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Max1968

Back to work and Council Tax warning. Be careful.

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Thought I would put this on here just to help people avoid the situation I have found myself in.

 

Been on UC for about a year and a half and back in November found a job which pays a measly 14500 per year but of course is still over the UC threshold!  UC despite promising that I would be paid UC in November due to not being paid until the end of November didn't pay up because HMRC notified the DWP before I received my wages, but the main issue is Council Tax benefit which people need to be aware of.

 

I was advised by both the Council and DWP not to inform them what my income would be because it would fluctuate the first couple of moths due to not starting at the start of November and the fact that I was put on a temporary tax code, so they both felt that they would wait for HMRC to forward the correct figures rather than me "declare a change".  That was my mistake because for the next couple of months I still received an element of Council Tax benefit.

 

Then a couple of weeks ago the Council on top of three months nil UC award from the DWP asked for my last two payslips and days later I received a Council Tax bill in the region of £145 per month for February and March.  They then requested my latest pay slip and this morning I received a final bill for 2019/20 for which they were taking £363 by direct debit in March.  I can't afford £100 per month Council Tax let alone £363!!  I rang them and put half on a credit card and paid some via debit to bring March's bill down a bit but it will still be a struggle.

 

My advice is to be totally on top of this with the Council if you go back to work and lose your UC.  If I had fully known I would have paid extra in the months November, December, January so I didn't get walloped for one lump sum in one month but the letters come through thick and fast and aren't the easiest to understand and you could end up to your neck like me!!

 

To be honest you are "almost" better off on benefits.  "Make Work Pay" the DWP say.  Yeah right!!!

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I am not sure why the council would have told you not to provide proof of your income.

 

DWP wouldn't owing to the RTI feed and it would be your employers who reported your earnings to HMRC who are at fault, if you didn't receive the wages when they say you did.

 

All award letters etc tell you to notify the relevant departments about any changes.

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Yes indeed which is what I did, or the intention was there to do so.  My problem was in November I didn't start work on the 1st of the month so it wouldn't be a full months pay.  Then in December I had a pre booked holiday which I wasn't paid for (understandably) so again I wasn't sure on what my monthly wage would be.  On top of this as I was placed on a temporary tax code so I was taxed to the hilt in November and did receive reimbursement the following month but the Tax Office weren't sure when I would be reimbursed.  So January was the first pay packet that was 100% correct.

 

The DWP said not to add any changes in income online because the system doesn't have full capability to take into account fluctuating monthly income so they advised me that HMRC would just inform them, which is fine.  When I called the Council they were very much the same.  Rather than me trying to predict what I was going to receive at the end of the month they said they would await to be informed by the DWP of my income.  They then asked for all three pay slips in the last couple of weeks.

 

My point is that because I also worked on and off in a part time job both my UC and Council Tax benefit fluctuated each month so endless award letters for Council Tax were sent and it can be quite difficult to keep up.  If I had known that I was due to pay a large wedge to bring my Council Tax up to date in one month then I would have paid a higher Council Tax payment in Nov, Dec and Jan.  It's no ones fault it's just the way it is.  I'm just warning people in the same boat that it might be prudent to consider the fact that once all is sorted there may be a large Council Tax bill to pay because once working you stop being eligible for Council Tax benefit, and it may be better to pay more than they tell you owe via the letters to avoid a nasty shock at the end of the process.

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