Council tax recovery

If you are having difficulty paying your council tax you should contact us. 

We cannot make a different payment arrangement until a court summons is issued. To make a new payment arrangement we  require full income details.

Missed instalment

If payment is not made within seven days of the instalment date, the council can start recovery proceedings. 

First reminder

If a payment is overdue, a reminder is issued showing the amount you need to pay. If payment is made within seven days, the instalments continue.

If you cannot bring your payments up to date within seven days, you should contact us. It may be possible to make different arrangements otherwise, a summons can be issued for the full amount of council tax due for the year. Plus £80 costs are added to your bill.

Second reminder

If payment is made after a first reminder has been issued and a further instalment is missed, a second reminder is issued for the unpaid amount. If payment is made within seven days, the instalment arrangement can continue.

If you cannot bring your payments up to date within seven days, you should contact us immediately. It may be possible to make different arrangements in exceptional circumstances. Otherwise, a summons is issued for the full amount of council tax due for the year. Plus £80 costs are added to your bill.

Final notice

If you miss another instalment payment after a second reminder has been issued, a final notice is issued for the full amount of council tax due for the year as you have lost the right to pay by installments.

Unless the whole amount is paid within seven days a summons is then issued, plus a further £80 costs are added to your bill.

A payment arrangement may still be possible, but Court action continues.

Summons

A summons is a document issued by the Magistrates Court. It is a legal order for you to appear before Magistrates at a time and place given on the form.

A summons can be delivered by posting it to the last known address of the debtor. We do not have to prove that the summons or reminder has been received but only that it has been posted.

You do not have to attend the hearing if you are not disputing the case but it is important that you try to pay the whole amount plus £30 of the costs before the hearing date (the remaining £50 costs will be withdrawn if you do).

 
If you are unable to pay in full and have received a Council Tax Special Arrangement order along with your summons, as long as you fully pay the arranged instalments on or before the agreed dates, there will be no further action taken, after the Court hearing.


The case is then presented to the Magistrates Court and a liability order will normally be granted for the council tax and costs. It is still important to either pay in full including costs or pay the special arrangement instalments to avoid the enforcement of the liability order.

Liability order

The liability order gives us the right to recover the debt by enforcement through various methods such as -

  • attachment of earnings
  • Enforcement Agent action
  • bankruptcy proceedings
    • A petition for bankruptcy can be presented in the County Court against any person owing at least £5000. This is a very serious matter and you can expect to lose your assets, including your home.
  • charging orders
  • committal to prison
    • An enquiry into your income and expenses takes place and a payment order made by the magistrates. Failure to maintain payments could ultimately result in a prison sentence. If you do not appear in court, the magistrates issue a warrant for your arrest, with bail.

After a Liability Order is granted we send you a letter giving you 14 days to pay in full or make a suitable payment arrangement. This letter includes a form requesting details of your household income which you must complete and return. The form is part of the legal procedure and must be returned by law. If it is not returned, a fine of £500 could be issued by the courts. If false information is supplied, the fine is up to £1000. A criminal conviction would also be recorded.

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