Dealing with debt in Scotland due to council tax can be extremely hard at the best of times. No matter how much we hate it, council tax is something that we all have to live with and the payments can pile up if you’re not too careful. In the unfortunate event of you not being able to pay your council tax for a while you may suffer various consequences. One of them is the possibility of a wage arrestment being issued, which takes money directly from your bank account in order to repay the arrears. There are a few steps you need to be aware of before this happens.
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If it’s been a while since you paid your council tax, and you’ve been given written warnings about the arrears, then a Sheriff Officer could be called in. Sheriff Officers enforce court orders and they issue you with a summary warrant which details the amount of money due and where the payments should be made. By receiving a summary warrant you’re likely to have also incurred a 10% penalty charge on top of the council tax debt.
Sheriff Officers have slightly more jurisdiction compared to Bailiffs in England. They can repossess items from your property to the value of what you owe and they can even enter your home if they hold the necessary documents. Sheriff Officers contacting you on the phone may ask for employment and bank account details, and it’s advisable not to hand these over if you want to avoid a wage arrestment.
Anyone in employment, apart from those serving in the armed forces, can have their wages arrested. For a creditor to use a wage arrestment they must have served a charge for payment and provided you with a Debt Advice and Information Package, which explains exactly what rights you have and encourages you to seek advice. Your wage arrestment isn’t legal unless this process has occurred.
Should your wages be arrested there are certain rules regarding how much money can be taken from your account. The amount taken is dependent on how much money you earn, and even wages that include commission, bonuses and statutory sick pay can be arrested. The deduction is based on a formula and doesn’t take any other debts or outgoings into account. Should your earnings change, so will the wage arrestment deductions, but you must always be left with at least 60% of your net income.
Fortunately there are certain debt solutions available that can override wage arrestments. This includes trust deeds and Debt Arrangement Schemes, which terminate the arrestment and end the creditor’s right to withdraw money straight from your account. If you’re worried about council tax arrears and are unsure about how you’re going to deal with mounting debt, seeking help from a specialist service such as Council Tax Advisors could help to resolve all of your issues.
Council Tax Advisors offers free and impartial advice to people suffering from council tax issues or any other form of debt. If your wages have been arrested, or if you’re worried that they will be in the future, then get in touch with a friendly member of our team today on 0300 302 1806. We can provide details about how best to handle your debt problems and give you peace of mind.