Council Tax arrears
If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, do not ignore the problem, please contact us and we will be happy to help you.
If you do not pay your Council Tax, your account may trigger one of several recovery actions that we take to chase payments for Council Tax.
We will normally send a reminder if your payment is 4 days late. This will give you a deadline by which to pay before further recovery action is taken. Many people forget or fall behind with the occasional payment and the easiest way to prevent this is by paying by direct debit.
If you do not keep up with your payments you may receive a summons which means that you have now lost the right to pay by instalments and the full amount, plus costs, is now due.
Do I have to attend court?
No – a summons is a notice that the Council has applied for a Liability Order in your name. The hearing is a block application for many accounts at the same time and is not for you as an individual.
What happens at the court hearing?
The Council will make an application to the court to grant liability orders on all outstanding Council Tax accounts. Your name is not read out and it will not appear in the local paper. If you decide to attend, there will be Council officers there to talk to beforehand about your payment options.
What is a liability order?
A Liability Order confirms that the billing process has been applied correctly on this Council Tax account and it gives the Council further powers to recover the outstanding amounts from you.
How can I stop any further action?
If you pay the outstanding Council Tax in full, plus the costs of the summons, a liability order will not be requested and no further action will be taken. You must do this before the hearing date.
We have received more than one summons; does each person have to pay costs?
Each person liable for Council tax at this address has been summoned but only one lot of court costs has been applied to the account.
Summons Costs: £62.50
Liability Order: £25.00
Please note that any summons and liability orders issued prior to 30th July 2018 were subject to a £65.00 summons charge.
Can I make a payment arrangement?
Yes, and we encourage you to contact us to do so. If you make these payments on time, no further action will be taken.
We will request details of employment status and details of benefits that you, and any other person named on the Council Tax bill have when making a payment arrangement.
I am not liable at this address, what are my options?
If you believe that a mistake has been made or your circumstances have changed then please contact us as soon as possible.
What happens next?
At the hearing, the court will grant a Liability Order which gives the Council further powers to recover the debt from you using other methods. We prefer to make a payment arrangement with you but if you do not do this, we have several options available to us. The main recovery options are:
Attachment of earnings – we will write to your employer to have money taken directly from your earnings.
Attachment of benefits – money can be deducted from your benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, Job Seekers Allowance or Universal Credit.
Enforcement agencies – your account will be sent to an enforcement agent who will contact you directly and may visit your home. There may be additional costs to pay.
What if I cannot afford the payments?
Many people fall into debt at some point in their lives and we aim to make affordable payment plans to help you. We encourage you to talk to us as soon as possible about your payments and options. Talking to us now may prevent any further action being taken.
What is the further information form for?
When a Liability Order is granted, the court requests that you provide further details to the Council. This includes your employment details. The form also gives you the chance to offer an alternative payment arrangement. You do not have to return this form if you provide this information over the phone to us.
The Council has power to impose a penalty or fine if you fail to provide the details requested.
Where can I get money management advice?
Citizen’s Advice – 0300 456 2552
Money Advice Service – 0300 500 5000
National Debt Helpline – 0808 808 4000
Debt Advice Foundation – 0800 043 4050
If your account has been sent to an enforcement agent (bailiff), please contact them directly.
Marstons – 0844 701 3980
Jacobs – 0151 650 4800
Rundles – 0845 658 5030