Let residents know they may get help paying council tax

Mortgage, rent, council tax, fuel… these are the major bills that most households face these days. But if your residents struggle to pay their council tax there may be help at hand.

Boston Borough Council advises that the worst thing anyone can do is let their council tax get into arrears in the first place and then run out of control. Burying heads in the sand is not an option – council tax arrears NEVER go away.

But there may be light at the end of a gloomy tunnel. The council can check whether someone qualifies for any relevant discounts or exemptions. They may be able to get council tax support if one of these apply:

  • They are getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit;
  • They are getting either Income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support or Employment Support Allowance or award of Universal Credit;
  • The income taken into account is low enough to qualify and savings and investments are valued below £16,000.

Even if they own their own home and are working they may still be able to get this discount.

Pensioners and war widows of all ages can still qualify for up to 100 per cent council tax support.

And there is a second adult rebate if you share your home with another adult (not your partner or civil partner) who is unable to contribute towards the council tax, but only if you are considered to be of pension age or in receipt of a War Pension.

And if you are the only person living in your home, you may be eligible for a 25 per cent discount.

It is important to remember that council tax bills, issued by the borough council, include payments to Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Police, your parish Council and Boston Borough Council. Boston Borough Council keeps around 11 per cent of this to deliver its services; the rest is passed straight on to the other authorities.

A start at assessing how much help might be available can be made by using a council tax support calculator at https://bostonctr.entitledto.co.uk/home/start It only takes about ten minutes.

Also contact Council Tax, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support: Telephone enquiries: 01205 314202

Email: Council tax: revs@boston.gov.uk

Housing Benefit: housing.benefits@boston.gov.uk

If further advice on managing your finances and budgeting is needed contact Citizens Advice which will be able to offer support and advice. The number to contact is 08444 111 444

The DWP website at www.gov.uk/benefits-adviser has information about any other benefits or income that might be available.

Council Tax can now be paid over 12 months instead of over 10 months. Email revs@boston.gov.uk to set this up.

If you do not currently have a bank account, it may be a good idea to open one now so that you can arrange to pay instalments by Direct Debit. This will make payment automatic and could make payments easier for you to manage.