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Council tax

Defer paying council tax and business rates until June due to COVID-19

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 council tax deferral, and call 01249 706290 or email businessrates@wiltshire.gov.uk for business rates 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 this. 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.

These changes are for the Wiltshire Council local authority area.


FAQs on choosing to defer payment of council tax and business rates until June 2020

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.

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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.

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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.

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No, once you’ve spoken to us, these changes will happen automatically – you don’t need to do anything else

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You can still make manual payments, but please contact the council if you wish to defer payments in April and May 2020.

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Yes, you can still pay annually if you wish

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We rely on council tax to fund our vital services, and stopping it 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. 

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For those who have deferred payments, they will be issued a new council tax bill

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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.

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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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Register to manage and access your council tax account online

You can now register to access your council tax account online.You will be able to check and make payments, view your bills, set up and amend a direct debit and notify us of changes. To register your account, select revenues online below, you will need your council tax reference which can be found on your bill or bank statement if you pay by direct debit.

Pay your council tax online without registering to use this service.

Help paying your council tax bill


First, see if you qualify for any a discount or exemption.

If you are on a low income, whether you are working or not, you may be able to get a council tax reduction.

You still have to pay your council tax while we are processing applications for discounts, exemptions or reductions.

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If you are unable to make a payment by the date shown on your council tax bill, you must contact us to discuss your options. We may be able to make a different payment agreement with you or advise you on other help that may be available.

Under no circumstances would we advise you to simply ignore your bill or skip a payment without speaking to us first.

The council has a duty to collect council tax from every resident, so we follow a very rigid process to collect unpaid money. Any missed instalment will result in the council taking action to recover the unpaid council tax. The process is as follows:

ReminderAction
First reminderThe first time you miss a payment in the current tax year you will be sent a reminder. You must pay the missed instalment within 7 days to bring your account up to date. If you do not make this payment, we will issue you with a summons to appear in court. You will only receive one reminder for a missed instalment before it goes to court.
Second reminderA second reminder is issued if you miss a second instalment in the current tax year, even if the first missed instalment has now been paid. You must pay the missed instalment within 7 days to bring your account up to date. If you do not make this payment, we will issue you with a summons to appear in court. You will only receive one reminder for a missed instalment before it goes to court.
Final reminder

A final reminder is issued if you miss a third instalment in the current tax year, even if the first two missed instalments have now been paid.

If you have been issued with a final reminder, we will no longer allow you to pay your council tax in instalments, unless you set up a direct debit.

If you do not pay the entire year’s balance or set up a direct debit within 7 days of receiving the final reminder, we will issue you with a summons to appear in court. You will receive only one reminder for a missed instalment before it goes to court.

SummonsIf any reminder notice is ignored and no payment is made, we will send you a summons to appear in court. When a summons is issued, we will add the additional cost of this to the amount you owe. If you pay the entire year’s balance along with the additional costs, the matter will not go to court. If you make a partial payment or no payment, the matter will go to court on the date shown on your summons.
CourtIf you ignore a summons and do not pay your account in full, we will ask the court to demand payment from you. This is called a liability order. You do not need to attend court as the case will go ahead without your presence, however if you wish to dispute the case, you are welcome to attend on the date shown on your summons. Once a matter has gone to court, additional costs will be added to the amount you owe to cover the cost of taking you to court.
Liability order

Once a magistrate has issued a liability order against you in court, we are then free to take action against you to collect the unpaid council tax.

Our options include:

  • Special arrangement: we agree a new payment schedule with you.
  • Attachment of earnings: we can collect the unpaid council tax directly from your employer, before you are paid.
  • Attachment of benefits: we can collect unpaid council tax directly from any benefits you may be claiming.
Enforcement AgentsIf, after a liability order has been issued, you still fail to pay your council tax bill through one of the methods listed above, your account will be handed over to the enforcement agents to collect the outstanding balance. The enforcement agents operate independently of the council and will add their own costs to the amount you owe.

This process will be followed for every missed instalment without exception, so it is very important that you speak to us as soon as possible when you become aware that you are unable to make a payment.

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How much is my council tax?

The amount of council tax you pay depends on which council tax band your property is in. This is based on how much the property was worth on 1 April 1991. New homes built since 1991 are still valued on the basis of what they would have been worth in 1991. Your council tax bill states which band you are in.

