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Council tax attachment of earnings

(30 Posts)
bumblebee2083 Fri 20-Apr-18 09:25:30

Hi all.

This might be a bit long winded but bear with me.

I'm a single parent to a 13 year old working full time. Her dad is in the picture but he also works full time.

I also suffer with mental health issues.

I was informed by my local council in the back end of 2016 that they had found unpaid council tax from the property I lived in 3 years previous. I asked how could there be unpaid council tax as when I moved out I had asked my local council if everything was paid they said yes.

I started paying £50 as agreed with them. Then I went for a night out at new year and stupidly broke both of my ankles and wasn't able to pay the instalment. The council immediately went for an attachment of earnings.

Since January last year I have been crippled by their attachment of earnings on my wage as they are taking around £300 each time. When I got my wage slip in December last year I almost cried to find that there had been £500 worth of deductions from my wage.

Im not entitled to any housing benefit so I'm liable for full rent and council tax. The £500 worth of deductions was tax, ni and the rest was council tax. So with my rent being £500 and the £500 of deductions off my wage I was left with £200 to cover all my bills.

Needless to say I've not paid gas, electric,water, tv licence in over 15 months since the attachment was put on my wage. I'm barely keeping my head above water. I live in a housing association property and they took me to court last January because of complications in starting a new job, my pay was delayed and I wasn't able to pay my rent on time. So now from them I have a suspended possession order.

I've lost count of how many times I've not paid my full rent because my monthly expenditure has eaten into my rent money.

I have contacted my local council on more than one occasion and discussed the issues it's causing only to be laughed at, told to get an iva if I'm that bothered or told to go see citizens advice to then be told in the next sentence that citizens advice can't actually do anything for me with regards to council tax.

I thought I'd reached a light at the end of the tunnel in november last year when id finally paid it all off only to be told on the phone that they had done another attachment for last year's council tax. I couldn't afford to pay it because of the massive attachment of earnings.

I'd finally had enough at the beginning of this year and contacted a company called council tax advisors. They discovered the best route was an iva. I found out yesterday after all the papers were signed and a standing order was set up that my local council had rejected it.

I thought I'd finally be able to get my wages back. But no. I can't even afford my child new shoes for school. I can't afford Clothes for her or myself. Good is of bare minimum each week. Sometimes living off beans, soup, noodles or anything cheap I can get.

My daughter's birthday is on Christmas day and I can honestly say Christmas 2017 was a miserable day. All I could afford to buy her was a cup that cost 1.99. Whereas my neighbour next door who is on benefits, she can work it's a matter of she can't be bothered. She got a loan out from the benefits and splashed out on Christmas. It's a bit of a p* take when most of us go out and work our backsides off.

I don't know where to go now. It's payday next week and I'm dreading it.

Laz33ydayz Fri 20-Apr-18 09:41:18

Have you been to Citizens advice ? Or Step change to ask for help ?

StormcloakNord Fri 20-Apr-18 09:47:48

I was with you until you moaned about your next door neighbour on benefits splashing out on her kids.

If you're that bothered by it, quit work and live the luxurious life on benefits, then you can splash our on your kids all the time too.

BubblesAndSquarks Fri 20-Apr-18 09:54:40

How much do you owe them in total? The length of time you've been making payments and amount sounds excessive. Have you checked back on bank statements for what you actually paid them while living there?

When we moved house we informed the council of us leaving and of our new address, and received a bill a couple of months later for after the date the property was no longer ours until the date the new occupants registered to pay. Is it possible you're paying for time after you've left? (They cancelled that bill once we provided evidence of when the property was no longer ours)

It sounds strange that you could have managed to not pay it for long enough to build up that much of a debt without them following up. If it had been while you were living there, they send out an initial warning letter after a few weeks, a final warning after that and then demand full payment usually. The huge gap between living there and asking for the payment sounds like there's been an error made on their part.

With regards to money issues, have you got a credit card for short term emergencies like food?
Is your ex paying full maintenance?
Have you applied for universal credit to see if you're eligible for any extra help?

Also if you're unable to pay bills, the best thing to do is to contact them and arrange a repayment plan rather than just not paying and avoiding them, its less likely to affect your credit rating if you speak to them about it.

bumblebee2083 Fri 20-Apr-18 09:57:10

Yeah I contacted citizens advice yesterday. They said the only 2 options I had was a debt relief order or bankruptcy. I checked the criteria for a debt relief order and the level of debt has to be under £20,000 and mine is £20,083. No assets worth over £1000 and a disposable income of less than £50. I have a car for my job that possibly is worth £1,500 and I've no idea what my disposable income is. When I spoke with citizens advice yesterday they said when working out my disposable income for a dro I had to take off the ct attachment of earnings. That confused me.

