Do council tax arrears affect your credit score?

After falling behind on your council tax payments, you might worry how your credit score will be affected. Here’s how council tax arrears affects your credit score.

Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about council tax arrears affecting your credit score at all. Local councils don’t report any data to credit reference agencies. However, not paying your council tax will ultimately lead to fines and court action.

Will council tax payments be visible on my credit file?

No, whether you pay your council tax late or on time, it won’t appear on your credit report.

Will council tax arrears affect my chances of getting a loan?

No. There’s no way of lenders knowing that you’re in council tax arrears. Even if the debt is referred to court, this would be dealt with by the magistrates’ court, because non-payment of tax is regarded as a criminal matter, not a civil matter.

No fines imposed by a magistrates’ court appear on your credit report. They’ll impact your chances of getting a loan indirectly – by reducing your overall wealth.

Tips

Do

  • Pay your council tax on time. You can set up a direct debit to help ensure no payments are missed.

Don’t

  • Miss council tax payments so you can pay back other payments. If you’re struggling with debt, seek help from the government’s Money Advice Service MoneyHelper.

Example: John's loan application and his credit score

Following confusion with his tenancy agreement, John discovered that he owed almost a year’s worth of council tax.
He thought it couldn’t have been worse timing, as he was just about to apply for a mortgage.

Luckily, after some research he realised that council tax arrears have no impact on his credit score, and he still had enough savings to fund a mortgage deposit.

* This is a fictional, but realistic, example.

Bottom line

It’s important to pay your council tax on time, or you might suffer fines for late payment. Missing council tax payments won’t impact your credit score though.


Late repayments can cause you serious money problems. See our debt help guides.

Frequently asked questions

Finder survey: How important do Brits think it is to have a credit score?

Response55+45-5435-4425-3416-24
Very important42.11%41.52%44.92%52.17%40.78%
Quite important39.06%43.27%38.14%34.16%34.95%
Not that important9.42%8.77%12.29%7.45%15.53%
Not important at all5.54%3.51%2.12%2.48%2.91%
I don't know what a credit score is3.88%2.92%2.54%3.73%5.83%
Source: Finder survey by Censuswide of 1032 Brits, December 2023

Read about how different factors can affect your score

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