stop wage arrestment
How do I stop a Wage Arrestment for Council Tax debt?
Are you falling behind or having difficulty with repaying council tax debt in Scotland? Council tax debt can create a difficult financial situation for you and your family. If you have missed payments, the amount owed can increase very quickly. The recollection strategy used to recover the money can be jarring to say the least.
A wage arrestment is one of the main strategies used.
If you’re currently having to face a prospective wage arrestment situation, or you are apprehensive about this strategy to recover council tax debt, the following guide details how this method is used and more importantly, how you can avoid it.
Want to speak to one of our specialist advisors about dealing with wage arrestments? Call us on 0141 255 2634, alternatively, please complete and submit the form above. Our advisors provide free professional advice and guidance.
There isn’t an easy option when you’re faced with council tax debt in Scotland. Fortunately, there are solutions available that will help you avoid further financial difficulty.
If you want to understand how a wage arrestment works and how it is used, or you’re currently at risk, continue reading for further information.
Are you ready to find a solution for your council tax debt in Scotland? Call us today for free specialist advice on 0141 255 2634
What is a wage arrestment?
In Scotland, a wage arrestment is one of the most common tactics used to recuperate council tax debt.
This strategy will require your current employer to deduct money from your wages. Your employer will subtract a specific amount from your net income (money earned after tax and national insurance) on each date you’re due to be paid. The amount deducted will be forwarded on to the council to repay the council tax debt.
A wage arrestment can be used for a number of different types of debt. However, they are mainly used for recovering council tax debt.
The method applies to a set of protocols collectively known as diligence against earnings.
- Wage arrestment is used to collect a single debt
- Current maintenance arrestment is used to enforce the payment of maintenance, such as that awarded by a court during a divorce settlement
- A conjoined arrestment order is granted by the court to enforce payment of two or more of the same type of debts
It is important to remember that a conjoined arrestment can be used for two or more wage arrestments that are in place at the same time but not for an earnings arrestment and current maintenance arrestment.
Want to speak to one of our specialist advisors about a wage arrestment? Call us on 0141 255 2634, alternatively, please complete and submit the form above. Our advisors provide free professional advice and guidance.
When can a wage arrestment be used?
Below we have outlined the usual procedures to be expected when recovering council tax debt:
Generally, council tax is to be paid over 10 (sometimes 12) monthly instalments. If you do miss a payment, your council should send you a reminder notice giving you at least 7 days to pay the outstanding balance.
If you fail to pay any missing instalments after the reminder notice, your right to pay by instalments will be taken away. In this instance, you will receive a final notice which will give you 14 days to pay the outstanding balance for the remainder of the financial year. (Note that it may be possible to negotiate with some councils to still pay in instalments by contacting them directly.)
If the full outstanding balance is not paid, the council can then apply to the sheriff court for a summary warrant. This is a certificate provided by the sheriff court which states how much council tax is owed.
The council and/or sheriff court do not have to notify you that they are applying for a summary warrant. At this stage you will not be able to negotiate with the court before this summary warrant is granted. You will only find out about the summary warrant once you receive it in the post. The summary warrant is issued by a sheriff officer. It will state how much is owed and who you should contact to arrange a repayment plan. You will no longer be making payments to the council, you will now be making these repayments to the sheriff officers. The amount you owe will also increase because there is an automatic penalty fine of 10% added to the balance once a summary warrant has been issued.
Arranging a repayment plan
You can arrange to repay the amount owed with a figure you feel comfortable with. Ensure you come to an arrangement that you will be able to meet. It is much better to pay a smaller amount regularly over a longer duration than to push yourself and fail to make payments on time.
Charge for payment
If you are unable to come to a suitable repayment arrangement, the sheriff officers will ask you to provide the following:
- Name and address of your current employer
- National insurance number
- Bank account details
- Name and address of any other party who is also liable to pay council tax with you
If you fail to provide this information within 14 days, there will be an additional fine applied to the outstanding balance.
During this time, the council will obtain a charge for payment. It is advisable to ensure these legal documents have been completed correctly. If your name or the amount owed is incorrect, the documents may be invalid.
Once this charge of payment has been served, it must also include a debt advice and information package which explains your rights and encourages you to seek further advice. If this hasn’t been included, any attempt to arrest your wages may be illegal.
If you’re unsure about how the debt advice and information package should look, you can download this PDF to check.
Once the charge for payment expires, normally after 14 days. The sheriff officers now have the power to recover this money from you by using the following methods:
- Arrest your earnings
- Freeze your bank account(s)
- Taking money directly from your bank account(s)
- Removing belongings from your home and selling them
Once a charge of payment has been issued, there is still time to take action. You can still make a repayment arrangement before it expires. This will prevent the above actions from taking place.
Are you ready to find a solution for your council tax debt? If you would like to speak to one of your specialist advisors for a free consultation, call us on 0141 255 2634 or complete and submit the form at the top of this page.
Who can receive a wage arrestment?
Generally, anyone who is employed (excluding serving members of the armed forces) can have their wages arrested. Here are a few rules:
- You must be employed (self-employed people can’t have their earnings arrested)
- You must not be on unemployment benefits (e.g. Income Support, ESA, JSA)
- You must not be a serving member of the armed forces
- Your debt must be more than £50
How much of my wages can be taken?
There are restrictions on how much money can be deducted from your wages, including additional procedures that outline what will happen if more than one creditor attempts to arrest your wages.
The amount taken from your wages will ultimately depend on how much you earn. Any payments for commission, bonus or overtime will also be considered as part of your wages.
You can get additional advice about how much can be taken from your earnings by speaking to one of our specialist advisers today on 0141 255 2634 or complete and submit the form at the top of this page.
How will my employer react?
The additional administration will unlikely be seen favourably by any employer. However, it is a legal requirement for them to deduct the required amount ordered by the courts from your wages. Your employer also has the right to subtract a further £1 administration cost each time money is taken from your salary.
Wage arrestment can be difficult to deal with in the work place and can put you in an uncomfortable financial situation. It is also important to check the terms of your employment contract as there may be a clause stating that wage arrestment will lead to disciplinary proceedings taking place. This is more likely to be the case when working for a financial institution.
In the event of the above circumstance, you can apply to the court for a Suspended Attachment of Earnings Order. If you are able to provide strong evidence of why the wage arrestment should be suspended, you may be able to prevent it. One specific example could be disciplinary proceedings and/or dismissal at work.
If you need further advice about any aspect of wage arrestment. Contact us now to speak to our team of specialist advisors. Call us on 0141 255 2634 or complete the form below to request a call-back.