Help with Council Tax
Dover District Council is stressing it will always seek to work with individuals at every step to help them if they are unable to pay their Council Tax. This includes a range of measures including personal visits and welfare advice. Working with the Kent Benefit Partnership, the Council seeks to ensure advice and support is provided at every opportunity. Benefits are available and widely publicised and we actively encourage people to talk to us if they are having difficulties. The Council will take all necessary steps to recover Council Tax in order to support services but will always seek to work with individuals at the earliest chance.
Council Support for Council Tax Payers:
- Dover District Council actively encourages the charge payers to contact them if they are unable to pay their bills.
- We can advise on possible entitlement to Council Tax/Housing Benefit, entitlement to any Council Tax reductions. We can also refer the public to other organisations, such as the Department for Work and Pensions and the Citizens Advice Bureau for guidance and advice.
- At all stages of recovery we will look to make an arrangement in accordance with the charge payers means by requesting confirmation of income. This is not just to enable us to look at a suitable arrangement but to establish is further assistance or advice can be offered as above.
- At court for Liability Order hearings, staff from the Council are available to give advice. However, we would ask that the public contact us before the day of the hearing if they have a query about the amount due or if they want to discuss payment arrangements. This is so that we can look into any problems before the Liability Order hearing.
- Before taking committal action (asking for someone to be put in prison), every possible alternative is looked into, such as deductions from certain benefits or attachments of earnings. A final arrangement may be offered after receiving details of their income and outgoings, including seeing if they may be entitled to benefit. The council may ring the payer to explain the current position on their account.
- If there are any concerns at any stage due to age or ill health, for example, a visit can be made to collect any information.
- If somebody has been summonsed or bailed to attend a Committal Hearing they must do so, as non attendance will result in further substantial costs being added. Again, officers are on hand at the hearing to discuss any problems.
- To help charge payers, we will send a letter or phone them to advise about the arrears on a committal court order, so that they have the chance to bring themselves up to date and possibly avoid being taken back to court.
- A Duty Solicitor is offered at each committal hearing.
- We advise charge payers of the advantages of the Direct Debit scheme, where payments can be made directly from their bank, so they will not have to remember to pay by the instalment due date. We offer a number of different payment dates for those who choose to pay by Direct Debit, 1st, 5th, 12th, 19th, 24th and 28th. Once the instruction is received, the Council will give advance notice of the amounts and when they will be claimed. These payments will then be made automatically by your bank. It can be cancelled at any time. Please download the Direct Debit form by clicking on the link below or phone 01304 872199 to ask for one to be sent to you or for more information.