What happens if I don't pay?
All Council Tax instalments are due monthly as per your Council Tax Bill. If you do not pay an instalment when it is due, we will send you a reminder notice to advise you of the amount you need to pay to bring your instalment plan up to date.
If you bring your instalment plan up to date within seven days, you can continue paying monthly. However, if you don’t pay, you will need to pay the full balance and we could take court action to enforce payment of the debt. If this happens, you will be liable for additional costs of up to £100.
Second and final reminder notices
If you bring your instalment plan up to date but then miss a further payment, you will be sent a second reminder notice. If you then don’t bring your instalment plan up to date, you will need to pay the full balance on your account and we could take court action to enforce payment of the debt. If this happens, you will be liable for additional costs of up to £100.
We will issue no more than two reminder notices to you. If you are late with any further payments during the year, you will automatically lose your right to pay by instalments. If that happens, you will need to pay the full balance on your account and we can take court action to enforce payment of the debt. If this happens, you will be liable for additional costs of up to £100.
You can still contact us to discuss an arrangement for repayment, even when the full balance has become payable on your account. However, we may continue with the court action.
What happens if I receive a court summons?
We will issue a summons to you at least 14 days before the court hearing. The costs for issuing a summons is £70, which will be applied to your Council Tax account.
If you pay the amount in full, including the costs, before the court hearing date, we will withdraw the proceedings and we won’t take any further action against you.
If you are unable to pay the full amount, you should contact us immediately to discuss the repayment options available.
If a repayment plan is made, we will still request a Liability Order and additional costs of £30 will be added to your Council Tax account. However, as long as you make the payments as agreed, we won’t take any further enforcement action against this Liability Order.
At whichever stage of the recovery process you make contact with us to arrange a repayment plan, we will try to ensure that you have the financial means to keep to that arrangement. This will mean that in order to help you, we may sometimes ask for full details of your income and outgoings.
Council Tax Liability Orders
If any of the total amount due is still unpaid on the hearing date (including the summons costs) we will still proceed and ask for a Liability Order to be awarded for any of the remaining balance and, additional costs of £30 will be added to your Council Tax account.
Where a Liability Order is granted, it also allows us to choose any of the further options to collect the outstanding debt from you if a repayment plan is not in place or has not been adhered to:
- Attachment to Earnings Order - a letter will be sent to your employer and a copy to you. Deductions are made from your net earnings
- Attachment to Benefits - we can apply for deductions to be taken direct from certain benefits, which include Universal Credit, jobseeker’s allowance, income support, pension credit or employment and support allowance
- Enforcement Agents - we can collect the outstanding debt by instructing Enforcement Agents to your home to remove goods to the value of the debt and costs incurred. The Enforcement Agents will give you the opportunity to make a satisfactory arrangement for payment before considering removing your goods.
We will send you an enforcement letter at least 14 days before any of the above action is taken and we advise you to contact us immediately to arrange repayment and avoid the need for any such action or additional costs.
If Enforcement Agents are instructed, you will incur additional costs in accordance with the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 - the fixed fees are:
- Stage 1 - Compliance Fee: £75
- Stage 2 - Enforcement Fee: £235
- Stage 3 - Sale Fee* (if applicable): £110 plus 7.5 per cent of the balance owed.
*Fee will only apply if the debt exceeds £1,500.
Enforcement agent contact details
We currently employ these Enforcement Agents:
Further enforcement action
If appropriate, and under certain circumstances, we may also take the following steps to enforce payment and collection of your Council Tax debt(s).
- Charging Order - if you own your home, we can apply to the County Court for a Charging Order, which places a secured charge on your property. This can, in some cases, lead to the forced sale of your property to pay the outstanding Council Tax debt. If this happens, you will be liable for the additional substantial legal fees, interest and disbursements incurred in this process
- Bankruptcy - we may start bankruptcy proceedings against you to recover your outstanding Council Tax debt(s). You will be liable for the substantial costs and legal fees incurred in this process.
There may also be occasions when we will advise you to seek help or legal advice from one of the voluntary organisations who specialise in debt counselling - further details are available on our advice page.
Make a payment or set up a Direct Debit
If you want to make a payment or set up a Direct Debit, please visit our payments page.