up-to-date financial institution statements. If you’ve got a spouse, you want to connect their financial institution statements as neatly. If you’ve got a number of financial institution accounts, ship all of them – you don’t need the council considering you’ve got every other account with a lot of cash in it!
Also come with every other paperwork you suppose lend a hand give an explanation for your state of affairs.
No shape? Send an e-mail
Don’t do that in case your council supplies a shape for Section 13A programs. It simply wastes time because the council will almost certainly answer that you’ve got to whole their shape.
But if there is not any shape, you’ll be able to e-mail your utility to the council tax division. NB ship this to the council tax division itself, now not the advantages division.
Possible the explanation why the council will have to write off tax
The fundamental explanation why the council will have to write off your council tax is that your funds displays you wouldn’t have any cash in any respect to pay the council tax after paying on your necessities.
But your utility too can give an explanation for the reason for your issues and their impact on you and your circle of relatives. Here are some examples – there could also be different issues that topic for you.
- A selected lifestyles match (redundancy, illness, worrying obligations, divorce, financial abuse, industry failure, and so forth) could have led to your difficulties.
- If you want to now not get monetary lend a hand on account of Covid-19, give an explanation for why.
- If you’ll be able to have enough money to pay this 12 months’s council tax, however now not the arrears on earlier years, indicate that your funds has no surplus source of revenue and when you have to make bills against earlier years arrears, you gained’t be in a position to pay this 12 months’s tax.
- You could have to have a automotive on account of getting the youngsters to college or to be in a position to in finding a new task if there is not any appropriate public delivery.
- Where you’ve got made discounts on your bills, you want to give an explanation for this. And upload when you have mentioned your funds with xxxxxxxxxxxx recommendation company. A letter from the recommendation company in give a boost to of your utility might be useful. That letter may just point out when you have been getting lend a hand from a foodbank.
- If your well being (or your spouse’s or your youngsters’s) is crucial issue, a letter out of your GP could also be helpful announcing why this prevents you from operating and whether it is not going to fortify within the subsequent 12 months.
- Say if making an association to pay the council tax arrears would imply you’re not able to pay your hire. When your advantages are decreased on account of the ease cap, otherwise you aren’t in a position to declare advantages for a 3rd kid, or you’ve got a bed room tax penalty however there is not any different lodging you want to transfer to, give an explanation for the stress this places for your funds.
- If you’ve got a loan and also you aren’t but getting any lend a hand via Universal Credit, or if the lend a hand is best being paid at a a lot decrease rate of interest, give an explanation for this.
- If you can not transfer someplace less expensive on account of worrying obligations, or you’re in a space this is tailored on your wishes, or your home is unsaleable eg on account of cladding issues, give an explanation for this.
You don’t want to write a lot. The numbers are on your I&E, you’re simply giving an evidence.
The key issues to make are about why your source of revenue is low, why your bills are prime, how you’ve got attempted to scale back them and whether or not your issues are most likely to lift on.
Appeal to the Valuation Tribunal
The Valuation Tribunal considers all appeals about council tax issues. It is unbiased of your council and it’s loose to attraction to them.
You will have to make an attraction inside two months of having a rejection out of your council (or when two months has handed with out the council replying.)
If you don’t get a answer out of your council in two months you want to whinge to the council. But this may occasionally lengthen taking your case to the unbiased Valuation Tribunal, so it can be higher to ship the attraction to the Valuation Tribunal immediately.
Reasons to attraction
Did you provide the entire knowledge the council requested for? If your utility used to be rejected since you didn’t, you want to take on that, now not make an attraction.
You will have to attraction if:
- no reason why used to be given for rejecting your utility;
- the council turns out to have carried out a blanket coverage comparable to “we only give reductions for the current year, not previous years” or “we do not give reductions to people who are in work” – they will have to have thought to be your particular case and whether or not you’ll be able to pay the arrears;
- the council says it has used up the entire allotted cash for this type of aid – they aren’t allowed to restrict their discretionary discounts on this way;
- the rejection is unreasonable, the council turns out to have made a mistake or has neglected a key reality on your case.
If you aren’t certain, communicate to a native debt adviser:
- they are going to be in a position to can help you give an explanation for what to say at the attraction shape;
- they will also be in a position to get your council to droop enforcement comparable to bailiffs whilst an attraction is going via.
The attraction procedure
The attraction procedure is described at the Valuation Tribunal for England website. (There is a separate web site and procedures for Wales, see a native recommendation company for lend a hand with this.)
You need the web page for Appealing about liability – this isn’t the web page for appeals about Council Tax Reduction.
In your attraction you want to give an explanation for what you suppose used to be fallacious together with your council’s resolution and what you need the Tribunal to do – on your case, order the council to scale back or write off your council tax arrears.
If you suppose the council made a fallacious resolution, that is your likelihood to give an explanation for extra obviously why you haven’t any surplus source of revenue after paying for very important to make preparations to pay the council tax. As together with your utility to the council, you’ll be able to connect supporting proof.
An area debt adviser shall be in a position to can help you with this.
This booklet covers the attraction procedure.
You are much more likely to win an attraction should you attend the listening to. The listening to is much less formal than a court docket of regulation. You don’t have a solicitor to constitute you.
Some hearings are being held remotely. You will want a telephone or pc with a digicam and a microphone. See the Valuation Tribunal’s Remote Hearings page which has complete main points. A chum or adviser can attend with you.
Will this paintings?
Section 13A write-offs aren’t not unusual as a result of infrequently any person has heard of them! But in 2021 those discretionary write-offs could also be extra used as a result of such a lot of other people have primary monetary issues on account of the pandemic.
I don’t understand how most likely your utility is to be accredited via your council immediately.
Maximise your likelihood via getting debt recommendation to put in combination a excellent funds and make sure to aren’t making bills to non-precedence money owed.
Your council would possibly reject your segment 13A utility however in finding every other pot of cash they may be able to can help you with. This would nonetheless be a excellent outcome for you!
The Valuation Tribunal says about 1 in 3 or 4 appeals are upheld. This is throughout all varieties of court cases, there aren’t any statistics for discretionary council tax discounts particularly.
Maximise your likelihood via speaking to a debt adviser about your case and via attending the listening to.
Worrying about whether or not this may increasingly paintings isn’t a reason why to lengthen making an attempt if that is the most efficient way ahead for you!
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