Category: Council Tax

How to Protect Yourself (and Your Possessions!) Against Sheriff Officers

*Knock knock…* – The sound of someone at the door usually make people jump up from the sofa and run excitedly to see who’s arrived.

However, when you owe Council Tax arrears or have the Sheriff Officers coming after you, a simple ring of the door bell can be a very stressful experience!

For those who don’t know, Sheriff Officers are the Scottish equivalent of Debt Enforcement Agents, AKA Bailiffs. Sheriff Officers who enforce debt Council Tax arrears are known to use heavy-handed scare tactics to try and repossess your wages and belongings.

But most people don’t know what you can do to protect yourself against Sheriff Officers.

Sheriff Officers will use broad and ambiguous language in their letters and when on your doorstep. This is to make it seem like they are all-powerful and you have to do what they say – or else….

In most cases, this is not true.

What Sheriff Officers are allowed to do is heavily legislated. There are also plenty of loopholes and Scottish legislation in place to protect debtors from over-zealous Sheriff Officers.

As long as you know your rights and act within the law, you can prevent sheriff officers from taking your belongings and arresting your wages – or at least stall them so you have time to seek advice from the experts.

Here are 3 things you can do to protect yourself and your belongings from Sheriff Officers.

 

1. Don’t tell them where you work

If you have unpaid debts, your creditor can pass these debts on to the Sheriffs, who will take out what as known as a “Summary Warrant” against you. This will give them the right to arrest your wages if you don’t act fast!

Sheriff Officers will take money directly from your wages – but they can only do this if they know where your wages are coming from. The simple solution is – do not tell them where you work.

A more zealous Sheriff Officer may do some snooping, so if you are on good terms with your neighbours, ask them not to give away any gossip about you to anyone they don’t know.

This is only a temporary solution, so make sure you seek independent advice to work out how to proceed.

 

2. Take your finances into your own hands

Debts, like your maw’s phone calls, are not something you can duck forever. A good solution is to bite the bullet and make sure you keep control of your finances.

Once you find out that you have a Summary Warrant taken out against you & before they have arrested your wages, call the Sheriff’s Office directly and organise an affordable payment plan. You can pay back your debts in small but regular instalments without the money being taken straight from your wages.

The Sheriff will want to see a budget that shows your income and outgoings. If you have trouble working this out, seek independent advice to make sure you can make the payments as affordable as possible.

This way you can keep all your wages and pay your debts on your own terms.

 

3. Don’t help them do their job

As good as it is to be polite and helpful to your fellow man, remember that a Sheriff Officers job is to collect your money through any legal means.

Do yourself a favour and don’t help out. Make sure you:

  • Don’t grant them entry to your home, unless they have the court order that allows them to do so. Sheriff Officers are like vampires – once invited in they can enter your house whenever they want.
  • Don’t give out any personal information, like phone numbers, bank account details, or even if you are who they say you are. You are not obligated to tell them anything.
  • Don’t leave anything in your front garden. Sheriff Officers can take bicycles, motorbikes & cars worth more than £1000 from outside your property WITHOUT a court order.
  • Don’t open your door to them. Talk through the letter box, an open window or, if you have to, your open door with the chain firmly on. This will help you feel safe against intimidation, and is perfectly legal.

 

While all this information will help you delay Sheriffs, you cannot run away from your debt forever.

To help stop Sheriff Officer’s calling permanently, you are going to have to seek expert advice to help clear your debts.

Luckily, Council Tax Advisors are a community interest company that will answer any questions you have about debt, sheriff officers and Council Tax arrears FOR FREE.

So if you have any questions about defending yourself and your property from Sheriff Officers, click the button below to get in touch with Council Tax Advisors for FREE advice.

Get Your Free Help Today

Why You Shouldn’t be Afraid of Sheriff Officers

It is widely known that Sheriff Officers who enforce debt collection use heavy-handed scare tactics to try and shake you down. But what sheriff officers are and are not legally allowed to do is not common knowledge.

