May 9, 2019 8:17 am Written by

Some Overlooked Priority Bills

Some Overlooked Priority Bills

When setting up a household budget, we know to list our priority bills to be paid first, and work our way down from there.

However, there are two (2) priority bills that sometimes get overlooked, or put on the back burner as maybe not that important, especially if we are struggling to keep our heads above the financial waters.

Those two bills are Council tax, and child maintenance.

Council Tax

The history of Council tax and how it is calculated, is long and slightly complicated. However, it is an important monthly bill, and the Councils rely on this money to provide much needed services.

Lately there has been the argument related to reforming Council tax, making it more like a property tax to bring it into the 21st century.

As to if this ever occur, for now, who knows?

For now, we all have to pay it, and depending on what Band your property is in will depend on how much you pay.

If you do not pay your Council tax, the Council has a few collection tools at their disposal to collet unpaid tax; one of those collection tools is the us of Bailiffs.

It is always best to not let things escalate to the level that Bailiffs are involved, and if for whatever reason you cannot afford to pay your Council tax, the Councils do offer options and concessions for those on low incomes, and also who may be out of work and on benefits.

You just need to stay in contact with your local Council and inquire as to what options they may offer.

Child Maintenance

Many parents know and understand what child maintenance is, and what it is for, however, there are still thousands of single parents not receiving child maintenance, and they should be.

The government defines child maintenance as “financial support towards your child’s everyday living costs when you’ve separated from the other parent”.

UK law firm Slater and Gordon, who specialise in family law state that “11% of mothers” have had to use food banks due to the fact their ex-partners refuse to pay child maintenance.

The Head of Family Law at Slater and Gordon, Hannah Cornish states, “Child Maintenance is a monthly payment given to the parent who usually provides the day-to-day care of the child and is a legal requirement. How much this contribution should be is determined by how much that parent earns and how much time they spend with their child.”

“Not providing for your child is a very serious crime which can result in a prison sentence. It is key to remember that this money is not for the ex-partner or mother or father of the child, it is to make sure the child has the daily essentials, such as school shoes or three hot meals a day.”

Even if someone is not a child’s parent, biologically, or through adoption, they can receive child maintenance. If they provide “day-to-day” care for a child for a minimum of 104 nights a year, they are entitled to child maintenance from one or both of the child’s parents.

As to how much a parent will pay in child maintenance is calculated off their gross income, and is 12% for one child, 16% for two children, and 19% for three or more children.

JMW Solicitor’s Cara Nuttall states, “The CMS makes its calculations on a set basis; there is no discretion.”

“The formula takes into account the income of the paying parent, how many other children are in his/her household or for whom he/she is paying maintenance, and how many nights the child spends in that parent’s care, on average, each week.”

There are those parents that do not pay child maintenance, and those that are not in a position to pay, such as they are unemployed, and/or receiving benefits.

Unfortunately if someone cannot afford to pay their maintenance, there is little that can be done, but for those that are working, just as with Council tax, there are a variety of ways to collect this priority bill.

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