Council Tax 2017-18 – Your questions answered

We have put together a list of residents’ most frequently asked questions during the period when Council Tax bills are going out.

Why has Council Tax gone up?

The Council has taken the difficult decision to increase Council Tax by 4.99%, including the adult social care precept of 3%.

The precept is a specification from central Government of the percentage that can be charged to support adult social care services.

Overall, the cost for a typical Band D taxpayer is an extra £1 per week.

Barking and Dagenham has a growing population, with more children and elderly people who need our support.

Council Tax helps us to protect the most vulnerable and without this increase there would be a shortfall of £71 million in the budget by 2020.

Despite the significant spending pressures on the Council, we still have one of the lowest Council Taxes in London.

What is adult social care and why am I paying extra for it?

There’s a national funding crisis in health and social care due to unprecedented demand and increasing costs.

To help councils to plug the funding gap, central Government has allowed an increase of 3% that can only be used for adult social care services; this is the ‘adult social care precept’.

Adult social care is the provision of social work, personal care, protection or social support services to adults in need or at risk due to illness, disability, old age or poverty.

Some services aim to:

  • protect people who use the care services from abuse or neglect
  • prevent deterioration of or promote physical and mental health
  • promote independence and social inclusion
  • improve opportunities and life chances
  • strengthen families
  • protect human rights in relation to people’s social needs.

I don’t agree with adult social care element – do I have to pay it?

You can’t withhold payment of Council Tax on this basis.

If the balance due remains unpaid, recovery action will be continued and a liability order will be obtained against you at a magistrates’ court.

Refusal to pay part of Council Tax on these grounds is not an acceptable defence against a liability order being granted.

It will not prevent enforcement action, which could include enforcement agents attempting to remove your goods in lieu of payment or deductions being made from your salary or benefit.

Can I withhold payment of my Council Tax if I’m not happy with the services provided?

You are legally obliged to pay your Council Tax even if you are unhappy with all or some of the services provided by the Council.

Dissatisfaction with services provided is not an acceptable defence against a liability order being granted.

If you are not happy with any of the services provided, you should contact that department in the first instance.

If you wish to report a specific concern, please use our enquiries and comments form.

What does my Council Tax cover?

Council Tax is used to pay for many services including:

  • schools
  • roads
  • libraries
  • support for the vulnerable
  • rubbish collection
  • emergency services

For a breakdown of where Council funds come from and how the money is spent, read our Council Tax booklet.

I received an adjustment notice saying one thing and an annual bill saying something different

Always check the date of the notice in the right-hand corner, this indicates when the bill was generated.

The notice with the latest date will be the correct one.

My annual bill 2017-18 says I owe ‘other amounts’, but I’ve never been behind with payments

The bills for the new year 2017-2018 were created at the end of February in the financial year of 2016-2017.

Your last March instalment for the 2016-2017 year will show as an ‘amount owed for other periods’ on your bill.

I can’t afford to pay as I’m on benefits/my income is low

You must apply for Council Tax support online.

Register for MyAccount Login to MyAccount

You can then complete an application.

Apply for housing benefits/Council Tax support

Council Tax support is no longer backdated and will only be awarded from the date your application is submitted.

If you have been placed in the borough by another council that pays your Housing Benefit, you must still apply for Council Tax support in Barking and Dagenham.

Check your eligibility and apply for discretionary Council Tax relief

This is awarded due to exceptional circumstance.

You can choose to spread your Council Tax instalments over 12 months rather than 10, making it easier to pay; you must inform us before your April instalment is due if you wish to do this (as your instalment plan must end in March 2018).

Why do I have to pay Council Tax on an empty property when I don’t live in the borough and never use the services?

Due to the current housing shortage, we have a commitment to reduce the number of empty properties in the borough and encourage the owners to bring them back into use.

We stopped offering Council Tax discounts for empty properties in April 2015.

Making payments for Council Tax

At the Post Office or at a Pay Point

Use the barcode on the top right hand corner of your bill.

Direct debit or credit card

Set up a direct debit or pay with a debit or credit card over the phone or online.

Pay with a debit or credit card at My Account
Automated payment phone line

020 8227 2050

The payments date we offer are the 1st, 8th, 15th or 22nd of each month.

If you want to change your payment date you must contact us immediately so we can update this for you.

What’s the fastest way to check my account balance and get a copy of my bill?

You can view and manage your account online.

Register for MyAccount Login to MyAccount

Receive bills electronically

When you are registered with MyAccount, you can also opt to receive bills electronically.

Register for e-billing

If you’re locked out of your account or need your password reset, contact us.

MyAccount support