Sheriff Officers are the Scottish equivalent to bailiffs, and act as debt enforcement agents to help private companies and local councils collect unpaid debt. Examples of these companies are Walker Love, Stirling Park and Scott & Co.

Sheriff Officers will use broad and ambiguous language in their letters and when on your doorstep. This is to make it seem like they are all-powerful and you have to do what they say – or else….

In most cases, this is not true.

While there are few rules on what sheriffs can say to you, what they are allowed to actually do is heavily legislated.

Sheriff officers know the law, and will try their hardest to work right up to the edge of what it allows. Luckily for you, there are a lot of simple precautions you can take that are well within Scottish law.

As long as you know your rights, you can prevent sheriff officers from taking your belongings and arresting your wages – or at least stall them so you have time to seek advice from the experts.

Here are 4 ways you can use Scottish law to stop Sheriff Officers in their tracks:

 

1. You don’t have to tell them anything.

The number 1. piece of advice to anyone getting threatening letters orvisits from Sheriff Officers – You are not legally obligated to tell them anything: not your name, not your current address, not your employer, and especially not your bank details.

No matter how reasonable or aggressive they may be – tell them you aren’t answering questions. Any information you give can be used against you. You can even deny that you are who they say you are. Withholding information gives you time to seek help and fight back.

If you still feel intimidated or have let slip vital information, the best thing to do is seek free expert advice.

 

2. Don’t let them in.

Unless a Sheriff Officer has been given a court order granted by the correct authorities, they have no right to be granted or force entrance into your home – DO NOT let them into your home, for any reason.

Ask for their identification, and tell them anything they have to say they can say on your doorstep.

If they have a court order, they are allowed to force entry if you don’t let them in. However, your creditor will have to pay for any broken locks or forced doors.

 

3. Don’t put up with their phone calls

Just like the rest of your personal information, don’t be fooled into giving debt collectors your phone number. If they manage to get your number, their constant calling could count as a form of harassment.

Send the offending Officers a letter quoting the Communications Act 2003 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and demand they remove your phone number from their database.

If you need help with writing this letter, call an expert debt advisor to get help.

 

4. They can’t take what they can’t find

Due to Scottish laws protecting debtors, the list of what Sheriffs CAN NOT take is much longer than the list of what they can. Put simply, they can only take non-essential, luxury items like stereos and televisions.

There are some circumstances in which Sheriff Officers can take your belongings, but they cannot enter your house to evaluate your belongings for auction without an “Exceptional Attachment Order”. An Exceptional Attachment Order requires a court hearing where you can go to defend yourself.

If they have the exceptional attachment order, you will be normally given a few days notice of when the Sheriff Officers will come to review your belongings. This would be a great time to let your friends borrow some of your more expensive electronics.

NOTE: Sheriffs can take belongings outside your house without an Exceptional Attachment Order, such as vehicles and bicycles. Parking your vehicle around the corner from your home and keep your bikes in the hallway may buy you enough time to seek help from an independent advisor.

 

While all this information will help you delay Sheriffs, you cannot run away from your debt forever.

To help stop Sheriff Officer’s calling permanently, you are going to have to seek expert advice to help clear your debts.

Luckily, Council Tax Advisors are a community interest company that will answer any questions you have about debt, sheriff officers and Council Tax arrears FOR FREE.

So if you have any questions about defending yourself and your property from Sheriff Officers, click here to get in touch with Council Tax Advisors for FREE advice.

Get Your Free Help Today

Life after a Trust Deed and Rebuilding Your Credit History

While so much is written about how to get out of debt once you’re in it, there is comparably less written about how to stay remain debt-free once you’re rid of it. Completing a trust deed will, ultimately, be an experience that conjures mixed feelings – the obvious feelings of relief that come from emerging out of a period of sustained financial difficulty accompany a sense of self-worth and pride that we can often lose during hard times. But along with these feelings comes an unavoidable anxiousness – what is the next step now that I am debt free? How do I begin to rebuild my financial status? What is a realistic outlook for my long-term future with a trust deed cemented on my records?

