COVID-19 - Council tax
Last updated: 26 March 2020 at 5pm
Following the government’s announcement of a new Hardship Fund to help vulnerable residents to pay their council tax, the borough council has now received further guidance on these measures.
All residents in the borough will receive payment free months in April and May 2020, instead of February and March 2021. No instalments, which includes direct debit payments, will be taken in April and May. Payments will resume in June 2020 and will be due over the 10 months from June 2020 to March 2021. You do not need to take any further action at this time to benefit from this change.
A recalculated bill will be issued in due course, confirming your new instalment dates. The recalculated bill will be issued in writing by post, unless you have signed up to receive your council tax bill by email in which case your recalculated bill will be issued by email instead
For those who normally pay by 12 instalments, your payments will be taken as 10 monthly instalments from June 2020 to March 2021.
If you pay by direct debit and would prefer to maintain your original instalment plan as per your current bill, please make manual payments of the first two instalments and contact us by email at the start of May (email@example.com), at which point we will recalculate your instalments for the remainder of the year to be taken by direct debit, as per your current bill.
If you pay manually (for example by phone, online, cheque or bank transfer), you may continue to pay in line with your current bill if you prefer. You will still receive a new bill with new instalment dates, however there will be no issue if payments are maintained in line with your current bill.
Working age residents who receive support though the Council Tax Reduction Scheme will also receive a further reduction of up to £150 on their council tax bills. This discount will be automatically applied to eligible residents’ accounts. You do not need to make a separate application for this reduction.
Frequently asked questions
- Are there any plans to reduce council tax as a whole due to COVID-19?
There are currently no plans to reduce council tax as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19, please visit the Policy in Practice welfare support page. This page will help you find out what support you may be eligible for if you impacted financially by the Coronavirus.
- I pay over 12 months - will I get two months for free?
For those who normally pay over 12 months, your payments will be taken as 10 monthly instalments from June 2020 to March 2021.
- Does this mean my monthly bill will increase?
Yes. As you will now be paying over 10 months, your monthly payments will slightly increase as you are paying over a shorter period of time.
- Do I have to do this?
No. If you would like to continue paying your council tax over a 12-month period, you can continue to do so. If you pay manually (for example online or by bank transfer) you can continue to make payments in line with your current bill. If you pay by direct debit, please pay the first two instalments manually, and contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org at the start of May, at which point we will amend your bill for the remainder of the year to be taken by direct debit.
- I currently pay over 10 months. When will my free two months now be?
If you pay over a 10-month period, your payment free months will now be in April and May 2020 instead of February and March 2021.
- Do I have to change my free two months?
No. If you still would like to have your payment free months in February and March 2021, you can do so. To do this, please continue paying in line with your current bill. If you pay by direct debit, please make the first two payments manually, and contact us by email at email@example.com at the start of May, at which point we will amend your bill for the remainder of the year to be taken by direct debit.
- I currently pay my council tax weekly. How am I affected by this change?
You can still continue to split your monthly amount and pay weekly, as long as the full monthly amount is paid on or before the due date indicated on your bill.
- I currently receive support through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Will this continue?
Yes. In addition to the existing support you receive through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, if you are a working age claimant you will receive up to an additional £150 off your council tax bill. This will be automatically applied to your account and you do not need to do anything further.
- Who is included in the Council Tax Reduction Scheme?
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme is designed to offer support households that are on a low income. For more information, please visit www.basingstoke.gov.uk/benefitadvice. This is not the same as single person discount.
- Does this support include OAPs?
The additional amount up to £150 off of council tax bills is currently only available for customers who are working age and in receipt of support through the Council Tax Reduction scheme. If you are struggling to pay your council tax bill, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How can I make manual payments?
There are a number of ways you can pay your council tax. Please visit our Paying your council tax page for more information on this. Please note, payments cannot currently be accepted at Parklands as the reception is closed to the public due to COVID-19. Please visit our website or refer to the back of your council tax bill for further information as to alternative methods of payment.
- If the pandemic continues, what is the long term solution?
We will continue to monitor the advice and guidance provided by Central Government. As further information becomes available, we will inform residents accordingly of any changes which may impact their council tax.
Council tax arrears
Please be aware NO council tax direct debits will be taken in April and May for any instalments due on arrears. You will need to make manual payments for any instalments due in April and May.
- I have an arrangement in place for my council tax arrears which I can no longer pay
If you have an arrangement in place and you don’t pay the instalments due we will continue to send reminders informing you that you have an instalment outstanding however we will not cancel this arrangement. We will allow you time to bring the instalments up to date. If you are unable to do this then the arrangement will cancel in June and we will inform you of this, at this time you will need to contact us to discuss a new arrangement, this can be done by visiting www.basingstoke.gov.uk/offer or email email@example.com.
- I have arrears on my council tax account which are with an enforcement agent which I can't pay
Please contact the enforcement agents directly, they will be able to discuss your options with you:
Telephone: 0330 363 9988
Telephone: 0845 658 5030
Ross and Roberts
Telephone: 01458 550480
Rossendale's Telephone: 0333 320 2155
Bristow and Sutor
Telephone: 0871 677 0070
Visit Bristow and Sutor website for contact details.
- I have arrears that I can't pay but are not on an arrangement or with an enforcement agent, what can I do?
Contact us to discuss an arrangement, this can be done by visiting www.basingstoke.gov.uk/offer.