Council tax warning for millions of Brits

MILLIONS of Brits are set to get a council tax energy rebate within weeks to help ease the cost of living crisis.

Councils across England will be dishing out a £150 payment to four out of five households.

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Payments worth £150 per household will start from next monthCredit: Alamy

Local authorities are advising how you can ensure you get the cash quicker – but you need to act now.

Bedford borough council has told residents that they will get the council tax rebate more quickly by signing up to pay their bill by direct debit.

Households in Wandsworth, Hinckley and Bosworth, Burnley, and North Leicestershire are among those being reminded to set up the automatic bill payments so the cash is not delayed.

The government announced help last month and the cash comes as the cost of living crisis pushes up bills and household costs.

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Energy bills are set to rocket by around £700 within weeks when the price cap on bills goes up, affecting millions of households.

People in council tax bands A to D will get £150 council tax energy rebate – around 80% of homes – but those in bands E to H are among those missing out.

You can find out which band you’re in by using the government’s search tool – you just need to enter your postcode.

Setting up a direct debit to pay your council tax bill means your local authority will have your details to hand when the payments go out from April.

It means the payment will be made automatically and will go straight into your bank account.

You’ll still get the cash if you don’t set up a direct debit bill payment.

But it could take longer as the council will have to contact you and then you’ll have to make a claim for the cash which is a longer payment process.

How to set up a direct debit for council tax bill payments

If you don’t already pay your council tax bill by direct debit and want to set it up you need to contact your local council directly.

You can find you local council using the gov.uk tool and searching your postcode.

When you set up a direct debit to pay council tax you can choose to pay over 12 months or 10.

If you choose 10 months then your monthly payments will be slightly higher than the bill is spread over less time, but you’ll get two months where you’ll pay nothing at all.

Setting up a direct debit means you’ll have the money taken out of your bank account on the same day each month, so you need to budget for it around this time.

You can usually choose which day of the month this is, so you can time it with pay day when you have money in your account.

If you decide you don’t like paying by direct debit you can always cancel this – but do it through your council.

Never just cancel through your bank as it’s likely to be recorded as a missed payment which can have serious consequences.

You’ll need to choose a new way to pay, like using a debit card to pay online, bank transfer, check or paypoint.

council tax bill help

There is also a separate £144million fund to be distributed by local authorities for vulnerable people or those on low incomes who are exempt from paying council tax or live in higher council tax bands and won’t get the £150 payment.

You could challenge your council tax band if you think it’s wrong so you don’t miss out on the cash.

But beware a revaluation of your band could put you in a lower band where you pay MORE council tax, so consider the risks – you can read more in our guide.

Those exempt from council tax already won’t get the money either, but if you get council tax support through your local council and it reduces your bill you will get it,

Council tax is devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so there may be different schemes available there.

If you’re not already getting an existing council tax discount it’s worth checking if you’re eligible.

Single people are entitled to 25% off their bill, while an adult living with a student can get 50% off.

If you are on a low income or receiving benefits, you could be eligible for a reduction on your council tax.

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The requirements to get help will vary depending on where you live, so the best first step is to check with your local council.

You can apply for a discount through the Government website.

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