Frequently asked questions
Q: Has the government waived council tax payments during this period?
A: The government has not waived any council tax payments. We can delay instalments if you have been affected by the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak but the overall amount will not change.
Q: Why can't you cancel council tax payments during the outbreak?
A: Your council tax pays for a range of essential services which are now more than ever vitally important to the local community. These include Gloucestershire police and Gloucestershire County Council who provide children’s services and adult social care, as well as the local services we deliver such as bin collections, support for the homeless and support for the most vulnerable in the community. Therefore, if your financial circumstances have not been disrupted, it is really important that you continue to make the payments as set out on your bill.
There are currently no plans to generally reduce council tax as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. However if your financial circumstances have been disrupted by this situation and you may have difficulty paying your council tax, please contact us our advisers who will suggest the best solution for each individual or household, depending on their circumstances
We appreciate that people may be struggling so do please make sure you get in contact with us and that you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to. We want to support you as much as we can during this challenging time.
Q: I have lost my job. What should I do?
A: If you have lost your job and need help paying your rent you will normally need to make a claim for Universal Credit. We are still able to pay housing benefit if certain criteria apply. If you need help with your council tax payments you should make a claim for council tax support with us as soon as possible.
Q: Where can I get advice on housing benefit and/or council tax support?
Q: I am having difficulty paying, what should I do?
A: There are various options available to assist you while your income is disrupted.
If you pay your council tax in ten instalments between April and January, you can spread the year's charge over 12 months from April 2020 to March 2021. This will mean your monthly payments will go down but you will not have a break in payment at the end of the financial year.
If you pay your council tax in ten instalments between April and January, you can delay it by one month and pay your ten instalments between May 2020 and February 2021. You would then only have a one month payment break at the end of the financial year.
If you pay your council tax in ten instalments between April and January, you can delay it by two months and pay your ten instalments between June 2020 and March 2021. You would then not have a payment break at the end of the financial year.
If you pay your council tax in ten instalments between April and January, you could change it to pay by eight monthly instalments between June 2020 and January 2021. This will mean your monthly payments would go up but you would still have a 2 month payment break at the end of the financial year.
If you have a payment arrangement for arrears on previous years and you are unable to make your payments because your income has been disrupted by coronavirus we may be able to reduce or temporarily stop the payments. Please telephone 01242 264161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Following government guidelines most of the council tax team are now working from home therefore if you do need to have your instalments amended please consider registering for a ‘My Revenues and Benefits’ account at cheltenham.gov.uk/my-revenues-and-benefits. This will allow us to notify you by email when your instalments have been amended and you can then log in to view your account or pick up a copy of your bill so it is much quicker and easier. If you would prefer just to receive your bill via email but not set up a My Revenues and Benefits account you can register for paper-free billing at cheltenham.gov.uk/council-tax-e-billing
Q: My Direct Debit is due to taken but it will bounce, what should I do?
A: To prevent you paying bank fees, we would prefer to add/spread the instalment over the remaining ones that you have to pay. You can ask to delay an instalment by contacting the council tax team on 01242 264161.
Please remember that we have to give the bank advance notice of the Direct Debit and if your request is received after this time we will not be able to alter the Direct Debit.
Q: I am getting council tax support how do I get my £150.00?
A: We will be receiving a hardship fund from the government in April 2020 to help residents who are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus.
If you are of working age and receive council tax support you may be able to get a one off payment of up to £150 towards your 2020/2021 council tax bill. Any additional payment will be credited to your council tax account to reduce the balance and will not be sent to you as a cash payment. We will add it to your account and send you a revised bill as soon as we are able.
If you receive 100 per cent council tax support, and the balance for 2020/2021 is nil, then no payment can be granted. If you have an outstanding balance that is less than £150 your council tax will be cleared in full. This additional award is for 2020/2021 only (even if you have a balance outstanding from a previous year).
You do not need to apply for this. If you meet the criteria the payment will be added to your account in due course. You will then receive a new bill showing the deduction. We will start issuing these revised bill week commencing 8 June 2020.
Please register to receive your bill via email to allow us to get your new bill to you as quickly as possible.
Q: I need a copy of my council tax bill, how do I get this?
A: Please visit cheltenham.gov.uk/my-revenues-and-benefits to register and view your account and obtain a copy of your bill. You will need your account number.
Q: I need to contact the council tax team, how should I do this?
A: You can email us at email@example.com or telephone the council tax helpline 01242 264161. Please be aware that our phone lines are very busy at this time. Thank you for your patience.
Whether you're a council tax, business rates or benefits customer, you can view up to date information and check when payments are due 24/7 on our website through 'My Revenues and Benefits'. Please visit cheltenham.gov.uk/my-revenues-and-benefits to register and view your account.