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Council Tax Protocol

Council tax arrears is now the largest debt issue seen by local Citizens Advice. We know from our casework how poor collection practices can often exacerbate a resident's debt problems. This can contribute to more stress, anxiety or other mental health issues which, in turn, can hinder employment prospects and lead to more calls for assistance from the council and its partners.

Tightening budgets and demand growth mean councils face significant pressure to collect all the tax they’re owed. However, where local authorities and debt advice agencies work closely together, collection processes can be improved, with more early intervention to assist people struggling with payments, helping prevent further charges, alleviate stress and reduce both collection costs and demand on local public services.

This is why Citizens Advice and the Local Government Association (LGA) have worked in partnership to produce the Council Tax Protocol.

The protocol offers practical steps aimed at preventing people from getting into arrears in the first place and advises on procedures for ensuring that enforcement agents act within the law and guidelines. 

First launched in 2009, refreshed in 2013, and revised in 2017, the protocol is a proven aid to fair and effective debt collection.

We will be tracking which councils sign up to the protocol on the below map: