Approximately 52,500 Council Tax bills and 7,700 non-domestic rates bills for the new financial year, 2014/15, starting 1 April 2014, have been sent out. Please note that this usually generates a lot of enquiries which may result in a delay in our response if you ring, email or write to us.
Not paid your Council Tax or business rates?
Residents and business owners are being warned not to get caught out by increased enforcement fees from April if they are in arrears with their Council Tax or Business Rates.
A change in national legislation means enforcement agents are replacing bailiffs from 6 April 2014 under the Taking Control of Goods (Fee) Regulations 2014.
This will mean a significant change in the fees being charged for debt collection.
The new fixed fees that enforcement agents can recover from a debtor are summarised as follows:
£75 fee as soon as the Council passes an unpaid account to the enforcement agents.
A further £235, plus an additional £7.5% of the debt if you owe over £1,500, if a visit becomes necessary.
A further £110, plus an additional 7.5% of the debt if you owe over £1,500, at the sale or disposal stage.
This means that within two weeks of a debt being passed to the enforcement agents, the fees incurred could rise to in excess of £310. These fees are set within the new legislation and are not negotiable.
A South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) spokesperson said: “We urge residents and businesses to contact us immediately if they are having difficulty in paying their Council Tax or Business Rates, so that we can advise them about the best way to meet their payments, to try and avoid having to pass the debt on for collection.”
“We would like to reassure residents that we will do everything possible to resolve the matter before passing the debt to an enforcement agent. However, if the debt remains unpaid, we will have no option and the debt will be passed on to the enforcement agent for collection and from 6 April the new fees will be incurred.”
The key message to all residents and ratepayers who get into arrears with their Council Tax or Business Rates is not to get caught out by increased fees.
They are urged to contact SLDC sooner rather than later, on 01539 793245 or 0845 050 4434, for advice and assistance.
Council Tax 2014/15
The Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates 2014/15 leaflet is now available to download from the link below. If you require a hard copy of the leaflet please call the Council's Contact Centre on 0845 050 4434.
Download the Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates 2014/15 leaflet
Council Tax Premium
The policy guidelines for an exception to the Council Tax premium were agreed by the full Council 26 March 2013. A copy of the report and the application form can be downloaded below. The application form should be printed, completed and returned with supporting documentary evidence to the Local Taxation Team, South Lakeland House, Lowther Street, Kendal, LA9 4DQ.
Council Tax Premium Policy Guidelines for Determining Local Exceptions
Application Form to Apply for an Exception to the Council Tax Premium
Council Tax payers have the right to pay by 12 monthly instalments instead of the normal 10, thereby reducing the strain on what could be an already tight monthly budget for many households. If you want to pay your council tax over 12 instalments, please email us now at Enquiries12@southlakeland.gov.uk giving your name, address including your postcode and your council tax account number from the front of your bill.
Changes to Discounts and Exemptions
From 1 April 2014, a new Council Tax discount of 50% is being introduced for family annexes, more information can be found on Council Tax Discounts.
The full Council meeting on 18 December 2012, agreed some changes to Council Tax discounts and exemptions from 1 April 2013. For details see Council Tax Discounts or Council Tax Exemptions
If you want to pay by direct debit you can set it up online to pay this way in future by logging in to our online services.
If you want to make a telephone payment by debit card, you can ring our 24 hour 7 days a week automated telephone service on 0845 050 1734. Please have your debit card and council tax reference number (this is the 8 digit number starting with a 2 on your bill) ready.
Change of Address/Moving House
You can tell us about your change of address by email. For more information please see Change of Address
Important Notice - external companies offering a council tax banding appeals service
The Council has recently become aware that citizens in the South Lakeland area have been contacted by companies who offer to appeal against the Council Tax banding of their property on behalf of the council tax payer. More information about this can be found on Valuation Bands and/or Council Tax Appeals
How do I pay my Council Tax?
Council Tax can be paid in a number of ways: direct debit, online, by phone, by cheque or cash.
For more information on each method see Paying your council tax
Having difficulties making a payment?
If you are experiencing financial difficulties and cannot pay please contact Local Taxation Team without delay.
Telephone: 01539 793245
By Post: Local Taxation Team, South Lakeland House, Lowther Street, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4UD
Citizens Advice Bureau
The Citizens Advice bureau offers independent financial advice to anyone who has problems with their financial affairs.
Visit the Citizens Advice Bureaux website for more information.
I think I might be paying too much?
If you think you may be paying too much Council Tax see the links below for information.