Wiltshire Council works with many organisations to deliver around 350 services which are part of everyday life in Wiltshire. These services are accessible to everyone who lives in Wiltshire and council tax helps to pay for them.
Public sector organisations set its share of council tax
As the billing authority, Wiltshire Council is responsible for collecting council tax on behalf of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority and the town and parish councils. These public sector organisations are facing financial pressures and challenges and each has the responsibility for setting its share of the council tax.
Your council tax charge in 2020/21
This year we will raise council tax by 1.99% to help fund vital services. In 2020/21 central government is enabling local authorities with responsibility for adult social care to raise an additional 2% on their current council tax to be used entirely for adult social care – this flexibility is being offered in recognition of demographic changes which are leading to growing demand.
Wiltshire Council plans to use this levy to meet this demand and ease the increased pressure on adult social care budgets. The Wiltshire Council budget for 2020/21 has been set at £344.023 million, of which £284.723 million is
funded by council tax (inclusive of the adult social care levy). In the 2020/21 financial year, a band D household will pay £1,515.00 to Wiltshire Council.

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Central government requires all councils with adult social care responsibilities to publish the text below on their council tax information webpage. Please note that Wiltshire Council has not yet made any decision about its council tax rates for the years after 2020/21.

“The Secretary of State made an offer to adult social care authorities. (“Adult social care authorities” are local authorities which have functions under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014, namely county councils in England, district councils for an area in England for which there is no county council, London borough councils, the Common Council of the City of London and the Council of the Isles of Scilly.)

The offer was the option of an adult social care authority being able to charge an additional “precept” on its council tax without holding a referendum, to assist the authority in meeting expenditure on adult social care from the financial years up to and including 2019-20. 

If the Secretary of State chooses to review this offer in respect of a particular financial year, this is subject to the approval of the House of Commons. 

What is the adult social care levy?

In 2015, central government created the adult social care levy, which allowed councils that provide social care services to adults to increase their share of council tax by up to an extra 2% for 2016/2017. In 2016, they announced that for the three years from 2017/2018 to 2019/2020, councils would be allowed to increase this by up to 3% in any given year, but no more than 6% in total over those years.  In the September 2019 Spending Round the government announced that local authorities would be allowed to increase the levy by up to an additional 2% in 2020/21.

The government has said that this levy must be shown as a separate charge on all council tax bills. The income generated from this charge is ring-fenced, meaning it can only be used for adult social care services.

Adult social care services support some of the most vulnerable members of our communities, largely supporting those in old age and adults with disabilities. In 2019/2020 our spending on services for this group is budgeted at £145.057m (42.16% of our total net budget).

How do we ensure this levy is spent on adult social care?

As part of the process of setting our budget, the Chief Finance Officer is required to confirm in writing to the government that we will use the adult social care levy and that the budget for adult social care has increased from what it otherwise have been by at least the amount raised from this levy.

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  • Band A – up to £40,000
  • Band B - £40,001 to £52,000
  • Band C - £52,001 to £68,000
  • Band D - £68,001 to £88,000
  • Band E - £88,001 to £120,000
  • Band F - £120,001 to £160,000
  • Band G - £160,001 to £320,000
  • Band H - £320,001 and above

Find the council tax band for your property. You will need the full address, including postcode.

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If you think your council tax band is wrong, you can appeal by contacting the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which is responsible for making sure your home is in the right band.

Council Tax West
Valuation Office Agency
Overline House
Central Station
Blechynden Terrace
Southampton

03000 501501

ctwest@voa.gsi.gov.uk

You must continue to pay your council tax while any appeal is in progress.

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As the billing authority, we are responsible for collecting council tax on behalf of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire & Swindon, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority, and the town and parish councils.

The following table details how the council tax payable for each council tax band is calculated. Please note, the average parish/town council tax charge is shown in this table – the actual charge will vary depending on where you live.

Band Value of property (1/4/91) Wiltshire Council Fire Police Average town/parish council precept Total council tax payable
A Up to £40,000 £1,010.00 £50.91 £144.18 £84.78 £1,289.87
B £40,001 - £52,000 £1,178.33 £59.39 £168.21 £98.91 £1,504.84
C £52,001 - £68,000 £1,346.67 £67.88 £192.24 £113.04 £1,719.83
D £68,001 - £ 88,000 £1,515.00 £76.36 £216.27 £127.17 £1,934.80
E £88,001 - £120,000 £1,851.67 £93.33 £264.33 £155.43 £2,364.76
F £120,001 - £160,000 £2,188.33 £110.30 £312.39 £183.69 £2,794.71
G £160,001 - £320,000 £2,525.00 £127.27 £360.45 £211.95 £3,224.67
H Over £320,000 £3,030.00 £152.72 £432.54 £254.34 £3,869.60
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How to pay your council tax

Council tax bills are sent out at the end of March each year showing the current year’s charges and installments. Your payment must reach your local Wiltshire Council office by the dates shown on your bill. Council tax can be paid over 12 months, rather than the previous 10 months. You can change to 12 monthly instalments using our revenues online facility.

The online payment facility is available 24 hours a day to allow you to pay your council tax when it is convenient for you. You will need to quote your account reference number and confirm the amount you need to pay.

