What happens if I don't pay Council Tax?

Paying your Council Tax by Direct Debit ensures that your payments are made on time every month. If Council Tax is not paid the following actions will be taken:

A first reminder

A reminder notice will be issued if you fail to pay an instalment. You will then have seven days to bring your account up to date by paying the overdue instalment.

If you do not pay the amount shown on your notice within seven days, your right to pay by instalments is lost and the FULL balance for the year becomes due and must be paid within the next seven days.

A second reminder

A second reminder notice will be issued if your account is brought up to date after the first missed instalment, but a following instalment is then late or missed.

Final notice

A final notice will be issued if your account is brought up to date following a second reminder notice, but a further instalment is then late or missed.

This notice requires payment in FULL.

A maximum of two instalment reminders and one final notice are issued in a financial year.

Court summons

When a FULL years balance payment has been requested and you do not pay, a summons for non-payment is requested from the Magistrates Court.

The cost of raising the summons is added to your bill.

If you pay the full amount of the summons, including costs, before the hearing date, you do not have to attend court and the case against you will be withdrawn.

If you make a payment arrangement prior to the Court hearing you do not need to attend Court, however the Magistrates Court will be asked to grant a Liability Order to secure the debt.

Provided you keep to the payment arrangement no further recovery action is taken.

Liability order

If you do not pay the total amount due on your summons the council will request a Liability Order at the Court hearing.

The liability order gives the Council powers to recover the outstanding debt using the methods listed below:

  • Attachment of Earnings Order
  • Attachment of Benefit
  • The use of an Enforcement Agent
  • Bankruptcy proceedings
  • Place a charging order on your property

A Notice of Liability Order will be sent to you after the Court hearing. This notice advises that if you do not make an arrangement with the council within 14 days the debt will be passed to an Enforcement Agency for collection.

The notice advises of the additional costs that will be incurred if this happens.

The notice also includes a questionnaire for you to complete to enable the Council to take a deduction from your wages or your Income Support/Job Seeker’s Allowance/Employment support Allowance if applicable.

Please do not delay in making a payment arrangement or returning the form with your employment or benefit details.