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What happens if you don't pay your Council Tax

Reminder notice

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. This will tell you 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. 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, we will send a second reminder notice. If you fail to bring your instalment plan up to date, you will need to pay the full balance on your account. 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 lose your right to pay by instalments. If that happens, you will need to pay the full balance on your account. 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 is due. 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. We will add this to your Council Tax account.

If you pay the amount in full, including costs, before the court hearing, we will withdraw proceedings and won’t take any further action against you.

If you are unable to pay the full amount, please contact us to discuss repayment options.

If we make a repayment plan, we will still request a Liability Order and additional costs of £30. We will add this to your Council Tax account. As long as you make the agreed payments, we won’t take any further action against this Liability Order.

Whenever we arrange a repayment plan, we will always try to ensure that you have the financial means to keep to it. This will mean that 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 ask for a Liability Order for the remaining balance. We will add additional costs of £30 to your Council Tax account.

If the Order is granted, and no repayment plan is in place or has not been kept to, we can choose any of the following options to collect the debt from you:

  • Attachment to Earnings Order - we will send a letter to your employer and a copy to you. We will make deductions from your net earnings
  • Attachment to Benefits - we can apply for deductions direct from certain benefits. This can include Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Employment and Support Allowance
  • Enforcement Agents - we can instruct Enforcement Agents to your home to remove goods to the value of the outstanding debt and costs incurred. The agents will give you the opportunity to arrange for payment before considering removing your goods.

We will send you an enforcement letter at least 14 days before we take any of the above action. We advise you to contact us immediately to arrange payment and avoid the need for such action or additional costs.

If we instruct Enforcement Agents, you will incur additional costs. This is 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:

Jacobs Enforcement

Telephone: 0345 601 2692
Email: mail@jacobsenforcement.com
Website: www.jacobsenforcement.com

Rundles

Telephone: 0800 081 6000
Email: info@rundles.org.uk
Website: www.rundles.org.uk

Marston Holdings

Telephone: 0333 320 1822
Email: generalenquiries@marstonholdings.co.uk
Website: www.marstonholdings.co.uk

Further enforcement action

If appropriate, 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. This places a secured charge on your property. In some cases, this can lead to the forced sale of your property to pay the outstanding debt. If this happens, you will be liable for significant legal fees, interest and disbursements.
  • Bankruptcy - we may start bankruptcy proceedings against you to recover the debt. You will be liable for significant costs and legal fees.

We may also 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.

Page Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 March 2024 at 11:30 AM