A sheriff officer can send you an earnings arrestment order letter if you have Council Tax owing to a Scottish Local Authority. In this article, we’ll discuss what this means and how this can affect you.
Why is an earnings arrestment order used?
This is used by councils as a process to recover non-payment of council tax arrears. Before the order can go ahead, councils are obliged to follow set procedures and protocols. These are governed by Scottish law.
You will be sent a reminder letter if you do not ensure your monthly council tax bill has been paid on time. Typically giving you 7 days to pay the full amount due by setting up an arrangement. If you do not pay the amount due within 7 days of receiving this reminder letter, the local authority will send you a final reminder. This will now give you 14 days to pay the full council tax bill for the remainder of the year, this is because your right to pay by fixed instalments has been taken away.
It’s a good idea to speak to a wage arrestment expert if you receive an earnings arrestment order. They’re able to give you the right professional advice and information on what options are available to you.
If you decide not to pay your council tax after you have received a final notice reminder, or if you do not communicate with the council to set up a new payment plan, this will now mean that further action will take place. The local authority now has the right to go ahead and make an application for a summary warrant from the sheriff court.
You will receive this summary warrant by post or it may be hand delivered by a sheriff officer. This means that an officer from Scott & Co., Stirling Park, Walker Love or Alex M Adamson will contact you to carry this out. Sheriff officers are granted special powers by a sheriff court to enforce these court orders. Councils can contract sheriff officers to collect council tax arrears by using a summary warrant. Some of the well-known sheriff companies in Scotland are Scott and Co, Stirling Park, Walker Love and Alex M Adamson. The summary warrant will note how much you owe and will include a 10% penalty added on top. Contact details for the sheriff officer will also be provided. You have 14 days to speak to the sheriff officer and arrange a payment plan.
If you don’t come to an agreeable plan with the sheriff officer, they can ask for your current employer’s details, your national insurance number and your bank details. If you don’t give them these details, you could be fined for this. When this goes ahead, your council will ask the sheriff court to now apply a charge for payment order.
How will an earnings arrestment order affect me?
An earnings arrestment will mean your employer will take money from your payslip that goes towards paying your debt. This is carried out automatically and the reduced amount will be sent to the sheriff company. This will continue until you have paid off the council tax debt in full.
The court will work out how much can be taken from your payslip on each pay day. The figure you owe will include the council tax arrears, admin fees, and any interest that is owed.
A calculation is used to work out how much should be taken from your pay. This will be based on how much you are earning each month. This includes any bonus and overtime you do. It does not account for any other debts you are paying right now, as well as your monthly shopping and utility bills. If your earnings differ each month, the amount will be adjusted in accordance with this. An earnings arrestment can cause financial hardship for many households.
An earnings arrestment may not be able to take place under specific conditions. If you are in receipt of an unemployment benefit such as jobseeker’s allowance or employment support allowance, you are exempt from this. This will also apply to self-employed workers and those who work for the armed forces. For this arrestment to go ahead, the right conditions have to be met. You should also expect to receive a debt advice and information pack in the post. This pack gives you advice on how to deal with various types of debt and what options you may have. Read through this carefully.
Once certain conditions are in place, an earnings arrestment order can make life very difficult. Check with your employer to see if any disciplinary action may take place, as your job may be at risk depending on what type of work you do.