Scots are being urged to find out whether they might be able to claim council tax exemptions and potentially save themselves significant amounts of money.
The charity Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has been helping thousands of Scots manage their finances and their council tax bills in recent months and is emphasising the point that exemptions are often available to people who have no idea they might be eligible.
“The problem is that many people don’t realise they’re entitled to a Council Tax reduction. Or they think that because they’re already getting one – say the single household discount - they wouldn’t qualify for others,” Myles Fitt from the CAS wrote in an article published recently in The Herald.
“It doesn’t work like that,” he explained. “There’s a whole range of discounts and exemptions. However, if you don’t claim them, you won’t get them.”
The CAS has been tracking the feelings that Scots in general have had about their financial situations over the course of the pandemic, with council tax arrears showing up frequently as a major source of worry.
Around one in four Scots have expressed at least some concern about their income over the past year since the Covid-19 crisis began, with 24 per cent saying they are worried about keeping up with their council tax bills.
In the early weeks of the pandemic, the Scottish government decided to increase funding for its Council Tax Reduction scheme.
Close to half a million people across the country are taking advantage of the discounts associated with the scheme but the CAS is keen to see uptake increase still further.
Mr Fitt has been highlighting the availability of council tax exemptions in part because its clear that thousands of Scottish families have seen their arrears building up as they’ve struggled to make ends meet in the context of the pandemic.
The CAS financial health spokesperson has said he worries that significant debt problems will emerge and create potentially a “real crisis moment” later this year once the government’s furlough scheme ends and other forms of financial support are scaled back.
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