This manifests itself in your credit rating, a literal embodiment of your financial predicament. This shouldn’t, however, be perceived as such a bad thing. Your credit rating will lay out in no uncertain terms what is needed to be done in order to take the positive steps you need to make in order to complete financial recovery. The burden of debt is gone, and you will – rightly – feel revitalised. The important thing is to know how to channel this new-found hunger for life into further productivity, and this must start with tackling your credit rating head on.

So where do you start? Fortunately, with the help of a team of experienced debt consultants such as ours here at CTACIC, you’ll be able to work pragmatically towards your ultimate goals of recovery; to highlight the key areas we’ll help you deal with during this period. To start you off, we’ve compiled a shortlist of the most pressing matters you need to attend to in your final stage of financial rehabilitation.

Ensure your credit file is clean

We’ll start with a simple one – make an effort to remove any errors or irregularities that may have hurt your credit rating in recent years. Incorrect entries or false associations (such as being held accountable for the credit issues of a previous housemate or a credit hangover from a divorce) can have seriously detrimental repercussions if left unattended for a prolonged period of time.

If you spot any of these, send your credit agency a formal letter of disassociation. If you’re not sure what one of these entails, don’t panic –we’ll be able to help you out in drafting one and getting it sent off properly.

Circulate your Discharge Certificate

Once your Trust Deed has been completed and all the relevant paperwork has been signed by your representatives and the creditors, your insolvency practitioner will send you’re a Discharge Certificate which you will in turn need to circulate to the relevant bodies to notify them of its completion. These should be sent your credit reference agencies in order to cement the termination of the Trust Deed.

Register to vote

Whether or not you have any particular political affiliation, it’s advised you contact your local council and sign up to the electoral register as soon as you can. Why? It acts as a huge vote of confidence in your direction from prospective lenders and credit agencies that you may wish to borrow from in the future, as the official confirmation of your address carries a lot of weight in this regard.

Meet regular payments on time

Again, this may seem like a simple one but you will know more than anyone by this point how dangerous it can be to begin to habitually miss payments, no matter how big or small they are. Make sure that every single one is made on time, without fail – much like you have been doing over your period making your trust deed payments. Don’t kick the habit as soon as you’re out of the woods; you could find yourself right back where you started if you aren’t vigilant with this.

Get a credit card… on one condition

This is a huge step for anyone who has just come out of the other side of a trust deed, so it must be approached with serious caution. If you feel as though you have the peace of mind and the willpower that is required to resist the temptation of overspending and irresponsible financial decisions, then getting a credit card will prove to be a hugely sensible move on your quest for full redemption.

Of course, there is seriously damaging potential afoot whenever credit cards are bought into play, but this doesn’t mean they can’t help you out, too. Getting your credit rating back up can be done through a series of sensible credit card choices, and there’s no reason it can’t work for you. Use it to pay for a single medium sized expenditure every week, and then repay the bill in full as soon as it comes in.

Keep in close contact with the CTACIC

As we have mentioned earlier in the article, our team are always here to help you from the minute we pick up your case. Just because you have completed your trust deed doesn’t mean you may not need some help or guidance through some more testing times, so keep our number close to hand. Our advisors will be with you every step of the way to make the struggles of a debt ridden life a thing of the past.

How to get out of debt using a Debt Arrangement Scheme

The Debt Arrangement Scheme is available to residents of Scotland who are having difficulty paying back their debts. The scheme allows the debtor to make repayments at a slower, and much more affordable, rate and still allows them to live comfortably. There are some important factors you need to take into consideration before entering a Debt Arrangement Scheme, and they include the fact that any valuable assets you may own, such as a home or car, will not be affected in any way.

This makes the scheme an attractive proposition for many Scottish residents who are finding it hard to cope with mounting debt. With a Debt Arrangement Scheme you are paying back the full amount you owed minus any interest and fees, so the amount that you owe before you enter the agreement is the final amount you will pay at the end. This means that even though you’re making smaller payments and it will take you longer to repay, it’ll be much easier to keep on top of things.