The iva was my only way of getting the attachment of earnings removed.

I was also told bankruptcy was another option. Although I can't afford the £680 fee.

My level of debt is bad.

bumblebee2083 Fri 20-Apr-18 10:18:27

Sorry bubblesandsparks I just seen your post.

When I contacted them last year they said I owed £2,600. Supposedly this unpaid council tax was all from different years and different amounts. They also decided to take the ct I was paying 2016/2017 as well.

I moved out of my old property in Nov 2013 and as far as I'm aware the new tenants moved in Dec 2013. They would have to register with the council wouldn't they?

I paid it all in cash so no evidence plus that bank account is closed now.

I find it weird as well how they let it go unmentioned. Weirdest part is I asked them to send me the breakdown of the ct bill, you know the years and amounts and they said they couldn't do it yet they read it out to me on the phone. When I asked again I got the same response and it wasn't long after that I got the attachment.

I haven't got a credit card. Her dad does pay full maintenance and I get tax credits weekly. Depending on how much I've gone into my rent money in usually putting whatever money from tc or cm back into my rent. Then I have food to pay for and whatever I have left is for fuel.

I've contacted them numerous times to explain. They keep threatening to come out and put in prepayment meters. Yes it's probably a good idea and they will take the debt that way but what scares me is what if I don't have enough to put on?

Laz33ydayz Fri 20-Apr-18 10:19:33

I believe if you don't pay your council tax bill you can go to court, be fined. Why didn't you pay council tax at the previous property ? Everyone pays council tax. Can you contact council tax and ask them to pay a lower amount ?

Padfoot1 Fri 20-Apr-18 10:22:29

You need to speak to Stepchange much better advice IMO. Can you pay off the £83 to reduce your debt to under the £20000? Definitely don't rush into anything you need to urgently get more advice. If you need advice on bankruptcy read the money saving expert forum but this is a big step and is the last resort so check all other options first. I'm not an expert but council tax debts are included in bankruptcy and this should include the attachment of earnings but please check this with Stepchange!

Laz33ydayz Fri 20-Apr-18 10:23:27

Have you been scammed ? The council always sends a bill to your house with your name and the breakdown of the council tax costs. Who were you paying the cash to ? Do you have the correct council tax bill now. Write a letter to your council and ask for the written council tax bill now

causeimunderyourspell Fri 20-Apr-18 10:24:09

That £2600 isn't just a few missed council tax payments is it? Surely you were aware you'd not paid nearly 2 years worth?? If not then I'd be finding out where the hell they even got that figure in case you're not liable!

As for the debt relief, if you are only £81 over the threshold, then presumably you will be under that in the next month or two once the attachments have come off your wages?

I really feel for you, it sounds an awful situation to be in sadthanks

bumblebee2083 Fri 20-Apr-18 10:44:48

Stormcloaknord well wouldn't you? If you were going out every day working your backside off to try and make ends meet barely seeing your kid and your next door neighbour is at home everyday doing nothing except whinging to you when you have come home from at 12 hr shift that she's tired?

Your right I could go on benefits and do nothing all day. But that's not who I am. I was brought up being told if you want things in life you have to work for it.

I was paying my council tax. I got letters and I sorted payments with them At that time when I lived in that property from 2006 - 2013 I was working part time and claiming housing benefit as my daughter was only young at the time. It may be possible somewhere that they might of miscalculated my entitlement wrong. I used to get loads of letters sometimes 6 in one envelope working out my benefit entitlement. I dunno, who knows. I doubt they are going to admit that liability are they.

£83 could be paid perhaps.

bumblebee2083 Fri 20-Apr-18 11:03:28

Yeah the people from the iva company told me to contact step change. Going to do that after work tonight if they are still open

StylishMummy Fri 20-Apr-18 11:18:38

Complete this based on the figures for a usual month. I find it worrying when you say you have no idea what your disposable income is confused

In:
Wages -
Child benefit -
Child maintenance -
Tax credits -

Out (Bills)
Rent -
Gas -
Electricity-
Water -
Council tax -
Tv license -
Mobile phone -
Tv/broadband -

Out (Debts)
Loan payments -
Credit cards?
Hire purchase?
Council tax debt -

Have you applied for single persons discount if it's just you and your child in the property?

Have you got virgin/sky etc you can cancel?

What other debts do you have, do you know the;
Monthly payment
Interest rate
End date of the payments

causeimunderyourspell Fri 20-Apr-18 11:41:15

Ah I see, god it's so unfair when they cock up with their calculations and just expect you to cough up, regardless of your situation sad bastards they are

SidesofFeet Fri 20-Apr-18 16:15:57

Sounds like a big mess. Firstly, forget your neighbour, might be unfair but irrelevant to your situation. You seem unsure if you are due the unpaid council tax yet it's a huge amount of money involved, surely you must have some idea if you paid this amount or not. You really need to check back through what you have paid, and make sure you are due to pay this money.

