Problems paying your bill?
If you are having difficulty in making regular payments do not ignore the situation as this could mean that you have to pay further costs and charges on top of what you already owe. Please contact us to discuss your options, we may ask for details of your income and expenditure to help come to an acceptable payment arrangement.
On a low income?
If you are on a low income you may be able to claim a council tax reduction.
Free advice if you have financial problems
You can get free debt advice from:
For more help visit our debt and budgeting section.
What happens if I don't pay?
- If you miss an instalment, you will get a reminder notice giving you seven days to bring your payments up to date.
- If you do not do so within the time or, if after a subsequent reminder you fall behind with your payments again and do not bring them up to date as required, we will issue you with a notice cancelling your right to instalments and requiring you to pay the outstanding balance in full.
- If the balance is not paid, we will serve a summons for the outstanding amount plus costs
- Our summons costs are £48.00.
We can apply to the magistrates' court for a liability order. You will be served with a summons advising you when the court will consider the application and the amount we are seeking to recover. This will be both the outstanding amount of council tax plus the costs incurred by us for making the application. Our summons costs are £48.00 with £20.00 liability order costs, making a total of £68.00. You have the right to attend the court hearing and offer evidence as to why the order should not be made.
If the court grants a liability order, we are legally entitled to request certain information from you about your employment and income to help us decide how to recover the debt. You are legally required to give us this information.
The main options for recovery are:
- Attachment of Earnings Order – We can order your employer to recover the amount direct from your wages or salary and pay it straight to us.
- Deductions from Universal Credit/Income Support/Job Seeker's Allowance/Employment & Support Allowance and Pension Credit - If you receive any of these benefits we will be able to apply for direct deductions from the benefit. Deductions are made at the rate of 5% of the personal allowance for a single claimant aged not less than 25 years.
- Instructing an enforcement agent (formerly known as a bailiff) – We can employ an enforcement agent to recover the debt, including taking control of goods and selling them. The charges involved are set out in legislation - they can be quite considerable and you will be liable for paying them. We strongly advise you to avoid matters reaching this stage.
Once a liability order debt is passed to an enforcement agent, you will be charged a fee of £75 (for each order) which is to cover the cost of the agent making contact with you and securing your full payment of the debt (including their fee).
If you ignore the attempts made by the agent to contact you and arrange payment, the agent will visit you and a further fee of at least £235 will become payable. This second fee will be higher if the amount of unpaid council tax you owe on the liability order(s) at that time is more than £1,500. The fee will increase by 7.5% of that part of the debt, which exceeds £1,500. For example, if you owe £2,000 in unpaid council tax, the second fee will be £235 plus 7.5% of £500 (i.e. £2,000 less £1,500) which is £38 (the regulations say that any fraction of £1 pound is rounded up to £1). Therefore, in this example the second fee will be £273. Further fees are payable if action is taken with a view to selling your goods.
Other options for enforcement action include bankruptcy proceedings and for a debt of £1,000 or more, a charging order which is where we may apply to a county court for a charge on your property.