Unpaid council tax

Recovering unpaid council tax from earnings

Ealing Council is one of 41 local authorities taking part in a new trial working with HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) and the Department of Work and Pensions, to use debt information sharing powers, introduced by the Digital Economy Act (2017). The Act allows councils to get employer and income information from HMRC and DWP for people who have failed to pay their council tax and have an order to pay by the local magistrates’ court.

Through the trial, non-paying customers who are employed or have an income will be contacted to start paying their debts, or they will have their debt deducted directly from their earnings through their employer. Customers will be advised of support options if they receive benefit from the DWP and to contact the office. We may also request deductions directly from benefit.

Data matching

A sample of around 10,000 debts has been sent to HMRC/DWP to get employment, benefit and self-assessment information. Where the data is matched, Ealing Council will contact customers to decide on the best course of action to recover the debt and support residents to pay their council tax. This new trial will last one year or until the recovery action is completed.

The data will only be used by the council tax teams and Ealing Council will not share the HMRC/DWP data with anyone else during the trial.  The data is owned by HMRC/DWP and is shared with Ealing Council using the Digital Economy Act (2017).

Attachment of earnings letter

If you receive a letter that specifically refers to an attachment of earnings, you will have two weeks to contact us to discuss arranging a payment plan. If we have not heard from you, we will contact your employer to deduct your debt direct from your earnings.  If you cannot pay what you owe, please contact the council tax office.

Read this important additional information if an attachment of earnings order has already been sent to your employer. We will also have sent a copy of the order to you.

In receipt of benefit from the DWP

If you receive a letter that refers to claiming via the DWP, you will have two weeks to contact us to discuss the options of assistance and arranging a payment plan.

Debt help

The council letter only applies to the existing council tax debt owed. It is your responsibility to make sure you are taking steps to pay your other debts. If you need help and support, please contact us tel: 020 8825 7050 or your local debt advice providers Stepchange, tel: 0800 1381111.

If you have not told us about a change of address, we may have been contacting you at an old address. It is your responsibility to tell us what your current address is.

Ealing Council has a policy which takes into account vulnerability and financial hardship. Those identified as being in vulnerable circumstances or facing hardship will be treated fairly and where appropriate will be referred to internal and/or external sources of support.

The council will follow the fairness principles set out in the information sharing code of practice.