Help with your Council Tax

Missed payments

Council Tax Support

Extra help with your Council Tax bill

Council Tax reductions in special circumstances (Section 13A)

Free advice and information

Missed payments

If you are having trouble keeping up with payments or if you disagree with the recovery actions taken, you should contact us as soon as possible using our Council Tax Recovery contact form.

If you miss a payment or pay late, we will send you a reminder giving you seven days to pay. If you do not pay, or regularly pay late, you will receive a court summons and will lose your right to pay in instalments. You will have to pay any costs we incur recovering what you owe; we will, however, allow you a final opportunity to propose repayment of the debt using our Council Tax arrangement form. Failure to agree repayment terms may result in your account being sent to our enforcement agents, in which case further costs will be incurred. Alternatively, we may request deductions directly from your salary or benefit payments.

The Council Tax department is successfully pursuing bankruptcy, insolvency and committal proceedings against non-payers. This is to increase the revenue collected on behalf of all local tax payers. It is a criminal offence not to pay your Council Tax – which can result in a prison sentence.

Council Tax Support

If you believe you are eligible for help towards your Council Tax bill, you can make an application. If you are not sure whether you are entitled you should do so anyway, so that we can check.

Working Age Council Tax Support cannot be backdated – this means it is important you apply straightaway.

Any Council Tax Support will be deducted from your Council Tax bill.

If you already receive Housing Benefit and wish to apply for Council Tax Support, you can complete the Council Tax Support application.

Please note that this form is only for people already getting Housing Benefit. This is because we use the information already held to assess Council Tax Support.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2021-22

Extra help with your Council Tax bill

Discretionary Council Tax Support is for people who are already receiving Council Tax Support but need extra help with their Council Tax.  Payments are usually made as a short term measure for those experiencing difficult circumstances.

We have a limited fund to help people who are in the greatest need. Full details can be found here:Discretionary Council Tax Support Payments Policy 2019-20

Apply for discretionary council tax payment payment

Council Tax reductions in special circumstances (Section 13A)

We can sometimes give a short-term Council Tax reduction to people who find themselves unexpectedly in difficult circumstances. This type of reduction can apply to both occupied and unoccupied properties. It is called a Section 13A reduction because it comes under Section 13A of the Local Government Finance Act.

We can only give Section 13A reductions in exceptional situations. The money to cover the reductions comes out of our own funds and the decision to make a reduction is at our discretion – we don’t have to give a reduction to anyone.

Exceptional situations might include where fire or flood damage means it’s not possible to live in the property, or where the Council Tax payer faces sudden financial problems they could not have expected.

Before you apply for a Section 13A Council Tax reduction

Before applying, you must:

  • take all reasonable steps to resolve the problems that are causing you to apply for the reduction
  • apply for any other types of Council Tax reduction you might be able to get – see Discounts & Exemptions

Applying for a Section 13A Council Tax reduction

We will need evidence of your situation and of what you have done to try to resolve the problems. We will also need to be sure that if you are in arrears with your Council Tax, this is for a genuine reason – not simply because you have chosen not to pay.

If you are applying because of financial problems, you will need to tell us about your income and about what you spend.

If you are applying because of fire or flood damage, you will need to send full details of the damage plus evidence such as reports, photographs and written confirmation from your insurance company that they will not cover the Council Tax in respect of the damaged property.

To apply, contact the Council Tax Recovery Team.

What happens next

We will look at the information you have given us and come back to you if we need more details.

Once we have everything we need, your case will go to the next Rv Panel meeting for a decision. The panel meets once a month, so it might be up to a month before your case is looked at. You must keep paying your Council Tax while you wait to hear from us.

If the panel agree to give you the reduction, you will get a new Council Tax bill to confirm. If the panel decide not to give you the reduction, we will tell you what you can do if you want to challenge their decision.

Section 13A reductions are for a maximum period of a year. You can make a new application when the reduction ends if your circumstances are still the same, but there is no guarantee you will get another reduction.

Advice and information

If you are having trouble paying your Council Tax, you can get free information and advice from:

Organisation Contact details
Citizens Advice Reading 03444 111 306


Drop in:  Minster Street, Reading RG1 2JB
(see for opening hours)

National Debtline 0808 808 4000 (free phone)


Mon – Fri 9am – 8pm or Sat 9:30am – 1pm

StepChange 0800 138 1111


Mon – Fri 8am – 8pm or Sat 8am – 4pm

Payplan 0800 280 2816


Mon – Fri 8am – 8pm or Sat 9am – 3pm

Reading Borough Council Debt Advice The Council’s Debt Advice Team can help Council tenants, residents affected by the Benefit Cap or residents working with Reading Borough Council Housing Advice Team to explore ways to increase your income, reduce your outgoings and review the options for you to deal with your debts.


0118 937 2197 or email –

Reading Borough Council Housing Advice If you think you are at risk of being made homeless, please contact our Housing Advice team. The service is based at the Civic Offices and runs drop-in sessions from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.


0118 937 2165