Council Tax Refund: Council deducts £150 from bank accounts instead of paying it

Residents have been left with £150 after a North Kent council inadvertently removed money it should have paid out as a state energy bill rebate

Worried man in front of a laptop at home
The problem affects residents of Swale Borough Council

A Kent councilor has apologized after accidentally withdrawing £150 from residents’ bank accounts instead of paying the sum as a discount on energy bills.

Council tax refunds worth £150 have been deposited into the bank accounts of thousands of households across the country.

The money comes from the government and is intended to help people in council tax bands A through D with the cost of rising utility bills.

But Swale Borough Council in north Kent has taken £150 from some taxpayers’ bank accounts rather than pay them. Kent Live reports.

The council has since attempted to rectify the error by crediting those accounts.

However, this only corrected the accidental deduction, so that a new payment must be made.

It could be “a couple of days” before it shows up in people’s accounts, the council said.

This means that some people are concerned about being overdrawn or being hit with bank fees.

The council said: “People who are eligible for the Government’s energy rebate payments will see both a debit and a credit in their bank accounts today due to an error in the processing of the scheduled payments.

The mistake was made by Swale Borough Council


AFP via Getty Images)

“We deeply regret that this has happened and we have worked to rectify the situation and ensure people’s accounts are in a neutral position.

“If you are concerned, please check with your bank that both a debit and a credit have been made to your account.

Swale Borough Council has been asked for an opinion.

Who is entitled to the £150 tax refund?

The council tax refund applies to houses in council tax brackets A, B, C or D in England and Wales – around 80% of properties – but not to those in council tax brackets E, F, G and H (or I as well, in Wales).

Residents of Scotland are also eligible for a £150 reduction if they are in bands A to D – but they also qualify if they currently also receive a council tax reduction.

Those in bands outside of A through D may be able to get a boost in the form of an optional payment instead.

If you are eligible, the money does not have to be repaid and will be spent directly by the municipalities from April.

For those who pay by direct debit, the municipalities use the data they have in their system for you to transfer the money straight to your bank account.

If you don’t pay by direct debit, local authorities should prompt you to file a claim and ask for your account details so they can process the payment.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has urged households to watch out for scammers trying to steal your details and said councils will never ask for bank details over the phone.

Councils should write to you to ask for your details.

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