Payments on the Debt Arrangement Scheme are designed to be affordable, based on what you can contribute after you’ve covered your essential costs. This includes mortgage payments, food and household bills. A Debt Payment Programme will be drawn up to show your creditors how much you can afford to pay each month, and once accepted they won’t be able to hassle you or take you to court providing you stick to the plan.

To enter a Debt Arrangement Scheme you must first agree a Debt Payment Programme, before a DAS Approved Advisor goes through your accounts and judges your ability to make the agreed repayments. Once the terms are agreed then the debtor can pay a lump sum every month, and as the scheme is enforced by the Government then creditors can’t take any further action. If a situation arises where you suddenly have less money at your disposal, such as through the loss of a job, then you will have a good case to apply for a variation in the scheme. However, if you simply miss payments without providing any warning then the agreement could be terminated within a matter of months, and your creditors could return to charging fees and interest on top of what you owe them.

Anyone entering a Debt Arrangement Scheme will receive some respite from debt problems, and it’s a lot simpler to pay off your debts when you have one, manageable monthly fee to keep on top of. However, the scheme will have a detrimental impact on your credit score, as although you aren’t missing any repayments, you are still arranging to pay them back at a later date than originally agreed. Another disadvantage is that debtors won’t be able to take on any more unsecured debts while the scheme is in place, unless allowed to do so by the administrator.

A Debt Arrangement Scheme can prove very useful, and it’s helped thousands of people across Scotland pay back their debts. However, before entering a plan like this it’s always best to seek out free, impartial advice from experts. At Council Tax Advisors we’ll listen to your situation and we’ll be able to inform you about the best route to take next. Together we can tackle your money problems and get you on the road to financial stability.

Dealing With Debt In Dorset

With polling day edging nearer and nearer the makeup of Britain’s next government is still unclear as both main parties seek to gain momentum before May 7. Since the last election the British public have been faced with much uncertainty due to spending cuts and a rise in personal debt. Reliance on credit is a well-known concern, but what options do UK citizens have when living costs are becoming more difficult to afford? What people need is an impartial and effective company to help them overcome their challenging financial situation. This is where our team at Council Tax Advisors can be of assistance.

We provide free support for Dorset residents and advise them about whatever debt problems they may have. Council tax rates have increased throughout the country with Dorset County Council recently announcing that this charge will rise in the 2015-16 financial year. Property tax arrears are problematic in several English counties and we are experienced at helping people solve their debts with sustainable solutions. Discounts have been cut in order to protect public services, but this has hampered people struggling to make ends meet with global instability affecting most nations. Our council tax repayment plans are realistic and affordable, allowing clients to erase their debts without taking risks. It is helpful to work out exactly what you owe before tackling the issue of debt and our team have the knowledge to help clients remove their financial worries.

Being in debt can be very stressful with anxiety building when outstanding payment reminders are met with warnings of bailiff action. As free debt advisors we clearly outline your rights regarding enforcement agents and their limited powers. It can be worrying enough when threats are written down on a letter addressed to you, but a bailiff turning up at your home easily intimidates people in debt. Just because you are in a vulnerable financial position does not mean that they should be let into your property. Once they have gained peaceful entry there is nothing stopping them doing so again in the near future. We discuss realistic repayment plans for our clients to prevent them being embroiled in difficult situations with bailiffs and enforcement agents.

Living costs have been difficult to stick to in recent years and rent payments can cause many to swiftly slip into debt. The value of properties has risen quite dramatically in the past decade and landlords have taken advantage by raising monthly fees. Being able to manage all of your monthly payments is tricky and causes some people to fall into debt. Those with lower incomes can receive housing benefits depending on their earnings, but this can sometimes be a false dawn and leave people worse off than before. Having to pay back money that people believe they’re entitled to often has a negative effect in the short and long term on Dorset residents among others scattered around the UK. For anyone struggling as a result of overpayments should contact a member of our team so adequate solutions are discussed. Making a firm decision can only occur when someone is decisive and our advice helps people achieve economic stability. Dorset residents can get excellent advice without paying a penny when they contact us at Council Tax Advisors.

