Scheme to recover unpaid Council Tax

22/07/2019, PR-9130

Council tax

Wakefield Council is participating in a pilot scheme to help recover unpaid Council Tax.

Wakefield is one of 29 local authorities taking part in the trial working with HMRC to be the first to use the information-sharing powers introduced by the Digital Economy Act (2017).

Through the trial, non-paying customers who are employed or have an income will be contacted to start paying their debts, or they will have their debt deducted directly from their earnings through their employer.

The Act allows councils to obtain employer and income information from HMRC for people who have failed to pay their Council Tax and have an order to pay by the local Magistrates Court.

The pilot allows councils to work with HMRC to share employment information that will allow Wakefield Council to help manage and recover unpaid Council Tax.

The pilot will last one year before being reviewed and a decision is made whether to roll out the programme to all councils in England and Wales.

In order to provide transparency about what data is being shared each pilot is registered on gov.uk.

Cllr Les Shaw
Cllr Les Shaw

There are 155,353 households in the Wakefield district and in 2018/19 the Council collected 95.4% of Council Tax. A total amount of £153.6million.

The Council already works closely with debt advice providers to support vulnerable residents who are struggling with debt.

Anybody who finds themselves in a position where they cannot pay their Council Tax should contact the local authority immediately to discuss their situation.

Cllr Les Shaw, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: "The majority of people in Wakefield pay their Council Tax every month which helps to pay for vital services across the district.

"However, there are others that are behind on payments. It could be that they have fallen on hard times and are unable to afford it and if this is the case, we are here to help. There is assistance that can be provided. For others who are dodging Council Tax, I say to them, it's time for them to play their part. We will use the power that this pilot gives us to hold these people to account.

"In these times of austerity when government funding has been systematically cut, all the residents of the Wakefield Ddstrict rely more and more on Council Tax to fund vital services and this is a time when everyone should do their part."

If anyone is struggling with debt and unable to pay their Council Tax please contact us on 0345 8 504 504 for help and advice.

Our office is open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm. Outside these hours you can leave a message with the Council's Contact Centre who will take all your details and pass them on to us.