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What will happen if you don't pay your Council Tax?

If you miss a payment or don't pay the full amount by the date shown on your bill, we will take action to recover the amount outstanding.

First reminder notice

Issued if the full amount of the instalment is not paid by the due date. Gives 7 days for you to bring your account up to date. Failure to do this means the full amount for the year becomes due after a further 7 days.

A summons will be issued if payment is not made as requested on the reminder. This will incur additional costs which must be paid.

Second reminder notice

Issued where any further instalment has not been paid, following the issue of a first reminder. The notice advises that this is the second time a reminder has been issued and gives 7 days for you to bring your account up to date. Failure to do this means the full amount for the year becomes due after a further 7 days. A summons will be issued if payment is not made as requested on the reminder. This will incur additional costs which must be paid.

Final notice

A final notice will be issued if: 

  • A payment is late for the third time     
  • The final payment is missed
  • Only one instalment is due and it is not paid on the due date
  • All the instalment dates for the year have passed.

The full amount for the year is now payable. A summons will be issued if payment is not made as requested on the notice. This will incur additional costs which must be paid.

Important - The following steps will cost you more money.

Summons

Issued when:

  • Payment has not been made as set out on a reminder or final notice, or
  • You have not kept to payments agreed on a special arrangement.

When a summons is issued, additional costs are added to the outstanding amount. The magistrates will issue a liability order unless the debt and costs are paid in full before the court date.

Liability order

A liability order gives the council legal powers to recover council tax. This includes:

  • Asking your employer to take money direct from your pay
  • Asking the Department for Work and Pensions to take money direct from your benefits or pension credit
  • Using enforcement agents to collect the debt. If an enforcement agent calls at your property, this will cost you more money. If you don't pay, you could lose your belongings e.g. your car, caravan, furniture, computer, TV or DVD player, which can be sold to pay your debt.
  • Taking action to make you bankrupt.
  • Having a charging order made on your property if you own your home.

A form asking for details of how much money you have coming in to the house and what you spend is sent out shortly after the court date. This helps the council work out a repayment agreement with you. As long as you make all the payments as agreed, no further recovery action will be taken. 

Committal

If all else fails, the council can ask the magistrates to send people to prison

If you are unable to pay your Council Tax, you should contact the Revenues and Benefits Service immediately. The earlier you contact us, the less likely it is that you will have to pay extra costs.