Problems paying your Council Tax
If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax.
Check if you can claim:
You could consider:
- paying by direct debit. This gives you a choice of payment dates
- checking if you are eligible for an exceptional hardship payment
If you are not eligible for discounts or support and are still struggling to pay. You can apply for a payment arrangement.
Council Tax collection framework
We are committed to helping all residents to pay their Council Tax bills.
- maximising Council Tax Support take-up
- providing accurate bills as soon as possible
- helping people to make affordable payments arrangements (if we have a liability order)
If bills remain unpaid, we will use all available powers to collect the debt. Including:
- court summons
- collection through enforcement agents
- charging orders against property
- in extreme cases, imprisonment
The Council Tax collection framework provides information on the different stages and actions that we may take:
Reminders and final notices
If you miss a payment we will send you a reminder. We will send a maximum of 2 reminders for the bill.
If you ignore a reminder or a final notice we will send you a summons (£21.70 will be added to the amount you owe).
You will lose your right to pay by instalments and will need to pay the full balance.
The summons will tell you how much money you owe and will explain how we are taking the matter to the Magistrates' Court.
In court we will apply for a liability order (£22.30 fee will be added to the amount you owe). You don't have to attend the Magistrates' Court but contact us before the court hearing.
The liability order gives us legal powers to recover the money you owe:
- request information from you about your finances
- deduct an amount from your benefits
- ask your employer to deduct an amount from your wages ( Attachment of earnings )
- place a charging order on your home. This could force the sale of your house if your debt is more than £1,000 and you are the owner of your home
- start bankruptcy proceedings if your debt is more than £5000
Enforcement agent (bailiff)
The enforcement agent will contact you to agree a payment.
If they cannot contact you by phone or letter they will visit your home (£235 fee will be added to the amount you owe) to make a payment arrangement. They will list any goods that could cover the amount you owe.
If you fail to keep to your agreed payments they will return to your home and take these goods to cover the debt.
If the enforcement agent can't collect the debt, we can send you a summons to attend a committal hearing in the Magistrates' Court.
The magistrate will look at your circumstances. If they believe you should have paid the money, they will issue a warrant of committal and you could go to prison for up to three months.