Pay up pronto and don’t end up in trouble

NORTHUMBERLAND County Council is urging residents to pay council tax bills promptly to avoid legal action and reduce administrative charges.

It has issued 60,000 reminder notices and 13,000 summons over the past financial year to residents who have failed to pay their council tax bills on time – a time-consuming and costly exercise.

To help reduce the number of late payments and the associated administrative work involved in recovering money owed, it is asking residents to consider paying by direct debit.

This is the cheapest and most efficient method of collecting bills and more than 89,000 of the county’s householders currently pay this way.

During these times of economic difficulty the council understands that some people are finding it hard to pay council tax so to try and make things a little easier it has introduced changes which add some flexibility to payment terms.

An extra direct debit date has been introduced so residents who pay their council tax this way can now pay on the 28th of the month as well as the 1st and 15th.

There is also an option for new or existing direct debit payers to pay over 12 instalments instead of the usual 10.

Coun Andrew Tebbutt, Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: “The prompt payment of council tax keeps the administrative costs down, saving money which could be spent on more worthwhile local services.

“We do appreciate these are tight financial times for everyone, but council tax is needed to fund a whole range of essential services around the county and we have a duty to collect it from every householder in Northumberland.

“We hope, however, that the new payment terms we have introduced will offer some flexibility to council tax payers.”

Contact the council on 0845 600 6400 if: you are having difficulty paying your council tax, to find out if you are entitled to council tax benefit, and/or you want to set up a direct debit account.