Always let us know
We want to help you pay your council tax and we may be able to come to a payment arrangement that you can afford.
If you don't let us know that you are having difficulty making regular payments, you may incur further costs and charges which will have to be paid.
What do I do if I have problems paying?
We will consider making a payment arrangement with you at any stage.
We may ask for details of your income and outgoings to help you make an arrangement which you can afford and keep to. If you are working we will also require details of your employer, i.e. their name, address and contact details. Contact us to discuss what we can do for you.
Can I change my payment date?
Generally, you will be asked to pay on the 15th of the month but if your payment date is inconvenient, consider paying by Direct Debit as this gives you a choice of two additional payment dates – 1st and 25th of each month.
Contact us so that we can arrange this for you.
What happens if I don't pay?
Reminders and summons
If you don't pay your council tax on time, we will send you a reminder notice. If you do not bring the instalment or instalments up to date within seven days, you will lose your right to pay by instalments and, without further notice, after a further period of seven days, we may ask you to pay the full amount you owe for the year.
We will only send a maximum of two reminder notices in any financial year. If the payment is not brought up to date in accordance with the reminder notice, or we do not hear from you, you will be sent a summons to appear at court and incur costs.
If you receive a reminder or summons and are unable to pay, contact us immediately to agree a suitable payment arrangement.
At the court hearing, which you have a right to attend, we will apply for a Liability Order which will give us additional powers to collect the money you owe. You will incur additional costs when we obtain the Liability Order, bringing the total costs to £61.50.
We will notify you if we are granted a Liability Order and request that you complete a form about your financial position. Failure to complete this form could result in a maximum fine of £500 from the Magistrates Court. Once we have obtained a Liability Order, we can deduct a set amount from your salary or wages. If you receive Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support or Employment Support Allowance, we can ask the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) to deduct money from your benefit.
You should be aware that the following are not defences against the issue of the liability order and generally the order will be granted if the amount is due and has not been paid:
- You do not have enough money to pay the council tax,
- You have applied for Council Tax Reduction, or a discount, exemption or other reduction and are waiting to hear from the Council
- You have an outstanding appeal with the Council or a Tribunal
Attachment to Earnings
If you have received an attachment to your earnings or you are an employer who has been asked to make deductions from an employees earnings, it may help you to read our attachment to earnings booklet (pdf).
Enforcement Agent (formerly called bailiff) collections
If all other attempts to reach a payment arrangement fail, we will pass the debt to the Councils appointed Enforcement Agents (EA's) to collect. Any action taken by an EA on the Council's behalf is controlled by the Council's Code of Practice (pdf) and the National Standards for Enforcement Agents. You will incur further costs and charges when the EA's are asked to recover the debt.
If the EA's are unsuccessful in collecting the debt, we can also commence proceedings to make you bankrupt or place a charging order against your property. As a result of any of these courses of action you will incur further costs and charges.
Recovery code of practice
Please write to:
Tel: 01443 425002
Fax: 01443 680505
Minicom: 01443 680708