We only want to help as many people as we can and do this by suggesting a range of debt relieving methods for every circumstance. Whatever your reason for falling into debt, you can count on us to provide efficient and impartial to support for people living in Dorset. For more information please contact one of our experts.

Are you in arrears with your Rent? If so, we can help!

The British housing market seems to become more expensive after each year passes and it is not just buying a property that prices many out. Renting, although a cheaper and perhaps more sustainable alternative, can be costly with landlords taking advantage of conditions. Whether you are a student or full-time employee, it can be difficult to afford this monthly charge particularly as living costs appear to be getting higher. Combining all of your outgoings can leave you in a difficult financial position, but don’t worry – we can help.

We recognise how challenging it is to live without financial worry in this day and age. Some people’s first instinct may be to take out a loan, but this will cost you a large percentage more with your repayments. Although the Financial Conduct Authority limited the powers of payday lenders in early 2015, the perils of falling into greater debts from using these companies are still rife. Unlike us they are motivated by making money instead of caring about the welfare of their clients. We offer free solutions for a range of debt causes so people can regain financial stability and get on with their lives.

Paying bills at the end of each month can be a stressful time with costs remaining high and wages, by and large, remaining the same. We realise how tough debt is, as we were established following our own experiences with bailiffs. Enforcement agents can increase the stress and strain that owing money brings, but contacting us is the first step in solving your money troubles. Rent arrears are more common than you might think. This charge takes a significant chunk out of people’s bank accounts and can leave people strapped for cash for a long period.

One effective way of solving your debt problems is by calling us at Council Tax Advisors. We are experienced at dealing with numerous cases involving debt and help clients regain confidence that took a hit after struggling to pay their rent. We work out affordable repayment plans that keep bailiffs away. If you wish to continue living in your home then the best thing to do is to call us – we are free and very trustworthy. Not many other reliable organisations can pledge these vital qualities.

There should be no shame in falling into debt, it happens to thousands of people. A quick and effective way of solving your rent arrears is not by visiting a payday company, but by talking to a member of our team at Council Tax Advisors. We are only motivated by restoring confidence to our clients and reviews tell us we are doing a decent job. The worst thing to do while in debt is to hope it will go away, talk to a helpful member of our team to sort out your rent arrears.

What effect will a trust deed have on my employment?

A Scottish Trust Deed can provide people with help when they need it most, sorting their debt out and allowing them to pay it off in manageable amounts each month. It can be a lifeline for many households, but some people remain wary of trust deeds because they worry of the effects it will have on other areas of life. One of these is employment, with many wondering if having a trust deed will impact their job, or any jobs they might apply for in the future. However a trust deed might not be as detrimental to your chances of employment as you think.

An employer doesn’t always have to know that you have a trust deed, and unless your employer is one of your creditors then it’s highly unlikely they’ll find out. Your name will be published in the Edinburgh Gazette along with thousands of other notices, but unless they’re trawling through it from cover to cover it’s doubtful that they’ll realise. However there are some professions which will come with a contract of employment stating that you are not allowed to be sequestrated or involved in a form of insolvency. These professions include the Police, Fire Service and sometimes the Prison Service. Positions where you’re handling money might also have concerns if you have a trust deed.

This is because you’ll have access to a large amount of information and money, so unmanageable levels of personal debt might not show you in the best light. If you are involved in any of these professions then it’s recommended that you check your contact of employment to see the specific rules that apply for you. If an employer finds out that you have a trust deed then it’s unlikely that you’ll lose your job, as in most cases it doesn’t impact your ability to perform in a role. If you’re involved in one of the positions discussed above then it would be worth having a confidential talk with someone at your work who can tell you the impact a trust deed will have.

When it comes to getting a new job, a trust deed will only affect your chances of employment if you’re applying for the Police, Fire Service, Prison Service, or jobs where you’ll be handling money. You might also find it hard to get work if you are a self-employed contractor applying for council contracts, as you may have to go through financial checks along with other contractors in your team.

