Unpaid Council Tax
This section tells you about Council Tax reminders, summons and what to do if you are having trouble paying your bill.
The bill for Council Tax will state how it should be paid. Normally it will be payable by monthly instalments on dates shown on the bill. If an instalment is not paid a reminder will be issued.
It is important that a reminder is paid quickly. If not, further action may be taken and costs incurred.
A summons is issued if, after a reminder has been issued, the Council Tax has not been paid as shown on the bill issued. Costs will have been charged that will need to be paid in addition to the Council Tax.
The Council will ask the magistrates court to issue a liability order which enables the Council to take various steps to recover the unpaid Council Tax, including passing it to a bailiff to recover.
The summons will show a payment arrangement that will be acceptable to the Council. Provided you make these payments by the due dates shown no further will take place once the liability has been issued. There is no need to contact the Council if you intend to make these payments.
To avoid further action and costs the summons must be paid in full before the court date.
If a liability order is granted against you because Council Tax is not paid, this information may be shared with Credit Reference Agencies and other Third parties to assess creditworthiness.
If you accept that you have not paid the tax as billed and/or will be making the payments as set put on the summons there is no need to attend court.
The Court cannot consider the following matters or make a payment arrangement with you–
- If you are liable or not to pay the Council Tax
- If you believe the amount billed is wrong e.g. you have not been granted a discount or exemption
- You believe the Valuation Band is too high and/or you have appealed against it
- You have applied for Council Tax Support or believe you have not been given enough
- Whether you can afford to pay or not
You need to contact the Council Tax Section to discuss these issues or any other enquiries you have before the court date. They cannot be dealt with at the Court
In 2014 the Government change the law on the fees that Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) can charge.
Once your case is sent to an Enforcement Agent it will cost you at least £75.
If an Enforcement Agent has to visit you to collect the unpaid Council Tax this will cost you at least a further £235.
We don't want to send your debt to an Enforcement Agent, so if you are finding it difficult to pay you to need to talk to us and make a payment plan.
If you are on a low income you may be able to get Council Tax Support to help with your bill. However, you must apply for this and provide all necessary information to support your claim. Click here for more information about Council Tax Support.
Until any claim for a Council Tax Support is assessed the Council Tax remains payable as billed and the remainder should be paid.
If you have appealed against your Council Tax banding the Council Tax should still be paid until the outcome of your appeal is known. If you are successful in your appeal any overpayment that results will be repaid.
If you feel the bill is incorrect e.g. you believe someone else is liable or you should be given a discount or exemption you should contact Council Tax as soon as possible.
If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax bill there are a number of things to consider that may help.
Council Tax Support
Council Tax Support may be awarded to households on a low income. It is based on household income, capital and personal circumstances.
Discounts, Exemptions and Reductions for people with Disabilities
Check if you are entitled to a discount, exemption or reduction for people with disabilities.
If you have several debts and are experiencing problems in paying them it may help to get independent guidance from an advice agency. They may be able to help you prioritise your debts, work out how much you are able to afford and may negotiate repayments on your behalf. As well as advice on dealing with debt they may give information on Benefit entitlement and on Council Tax discounts and relief. Click here for information about advice agencies.