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30th March 2020

Wiltshire Council: Council tax and business rates payments deferred until June for those who need it

Council tax and business rates payments deferred until June for those who need it

To support people as much as possible during the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Wiltshire Council has confirmed that no resident or business in Wiltshire will have to pay council tax or business rates until June 2020 if they are struggling.

Any resident wishing to defer paying their council tax in April and May 2020, instead of the normal scheduled payment break in February and March 2021, can contact the council and this will be arranged.
Similarly, businesses who also wish to defer business rates payments for two months, and not pay in April and May, can also arrange that by contacting the council.
For anyone wishing to do this, the council will freeze direct debit payments, so people do not need to contact their bank to arrange.
People should call 0300 456 0109 or email counciltax@wiltshire.gov.uk to request the deferral – these will be taken at face value and there will be no vetting of anyone wishing to defer payments for April and May 2020.
For those who choose to defer, payments will resume in June 2020 and will be taken over the 10 months from June 2020 to March 2021. For those that pay annually, they can still do so at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/benefits-council-tax. Those that make manual payments can also continue to do this if they wish, but they will need to contact the council if they want the April and May payment break.
Working age residents who benefit from the current Council Tax Support Scheme will receive an additional reduction to their bill in line with the government’s hardship fund criteria. Those households eligible for this reduction will automatically be re-billed.
Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: “We hope during this uncertain and difficult time this will help people and ease the pressure.
“We’re all in this together and I’ve been so impressed by the response of our communities, and we’ll continue to do what we can to provide support and reassurance.”
These changes are for the Wiltshire Council local authority area.
Ends.

Notes to editors:

Frequently asked questions:

When will I have to pay council tax/business rates
Ordinarily you would start paying council tax/business rates in April. If requested, this means you now don’t have to start paying until June 2020.

So when will my next council tax/ business rates payment break be?
We have essentially moved the council tax payment break forward to April and May 2020 for those who want it, instead of February and March 2021

If I choose to defer in April and May, will I still get a payment break next year?
No, for those who want to defer for April and May 2020, the next council tax payment/business rates payment break after this will be February and March 2022.

Do I need to contact my bank?
No, once you’ve spoken to us, these changes will happen automatically – you don’t need to do anything else

I manually pay in instalments, can I still do this?
You can still make manual payments, but please contact the council if you wish to defer payments in April and May 2020.

I pay my council tax/business rates annually. Can I still do this?
Yes, you can still pay annually if you wish

Why can’t we just stop paying council tax altogether for two months, instead of freezing it?
We rely on council tax to fund our vital services, and stopping council tax altogether for two months would have an adverse effect for residents. Given the current situation, we feel freezing the payments for two months is a sensible measure.

Will the council be issuing a new council tax bill?
No, for those who have deferred payments will not be issued a new council tax bill

I have already paid April’s instalment manually. Can I get a refund?
No unfortunately you will not be able to receive a refund for any payments already made, however if you have made an instalment in April you will still be able to defer your payments for two months

I’m already on the council tax reduction scheme. How does this affect me?
Working age residents who benefit from the current Council Tax Support Scheme will receive an additional reduction to their bill in line with the government’s hardship fund criteria. Those households eligible for this reduction will automatically be re-billed.

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