Before you apply for a trust deed it’s worth getting advice about employment, so that you can know for sure whether your job will be affected and if your chances of finding a new job will be impacted. At Council Tax Advisors we make it our mission to provide free, impartial debt advice that covers a wide range of problems. Contact a friendly member of our team today for expert guidance over trust deeds.

How to Get Out of Debt Using a Trust Deed

 

A protected trust deed is the equivalent of the IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) in Scotland. It is a legally governed procedure where you can begin to repay you debt over a specified period of time. Most of the monthly payments will be based on what you can afford and after the period of your Trust Deed has ended, any remaining debt is written off. The popularity of trust deeds are increasing all the time due to how effective they are at eliminating debt problems. A trust deed is a fast way of getting out of debt with a minimal amount of stress. Your creditors will want you to deal with debt the long and hard way, so they can get back as close to 100% of what you owe them. A trust deed eliminates the demoralising and overwhelming process of getting out of debt slowly, with affordable payment periods.

Write off some of the debt

A trust deed will be able to help you write off up to 70% of what you owe, and help you to get out of debt faster. Many debtors struggle with interest rates and charges that steadily pile up against them. With a trust deed, your creditors won’t get a substantial proportion of the interest and charges they have heaped on your original borrowings, and they won’t be able to take any further actions against you. A trust deed also costs less to administer than a sequestration, which means a trust deed will avoid adding to your debt problem.

Short repayment period

A trust deed usually takes around 3-4 years to complete compared to a debt management plan. These other plans usually take more than five years to complete entirely. A trust deed aims to ensure that you are debt free, faster. After the repayment period has ended, any remaining debts that are protected under your trust deed will effectively be written off. This will help to ensure that when your trust deed is over you will have a better chance of staying out of debt.

Trustee

If you choose to get out of debt using a trust deed, you will have to have the necessary paperwork signed and your trustee will try to protect your trust deed. With a trustee, you have an experienced professional on your side that will have an in-depth knowledge of finance and law. The trustee will be able to offer advice on how to deal with unexpected financial events and how to keep out of debt. They are an invaluable tool when it comes to using a trust deed for getting out of debt.

Creditor Approval

When you apply for the trust deed, your creditors will be given five weeks to object to the offer of how much money you can pay them each month for three years. If they fail to accept, or reject the offer, or if less than half of them object, you can still start making the proposed payments. Protected status will only be refused when creditors representing a majority in number or at least 33% of the total debt object in writing. After your trust deed is protected, your creditors will no longer be able to contact you directly, making it much easier for you to get out of debt without feeling harassed.

Financial skills

Trust deeds teach important money management skills, which means you will be able to come much more financially aware after your trust deed is completed. During a trust deed your spending will be tightly controlled and monitored by your trustee, which will help you to learn valuable budgeting and money management skills that will stay with you for life.

If you need any advice about trust deeds, debt, or money management skills – contact Council Tax Advisors today. We are a community interest company who are committed providing help and support to those who are struggling with debt.

Scottish Summary Warrants Explained

For people falling into debt it can be difficult to remain positive when receiving constant reminders of your situation from creditor’s calls or the letters they send directly to you. It can be a distressing time and suffering in silence can only worsen things. At Council Tax Advisors we help people around the country with free and independent support for a wide selection of debt problems. It should not matter how you’ve fallen into the red, we are committed at finding realistic solutions to get your financial stability back once and for all.

Getting court orders is an unfortunate consequence for people struggling with their finances. Creditors will often apply to the judicial branch in order to speed up repayments and this let further panic ensue for people frantically trying to get sufficient funds together. Scottish summary warrants are used by local authorities with the sole intention of getting money owed to them as quickly as they can. To speed this process up they will make applications to courts about repayments.

The demand for payment will usually have a time limit of 14 days and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot take action against you until this charge has been served and the time limit expires. This is known as diligence. Diligence can be used against people in financial difficulty in numerous ways. Your money in a bank or building society account can be frozen and even released to the creditor, along with an earnings arrestment. This makes your employer take deductions from your earnings then pay this to HMRC. This consequence can be very damaging to a person’s morale and pride, so contact Council Tax Advisors to avoid this if you’re worried about your arrears.

