Before you complete a
time to pay application you should carefully work out your average
income and expenditure, and work out a reasonable and realistic offer
to repay arrears - remember you will also have to meet ongoing
payments of council tax too.
You can use our simple
online calculator here, use a more comprehensive income
& expenditure calculation here (opens as a Word document;
used by HM Revenue) or read more detailed guidance
and information here.
It is usually best to
calculate your finances and make an offer on a monthly basis - the
reason being that if you miss two payments then the protection of
time to pay flies off on the third missed payment. You can only
get a time to pay application granted once. So monthly offers
mean you get a bit more time to bring payments up to date etc.,
Your priority debts
such as mortgage or rent will be fixed and you will have little or no
control over such priority debts; however for discretionary
expenditure such as money spent on food, clothes, telephone calls
etc., you should be aware you will need a very good
explanation/justification if you expenditure goes above the accepted
industry 'trigger figures'.
Trigger figures are
used by many creditors - including HM Customs & Revenue and the
financial sector generally - and are based on average UK expenditure
derived from annual UK statistics (the Family Expenditure
Survey). You can check the standard
trigger figures here (for 2007/08 - remember they are up-rated annually).
When you complete the
time to pay application you must return it to the sheriff clerk.
He or she will intimate it on the council. Speak to the
council beforehand to see if they will accept your offer - if they
don't the application will call before a sheriff. It is up to
the sheriff to decide what is a reasonable repayment plan having
regard to your income, expenditure and personal circumstances.
If the time to pay is
disputed by the council you will need to appear in court to argue why
it is reasonable. You may be able to get a free money advisor
to help you do this (see opposite on 'more help?).
Navigate the links to find out how
to apply for 'time to pay'.