The total amount required to meet court costs for debt collection also rose by 4.8%, from £292m in 2016-17 to £306m in 2017-18.
Responding to figures Don Peebles, head of policy and technical at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy, said: “An increase in council tax arrears speaks volumes about the financial strain felt both by the public and the public bodies that serve them. The “harp rise reflects the enormous financial pressures many local authorities are under.
It also adds additional burden on those households struggling to make ends meet, especially against a backdrop of rising inflation and an increasing cost of living. The councils that reported the largest percentage increase in arrears between 2016-17 and 2017-18 were Bromsgrove DC with 131%, North Hertfordshire DC (129%) and Copeland BC (76%). The LGC analysis did not find a correlation between total court costs for debt collection and the total amount of tax paid.
Thurrock Council reported the largest amount of court fees as a percentage of its outstanding arrears, spending £1.49m, or 61.5% of its total arrears. Despite this, the council reported a similar collection rate to many councils that spent much far less.
When looking at tax arrears per chargeable household, Liverpool City Council had the biggest proportional deficit with an average £472 owed in 2017-18. However, that had decreased by £25 per household from the previous year.
Ministry documents say the figures were submitted by councils themselves.