Sheriff Officers such as Scott and Co also have the power to seize goods that are outside your home and then sell them to pay HMRC. This adds greater fear to people in debt because they will be in for a nasty shock when one of their items disappears. Another way creditors can get money off you is through an exceptional attachment order. This gives officers the authority to break into your home and seize goods in order to sell them on. Perhaps most dramatically, you can be stopped from selling your property or taking our more borrowing on it.

Potential action from enforcement agents and the like can increase stress levels and place greater pressures on your finances. Contacting our helpful and effective team at Council Tax Advisors will not only prevent bailiffs from entering your home, but it will give you an affordable repayment plan that will be effective in the long run. We are only interested in helping people change their financial fortunes around for the better. Remember – there’s no risk and no catch when you come to us, so get in touch with us today.

Housing Benefit Overpayments – Simple steps to resolve your overpayment issues

While much of what we hear regarding benefits is to do with them being cut across the board, there are still occasions where you may find yourself receiving more than your agreed quota from month to month. Should this be the case, the local council will at some point get in touch with you in order to rectify this – something that can often leave people in difficult financial predicaments as they are forced to pay back money they were unaware that they owed.

The important thing is to both know your rights and know the correct procedures to follow should you find yourself in this situation. These instances happen for a number of reasons, so it’s crucial to make clear exactly why you have been receiving overpayments and for how long. For example, an administrative error could have occurred at your local council, or your financial situation may have changed and subsequently caused your eligibility for benefits to alter somewhat. Either way, you won’t be automatically considered a perpetrator of fraud if you were unaware of the occurrences, so there is no reason to panic should your local authority contact you regarding this.

If they contact you in attempt to rectify the error and you don’t comply – through financial reasons or otherwise – you may be at risk from greater penalties imposed by the state. A civil penalty is sometimes issued if the overpayment has been triggered by a change you have actively made, or information you have failed to pass over to your benefit office. This is penalty will come into play if there is no reason to believe you have actively committed fraudulent activity, so is fairly common around the UK.

If you feel as though the penalty has been issued unfairly, it’s crucial you take action immediately rather than simply refusing to pay the fee – with the help of our experienced team here at Council Tax Advisors, we can help you take the next steps towards tackling this charge, so ensure you contact us if you find yourself in a situation such as this. Fraudulent activities are a different ballgame altogether, and will be dealt with by local police and court authorities in the suitable manner.

What do I do if I’ve been told my benefits have been overpaid?

You should always make sure that the benefit office has clearly outlined the reasons why you have been overpaying. Before proceeding with any kind of assessment as to why these have been made, you will need to ensure that the benefits office has provided you with legitimate reasons complete with the relevant documentations as evidence of their claim.

If you want to adopt a more direct approach, it is often worth ringing up the benefits office or visiting them in person. If you can provide them with information that proves their claim to be unfounded, then you will be able to nip the claim in the bud and avoid any further penalties that may stem from an unresolved case. If you have the evidence but they are still unsure, ask them to open a dispute so your benefits are looked into by officials and that the investigation takes into account any further support or information you may be able to provide them to prove your case.

If you are unsure how to proceed with your case of benefit overpayment, the important thing is not to panic. Here at Council Tax Advisors, we have a skilled team with years of experience in these matters on hand to ensure your issues can be resolved in a manner that suits you and your benefits office. We will work with you in order to assess their claim, and then move forward quickly so as to ensure you are not exposed to any further charges that may put your financial situation in further jeopardy.

For more information regarding how we may be able to assist you in these circumstances, or indeed any more information on benefits overpayments as a general concept, don’t hesitate to contact Council Tax Advisors today.

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an organisation set up by the government to offer free and impartial advice to those in debt. Just click the link above to find out more.

Refresh Debt Services Ltd t/a Council Tax Advisors
Address : Milltown House, Milltown Industrial Estate, Warrenpoint, Co. Down, BT34 3FN

Refresh Debt Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority No 674160
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