Advice Column: Council Tax

Thursday 22nd June

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo advice column this week we focus on council tax payments.


I know I’m not going to be able to afford my council tax bill with so many other important bills to pay, let alone food. What should I do?


Council tax arrears is a “priority debt”, which means you need to address it before paying off other non-priority loans like credit cards.


Once you’ve missed a council tax payment, you’re in “arrears” and so owe money to your council.


It’s important you speak to the council straight away if you don’t think you can pay. Ask to speak to someone in the council tax office and tell them about your situation. Don’t just stop paying.

You’ll probably be asked to commit to paying a regular amount each month. If you’re not sure how much you can afford, use the national Citizen Advice website budgeting tool at:


If you’re on a low income, you might be able to get a reduction on your council tax bill. You might also be able to qualify for your council’s Hardship Scheme. You can read more about getting help with your council tax on the national Citizens Advice website.


If you fail to pay your council tax arrears you’ll have to pay court costs and possibly bailiff fees as well as your debt, which can add hundreds of pounds to your bill.


If you’re struggling with multiple debts you can call us on 0808 278 7845 or visit


The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit