Carmarthenshire County Council is one of 29 local authorities taking part in a trial with HMRC to recover unpaid Council Tax.

Under the pilot scheme, authorities will be able to use the debt information sharing powers introduced by the Digital Economy Act (2017).

Through the trial, non-paying customers who are employed or have an income will be contacted to start paying their debts, or they will have their debt deducted directly from their earnings through their employer.

The Act allows councils to obtain employer and income information from HMRC for people who have failed to pay their Council Tax and have an order to pay by the local magistrate’s court.

The pilot will allow the council to help manage and recover unpaid Council Tax, which could be used to improve services to residents.

Carmarthenshire County Council already works closely with debt advice providers to support vulnerable residents who are struggling with debt.

Anybody who finds themselves in a position where they cannot pay their Council Tax should contact the local authority immediately to discuss their situation.

The pilot will last one year before being reviewed before a decision is made whether to roll the programme to all councils in England and Wales.

Cllr David Jenkins, Executive Board Member for Resources, said: “The vast majority of Carmarthenshire’s residents pay their Council Tax every month which helps to pay for vital services and to support some of the authority’s most vulnerable people.

“It is wholly unfair that there is a minority of people in the authority who benefit from, but refuse to contribute to, the collective pot at a time when local authorities are relying more and more heavily on Council Tax to deliver vital services.

“We will continue to support those people who are struggling to make ends meet, but it’s time for those who are avoiding Council Tax to play their part and we hope this pilot gives us the power to hold these people to account.”

There are 84,855 domestic properties in Carmarthenshire. £93.13 million was collected in Council Tax in 2018/19.

£2.24million of arrears was outstanding for the year 2018/19 at March 31, 2018, but action is being taken to recover.

Since the introduction of Council Tax in 1993, £5.33million of unpaid Council Tax is outstanding (as at March 31, 2019, cumulative)