Personal Finance

Council tax rebate may not reach Britons until September

SOME Britons may not receive their £150 council tax rebate until September—five months after it was promised. Here's what you need to know, and what you can do about it.

Many authorities have blamed the delay on difficulties reaching households who do not pay their council tax via direct debit, but even then some direct debit taxpayers are still missing out.

The rebate—available to anyone living in house bands A-D—was supposed to reach Britons by the end of April, with councils receiving the funding on March 30. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the plan for England with similar schemes also running in the devolved nations. The Government has set a deadline of September 30 for councils to hand out the cash.

Those paying their council tax by direct debit have been easier to reach as local authorities already have their bank details on file and the rebates should be sent through automatically. Councils are now manually trying to reach those who do not pay directly.

However, for those direct debit payers who still have not received their rebate, this may be because the name on the bank account the council has listed did not correspond with the person named on council tax paperwork. These people have had to complete a so-called exception report and be manually added to the system.

If the household didn't pay their first council tax bill by direct debit until May, they may also not have had their rebate paid automatically yet, according to the Mirror.

Dr Zubaida Haque, executive director of The Equality Trust, told the i newspaper: "It feels very wrong that households who are able to afford direct debit council tax payments—normally more financially secure households—are receiving their rebates much earlier compared to low income households who are having to apply through the post or online."

It is estimated 600,000 low-income households have a home that is in a band higher than Band D, Adam Scorer, chief executive of National Energy Action, said when speaking to the newspaper.

The Government told the Financial Times it had given councils a number of options to get the rebate out to households, including council tax account credits, Bacs, or voucher-based transactions.

A spokesperson said: “While direct debit is the quickest and easiest way to get the rebate, councils have a range of other options for people who don’t pay this way.”

Not received your council tax rebate? Here's what you can do:

  • Check your council tax band - only bands A-D qualify.
  • Check your local authority's website as each council has a web page dedicated to the rebate. Not sure who your local authority is? Click here, add your postcode, and look for the council responsible for council tax.
  • Direct debit payer? If the date has passed when your council says direct debit users should have automatically received their discount, contact them for an update.
  • Don't pay by direct debit? Your council should be contacting you to sort out payment. The council's web page may include information on a form to fill in your bank details and speed up the process.
  • Not in Band A-D but still need support? The Government has provided all councils in England with money for a discretionary fund to support households who need it. Each council will have their own eligibility for accessing the fund so try its website or contact the council directly.

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the CEO, Co-founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.

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