If you are only less than £100 over for debt relief, can you pay that off so you then qualify?

bumblebee2083 Fri 20-Apr-18 16:17:19

Stylishmummy - I need to sit down and do one of them properly.

Yes it is. I emailed them yesterday asking why they rejected the iva and what is the outstanding balance. They told me there was an over payment of housing benefit of £5000. They had every single wage slip every month so how have I had an over payment? And by the looks of things they have added on this year's ct to last year's attachment. They did another attachment of earnings for last year's ct because I couldn't afford to pay it with the amount they were taking off my wage

Avasarala Fri 20-Apr-18 16:24:56

Is there anyway that you and your daughter can move in with a parent of family member for 6 months or so? Someone who would let you stay rent free with a small contribution for bills?

That could get you some breathing space to pay off the debt without accruing more missed council tax, rent and bill payments.

MagicalMerlot Fri 20-Apr-18 16:27:59

Bloody hell, what a nightmare. Go see your MP and local councillor and see if they can help flowers

Ilovecamping Fri 20-Apr-18 16:29:39

Before going for an attachment of warnings the council would have written to you about the outstanding debt, you would have been given an opportunity to discuss and come to an arrangement with them, if you had showed them a breakdown of your income and expenditure your payments could have been arranged to an amount you could have afforded. As for the £5000 overpayment of Housing Benefit ask for a full breakdown of the figures, then go through all you payslips and tax credits to find out any discrepancies.

StylishMummy Fri 20-Apr-18 17:22:37

@bumblebee2083 you need to complete a thorough budget ASAP. Even down to DCs activities, swimming lessons, whatever there is going out regularly

bumblebee2083 Fri 20-Apr-18 21:13:04

Your right my neighbour is irrelevant. But it still makes me mad how she sits there gets everything paid for her and has the bare faced cheek to say she's struggling so badly.

I do remember at one stage my rent and council tax were a mess because of them loosing my wage slips I'd handed in to them. So around that period I'm unsure of any amounts I'd paid and what dates . It's all a bit fuzzy.

I've asked them repeatedly of a break down of all the ct I've paid but seemingly they can't produce that information. I really have no idea if I'm paying too much. It's like they have complete control.

I think I could scrape together that amount to try and get myself out of this situation.

That would be s good idea but Unfortunately I have no family round here. They live a couple of hrs drive away. Both my parents have cancer and need their space. A friend of mine had a static caravan outside her house last year. She was debating what to do with it. I contemplated living in it just till all this blew over. By the time I'd proposed the idea she had sold it.

That could be quite a good idea. But would they help?

I've had letters for some over due payments. A few years back I was sent a summons letter, i was a bit puzzled as i had paid. Went to ring them the next day only to be told that it was sent out by accident and a letter followed in the post stating that and the court charge removed also. The next month the same thing happened so I spoke to them again only to be told the same as before. It carried on for about 5 months then I didn't get anymore.

After the attachment of earnings finished last year they did another but didn't write to me telling me, even though they said they had when I contacted them. That's when I was laughed at, the woman I spoke to actually laughed down the phone

Believeitornot Fri 20-Apr-18 21:16:24

Which council? Who’s your local MP?
You need to write to your MO for help.

Believeitornot Fri 20-Apr-18 21:16:34

*MP

Alibobbob Fri 20-Apr-18 21:26:23

If you owe for gas and/or electricity you can ask the Charis Fund or similar for help (depends on who your supplier is). They may pay up to 100% of what you owe but if they give you a decision they will help you then have to pay for your current use in full for 3 months keeping up with payments or they recind the offer.

I think you are stuck with an attachment of earnings unless you/your representative can speak to the council asking them to reduce the amount you are having to pay as it is affecting your standard of living.

charityhallet Fri 20-Apr-18 23:21:36

You don't need your MP. You need some proper debt advice. I'm a debt advisor in Scotland where laws are very different so can't help you with your options, but you do need professional debt advice. Your debt advisor will be able to get copies of your old CT bills.

The first thing I would do/advise you to do would be to set up payments to all your ongoing liabilities as otherwise the cycle is perpetuated. Are you paying 2018/19 CT? As if you are not, I cannot stress enough how important it is that you do this and this should be your priority before dealing with your debts.

I don't know about bankruptcy laws in England but in Scotland, your car is seen separately to other assets and can be worth up to £3k if used for commuting etc. It might be worth checking that.

I'm also confused about the amounts you note that were being taken off your salary. I looked it up as I was curious to see how it compares to Scotland. This is the table:-
www.gov.uk/make-benefit-debt-deductions/calculating-dea

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