Council Tax Attachment of Earnings Orders (CTAEO)

I’ve received an attachment of earnings for an employee. What does this mean?

Guidance for employers

What is the Council Tax recovery process?

The council issues a council tax bill showing instalments which a council tax payer is, by law, required to pay.

  • If payments are not made by the date they are due, reminder notices are issued.
  • If the council tax payer does not bring their payments up to date, the council applies to the Magistrates’ Court for a summons directing the person who is liable to pay to appear before the court to explain why the council tax has not been paid. The council has proof that the relevant notices have been issued which can be presented to the Magistrates at the hearing.
  • If non payment is proved, the court makes a liability order for the full outstanding balance of council tax plus the costs incurred by the council in obtaining a the liability order. Once made, the liability order gives the council a number of options for recovering the unpaid amount from the liable person (the debtor), including making an attachment of earnings.
  • If the council considers the attachment of earnings the most appropriate option, the council will issue a Council Tax Attachment of Earnings Order (CTAEO) to the employer who it believes employs that person and sends a copy to the debtor.
  • The order must include the CTAEO deduction tables set out in Council Tax legislation.

What duties does the CTAEO place on the employer?

  • If the person who is subject to the CTAEO is no longer or has never been in your employment then you are required to inform the council, in writing, within fourteen days. Your responsibility for administering the order then ceases.
  • If the person who is subject to the order is in your employment then you are obliged to made deductions from their earnings. What are considered ‘earnings’ and the deductions to be made are explained later in this guide.
  • The deductions should begin as soon as possible after the receipt of the order and should be forwarded to the council by the 19th day of the month following that in which the deduction was made.
  • When you give your employer their pay statement, you must inform them in writing about each deduction and either the total of the deductions made under the CTAEO so far or the remaining balance.
  • If you do not usually give pay statements you must inform them in writing as soon as possible after making the deduction.
  • In each case you must also include the amount you have deducted of will deduct towards your administrative costs for operating the order.

What about administration costs?

You may deduct £1 towards your administrative costs from your employee’s earnings each time you make a deduction under a CTAEO. This amount must be included when you notify your employee about deductions made.

How long does the CTAEO last?

Deductions should be made each pay day until the total amount specified on the order has been paid over to the authority or until the order is discharged by the council.

What happens if the debtor leaves my employment?

If your employee leaves your employment, the order will lapse from the pay-day coinciding with or following termination of employment.

You must notify the local authority in writing within fourteen days of the debtor leaving your employment.

When the employee leaves your employment and you have notified the local authority nothing further is required of you. The local authority will have to serve a copy of the order on the new employer that will state the amount remaining to be deducted.

How should payments to the local authority be made?

You can send the council a payment either for each single deduction or the combined total of multiple orders where attachments have been made against more than one of your employees.

Each payment, whether for one or more employees, should be accompanied by a schedule setting out:

  • the account reference number shown on the relevant CTAEO and
  • where more than one deduction is being made for the same account reference, the court date shown at the start of the letter to which each deduction relates.

This will enable the council to credit the payment to the appropriate debt and will avoid the need to take up your payroll administrators’ time if the council does not have to seek clarification over the payment.

The schedule is not required to list CTAEOs that are active but where no deduction is due, although you may wish to do so to demonstrate there has not been an accidental omission.

Payments sent by BACS

Payment may be made to the Council from your own bank to the following council bank account:

  • Sort Code: 60-02-23
  • Account number: 99105837

Please quote the reference <%ACCOUNT_NUMBER%> when making each payment.

Please email the schedule for payments transmitted through the banking system to both the council’s Cashiers AND Recovery team at the following email addresses:

Email 1: cashiers.admin@eastriding.gov.uk
Email 2: recovery@eastriding.gov.uk

Please indicate on the schedule the total amount of the payment and the date payment was made.

The council cannot be held responsible for payments which are not accompanied by a schedule.

What can happen if an employer doesn’t comply with a CTAEO?

A CTAEO is a legal document and an employer could be liable for a fine if they:

  • fail to comply with the order unless they can prove all reasonable steps were taken to comply
  • fail to give all required notifications relating to the CTAEO
  • in giving notification make a statement which they know to be false in a material particular or recklessly make a statement which is false in a material particular.

What duties does the CTAEO place on the employee?

Your employee must, within fourteen days of leaving your employment or becoming unemployed or re-employed, write to the local authority giving:

  • the name and address of their employer
  • the amount of their net earnings and anticipated net earnings
  • their place of employment, the nature of their work, and any pay reference/works number.

Employees could be liable for a fine where they fail, without reasonable excuse, to supply information or make a statement that they know to be false in a material particular.

What duties does the CTAEO place on the council?

An authority must tell the employer when the whole amount to which a CTAEO relates has been paid, including when the payment was not made by means of a CTAEO.

An authority may, on its own account, or on application by the debtor or the debtor’s employer, make an order discharging the CTAEO. Where a CTAEO is discharged the authority should notify the employer.

What ‘earnings’ do I deduct from?

The amount of deduction should be calculated on the ‘net earnings’ received by the employee. ‘Net earnings’ means the amount of earnings left after first taking off the following:

Earnings are sums payable to the employee by way of:

  • wages or salary, including fees, bonuses, commission, overtime pay or any other monetary reward payable under a contract of service
  • statutory sick pay.

Earnings do not include:

  • sums payable by public departments of the Government of Northern Ireland or of a territory outside the United Kingdom
  • pay and allowances of members of the armed forces (other than that paid by an employer to a person as a special member of a reserve force)
  • benefit or allowances payable under any enactment relating to social security (this includes statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay)
  • tax credits
  • allowances payable in respect of disablement or disability; and
  • wages payable to a person as a seaman, other than as a seaman of a fishing boat.