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The council offers direct debit payment dates of the 1st and 15th each month. This is the most effective way to pay. You can change to this method of payment using our revenues online facility. Alternatively, you can download the council tax direct debit form in the downloads sidebar.

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Call our automated payment line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 0300 456 0119. You will need to quote your account reference number and confirm the amount you need to pay. Payments made by credit card will be subject to a transaction charge.

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You may pay, free of charge, by cash or cheque at any post office using your existing payment card or the barcode on the front of your bill. Please allow seven days for your payment to reach the council. Cheque payments should be made payable to ‘Post Office Ltd’ and presented with your payment card or bill. You can find the address of your nearest Post Office.

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Tell your bank the amount you want to pay, your account reference number, and the council’s bank account details:

Bank: HSBC
Sort code: 40-44-33
Account number: 51460021

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Cheques must be made payable to 'Wiltshire Council'. Please provide your name, account reference number, and the address to which the payment relates on the reverse of the cheque.

Please send your payment to:

Collections – Council Tax
PO Box 4385
Trowbridge
BA14 4DS

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We offer Dotpost, a billing solution that enables you to receive and access your council tax bill online. Instead of us posting your bill, we will send it to a secure mailbox; this allows you to have paperless bills which is better for the environment.

Dotpost allows you to manage the documents you want to view online, have sent to your smartphone or have printed and posted to your address.

How do I sign up?

On your most recent council tax bill, you will find a 16 digit activation code below your address details. Enter your activation code, along with your postcode, at Dotpost. You can now create your Dotpost profile by entering your details in the boxes provided and following the instructions for setting up an account. Once setup is complete you can use your chosen username and password to login to your Dotpost account.

Alternatively, if you do not have a dotpost account, you can view a version of bills you have received using our revenues online facility.

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Changes in circumstances

You must notify us if your circumstances change.

It is important to inform the council tax team when you move house.

If you move within Wiltshire the council tax band for your new property may be different and we will need to adjust your bill.If you have moved out of Wiltshire, we will close your account and send the final bill to your new address.

Please visit the 'Tell us that you have moved home' section of our revenues online facility no advise us of your move.

If you still live in the same property but someone else aged 18 or over has left, this may have an effect on your bill. Please let us know about any change in circumstances as quickly as possible to ensure you are paying the correct rate for your household.

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When someone has died, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can adjust the council tax bill.

We now offer a Tell Us Once service, which enables you to tell multiple government agencies about a death at the same time. Tell Us Once is now an optional part of the death registration and you will be offered the service when you book to see the Registrar. If you take up Tell Us Once, you will not need to contact the council tax or benefits services; this will be done for you.

If you decide not to take up Tell Us Once and choose to contact us direct yourself, we will need to know:

  • Date of death
  • Details of any remaining occupiers
  • Executor’s/solicitor's name and address

If rented:

  • Tenancy end date
  • Owner/agent’s name and address
  • Details about whether the property was a furnished or unfurnished let
  • If unfurnished, the date the furniture was removed

If owned:

  • Details about whether the property is still furnished, or if unfurnished, when the furniture was removed
  • The intentions for the property i.e. sell/let etc
  • Are there any joint owners? If so, we will need their names and contact details
  • Notification of when probate was granted
  • Date property transferred ownership and names of new owners

We appreciate that you may not have all these immediately available. However, it is important that we know a death has occurred and will need a copy of the death certificate when it becomes available. Please contact us.

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How to appeal your council tax bill

If you think your council tax bill is wrong you can appeal. Make sure you keep paying the bill while any appeal is in progress.

Each property is put into a council tax band by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), not Wiltshire Council. The band is based on the property’s value in 1991. If you think your council tax band is wrong, you must contact the VOA office directly to make an appeal.

If your appeal for re-banding is successful and your property is put in a lower band, you will be entitled to a refund for any excess amount you have paid, back to the date it was first banded. If your appeal results in your property being banded higher, you will be expected to pay the higher rate of council tax from that point onwards.

Please read the VOA’s information regarding how a banding is set to carefully consider your appeal. If your property is re-banded following an appeal, the VOA will notify us directly of the change.  

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If you feel that an error has been made on your council tax bill, you can appeal it with us. We can only issue bills on the information we have been provided; it is your responsibility to keep us up-to-date when there are changes to your household that might result in an increase or reduction on your bill. You will need to inform us if:

  • You are no longer living in the property
  • You are no longer the owner of an empty property
  • You think you entitled to a reduction or exemption

All appeals must be made in writing to Wiltshire Council. If you are successful, a refund will be issued where applicable.

If your appeal to us is unsuccessful and you want to take it further, seek independent advice with the Valuation Tribunal, which offers a free service to all council tax and business rate payers who wish to appeal.

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Last updated: 30 March 2020 | Last reviewed: 30 March 2020