Unpaid Council Tax

Pages in Unpaid Council Tax

  1. 1. You are here: What happens if you don't pay
  2. 2. Difficulty paying Council Tax

1. What happens if you don't pay

If you fall behind with your payments or you are paying later than the dates shown on your bill we will send you a reminder, giving you seven days to bring your account up to date.

If you bring your account up to date and fall behind again we will send you a second reminder. No further reminders are issued if you have already had a second reminder.

If you are unable to bring your account up to date you will lose the right to pay in instalments and the full years council tax becomes due.

Magistrates' Court summons

The next stage is to issue you with a summons. When the summons is issued to you, you are liable to additional costs of £55.00. We will ask the Magistrates' Court for a 'Liability Order'. This is a demand for you to pay the full amount you owe and you will be charged an additional £47.00.

You have the right to attend the court and offer evidence as to why you are not liable for the debt. Even if you decide not to attend court, you should speak to us. We will try to come to a reasonable arrangement with you for payment but we cannot do that unless you contact us.

If you choose to go to the court hearing, the Magistrates will ask if you have a valid defence which will stop a liability order being granted. The examples of valid defences are:

  • the amount has not been demanded in accordance with the regulations for example, the Council failed to follow the correct time periods in serving bills and reminders; or
  • the amount has been paid; or
  • you are not liable for the amount on the summons.

What happens next?

If the court makes a liability order against you, the Council can take enforcement action against you in order to recover the debt. This will usually mean either deductions from wages and benefits or the use of enforcement agents, although bankruptcy and charging orders are other options. See the pages below for more info.