Online forms

If you have problems using our online forms please try again later. more »

Council Tax Collection Commitment

Bradford Council recognises the impact of the current cost of living crisis and that some of the district’s most vulnerable households will have increasing difficulties in paying their Council Tax, alongside other household bills.

We are committed to working with our Council Tax payers and partners to collect and recover Council Tax in a fair and reasonable manner.

Our commitment is underpinned by 6 Key Principles:

  1. We will make it easy to pay
  2. We will communicate clearly and in plain English
  3. We will work with you to try and prevent financial problems
  4. We will identify and support vulnerable residents
  5. We will use fair and robust collection methods
  6. We will treat all Taxpayers fairly and with respect

1. We will make it easy to pay

We will promote and encourage payment by Direct Debit wherever possible. This includes offering a wide range of payment dates to suit different budgets and pay deadlines. We offer 5 different payment dates for Direct Debit payers; these are 5th, 10th, 15th, 25th or 28th of the month and payment over 10 or 12 months.

Set up a Direct Debit for Council Tax

If Direct Debit is not an option, we will ensure that you can pay at any time of the day or night at your convenience offering a range of online and telephone payment options. For non- Direct Debit payers, payment dates are the 5th or 15th of the month.

What can Council Taxpayers do?

You can consider making payments by Direct Debit, and if this is not possible, use an alternative payment method to ensure payments reach us on time.

2. We will communicate clearly and in plain English

We will issue bills accurately and on time. All of our communications will be in plain English and contain details of how and when to pay and how you can ask for help if you need it.

We will take every opportunity to collect up to date telephone numbers and email addresses from you so that we can contact you to help negotiate payments and let you know when payments are overdue.

We will encourage you to self- serve wherever possible because it is the quickest and easiest way to manage your account.

We use text messages and emails to encourage payment as well as more formal reminders to help you pay on time.

What can Council Taxpayers do?

Let us know about any changes affecting your bill as soon as you can, ideally using the self-service forms on our Change of Circumstances page. Please reply quickly when we ask you for more information.

3. We will work with you to try and prevent financial problems

We work closely with other agencies such as Citizens Advice to help you access independent and accredited debt advice if you need it. For example, we have signed the Citizens Advice Debt Protocol which encourages fair methods of collection and are a Money Adviser Network referral partner.

We will always encourage early engagement and try to avoid adding costs to accounts, if we can.

We work with Welfare and Debt Advice partners in the Voluntary and Community Sector to make sure our residents can access necessary help and support.

We follow correct processes designed to support those in debt and struggling such as the Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space).

We will work with you and these agencies in specific cases, and will be willing to negotiate payments at any point in the process and/or withhold action for a short period of time to allow for an affordable and sustainable payment plan to be arranged.

What can Council Taxpayers do?

Let us know if you are struggling to pay so we can discuss how best we can help you.

If you have any difficulty paying and feel that you would benefit from independent advice, contact the Council Tax team who can explain what is available.

4. We will identify and support vulnerable residents

We will ensure that all staff involved in Council Tax collection are aware of the help available for those who are vulnerable. The council takes vulnerability very seriously. If you are or someone you are acting on behalf of is vulnerable (our definition is shown below) then we can help you.

A vulnerable customer is one who is by virtue of their personal situation, personal characteristics, or the conduct of creditors and their agents is unable to understand, engage or participate in the recovery process

We will ensure that residents experiencing financial difficulties are given advice on welfare benefits, the Council Tax Reduction scheme and other discounts and exemptions and wider financial support to help improve your income and prevent a worsening situation. This information can be found on our website and other documents we send you.

What can Council Taxpayers do?

Please read the information and updates that we send and claim any help you are entitled to that may increase your income and/or reduce your Council Tax bill.

5. We will use fair and robust collection methods

Early in the collection process we will contact you through a range of methods to encourage payment. This includes by voice, text or email message to ask you to make payment or contact us as well as via the statutory reminder process. When statutory notices are issued, they may lead to costs being added to the Council Tax account so it is important to contact us as soon as possible if you are struggling to pay - you can call us on 01274 437792, or fill in our Council Tax contact form.

Costs are added to Council Tax accounts to cover the costs of collecting and recovering Council Tax from those who pay late or who do not pay. By adding costs, it avoids raising the overall amount of Council Tax for those who do pay as required. We do not add costs without going through the correct legislative process. We cannot cancel costs if recovery notices have been issued correctly as these costs have already been incurred.

We will advise residents through all the stages of recovery action about the help and support available and also about the consequences of non-payment.

We will ensure that action taken at the late stages of the recovery process is proportionate and reasonable and that appropriate support and advice is provided.

We will ensure that those who can pay, do pay, using court action and other appropriate enforcement actions where needed.

Enforcement is a necessary and important part of the Council’s activity as uncollected Council Tax results in higher Council Tax in the future. Additionally, when Council Tax is unpaid or paid late there is a financial impact on the council which may affect the services the council is able to deliver.

What can Council Taxpayers do?

If you have any difficulty paying, you should get in touch immediately to discuss your account. If we contact via a voice, text or email message it is important that we get a response. Any concerns about the validity of our contact can be checked via our 'contact from us' page or by calling our team on the telephone number on the bill.

6. We will treat all taxpayers fairly and with respect.

Our team will always treat you politely, professionally and with respect. We want you to contact us as soon as possible if you are struggling to pay and will be non-judgemental and will maintain confidentiality.

We will ensure our residents have the information they need to access our service

We are committed to ensuring that our residents are not discriminated against on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion/belief, pregnancy and maternity, sexual orientation, sex, marriage and civil partnership and low income/low wage.

We will follow the council’s Equality and Diversity Policy

What can Council Taxpayers do?

Engage with the Council Tax team positively when we contact you to work together to agree payment options.

If you are struggling to pay, we may be able to offer help. Please call us on 01274 437792, or fill in our Council Tax contact form.