How do I work out how much to deduct for employees that are paid weekly or monthly?

  • Select the earnings range in which your employee’s net earnings amount falls in the first two columns of the relevant table below.

Table 1 is for weekly pay, Table 2 for monthly pay and Table 3 for other pay periods.

The third column in the tables, to the right of that earnings range, shows the percentage of their net earnings that is to be deducted.

What if the employee is not paid every week or month?

If you pay your employee in multiples of weeks or months (for example fortnightly or quarterly), divide their net earnings by the number of weeks or months which the payment represents to find the equivalent weekly or monthly earnings amount. Select the appropriate earnings range in which the figure for the equivalent weekly or monthly pay rate falls in the first two columns in either Table 1 or 2 then deduct the relevant percentage of the whole pay amount.

If you pay your employee at irregular intervals which are not a whole number of weeks or months, divide the net earnings by the number of days in the period which the payment represents to find the equivalent daily earnings amount. Select the appropriate earnings range in which the figure for the equivalent daily pay rate falls in the first two columns in Table 3 then deduct the relevant percentage of the whole pay amount.

What if I pay my employee in other ways?

Examples of how to calculate deductions for other payments or payment patterns are shown after the Deduction tables in the panel below.

Deduction tables

Table 1

Weekly net earnings:

FromUp to% to deduct
-£74.990%
£75.00£134.993%
£135.00£184.995%
£185.00£224.997%
£225.00£354.9912%
355.00£504.9917%
505.00-*see below
*17% in respect of the first £505 and 50% of anything over £505

Table 2

Monthly net earnings:

FromUp to% to deduct
-£299.990%
£300.00£549.993%
£550.00£739.995%
£740.00£899.997%
£900.00£1,419.9912%
1,420.00£2,019.9917%
2,020.00-*see below
*17% in respect of the first £2,020 and 50% of anything over £2,020

Table 3

Based on daily net earnings:

FromUp to% to deduct
-£10.990%
£11.00£19.993%
£20.00£26.995%
£27.00£32.997%
£33.00£51.9912%
£52.00£71.9917%
72.00-*see below
*17% in respect of the first £72 and 50% of anything over £72

What if my employee receives more than one series of payments which are paid on separate dates?

Use the table for the shortest payment interval for which the employee is paid and determine the appropriate deduction percentage for that interval from the relevant deduction table.

For the other payments made on a different date and at less frequent intervals, make a further deduction of 20% of the net earnings.

You can deduct £1.00 towards administration costs for each separate deduction you make.

For example, if an employee receives basic weekly pay and also periodically gets other payments on different dates which are less frequent (commission, periodic performance based payments, Christmas bonuses etc.), use Table 1 to work out the deduction percentage from their net weekly pay (the shorter interval), then in addition, deduct 20% for other payments made in respect of a longer payment interval.

What if my employee receives more than one series of payments and these are paid on the same day?

If you pay your employee both their regular pay and an irregular payment (commission, performance based payment, Christmas bonus etc.) on the same day, you should combine the two net earnings amounts and treat the combined payment as if it were a single payment made on the regular pay day applying the appropriate percentage deduction for the relevant pay period from the deduction tables.

How do I work out deductions from holiday pay?

Divide the net amount of holiday pay by the number of weeks which the payment represents. From the equivalent weekly net earnings amount which this gives, determine the appropriate deduction percentage from Table 1.

Deductions from holiday pay should be made in addition to the amount of deduction due from any normal net earnings which are being paid on the same day.

If you are making one payment to your employer representing amounts for both holiday pay and normal earnings, you can only deduct £1 administration costs since you are only making one deduction from a single payment.

What if I’m already deducting money that’s previously been loaned to the employee?

Deductions should be calculated on the basis of net earnings before any repayment of any amount towards an outstanding loan.

How do I prioritise multiple orders?

You may be sent more than one earnings attachment for the same employee. Whether you should apply more than one order is determined by the type of order. If more than one can be applied, the sequence in which you apply them is determined by their priority status and the date they were made.

  • If you receive two or more orders which were made on the same date but are from different sources, you should prioritise them by date of receipt.
  • If they all originate from the same source you should seek clarification of priority from the issuing authority.

The types of earnings attachment orders you may receive are:

  • Attachment of Earnings Order (AEO) for maintenance or a fine (commonly known as priority AEOs)*
  • Attachment of Earnings Order (AEO) for civil debts (commonly known as non-priority AEOs)
    (
    The court will send you a copy of the AEO which will identify whether it is ‘priority’ or ‘non-priority’)
  • Child Support Deduction from Earnings Order (DEO)
  • Council Tax Attachment of Earnings Order (CTAEO)
  • Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA).

AEOs for maintenance or fines, DEOs and CTAEOs take precedence over each other by date of issue.

They all have priority over DEAs, AEOs for civil debt, student loans or a Scottish Current Maintenance Arrestment.

Only two CTAEOs from the same Billing Authority can be in operation against the earnings of an employee at any one time. Where two CTAEOs from the same Billing Authority are operating and you receive a third from the same Billing Authority, you cannot apply it and should return it to the Billing Authority that sent it to you.

The earnings which can be attached vary depending on the type of order. You must take care not to include a deduction which is already being made under a prior order in the available net earnings but you can include any money set aside as ‘protected earnings’ under a prior order.

Further enquiries

If you require further guidance or advice, please email the Council Tax recovery section at

Email: recovery@eastriding.gov.uk

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