What is Council Tax?
Council Tax is an annual charge set by the Council. It is a property tax that goes towards paying for important local services. It is not a direct payment for services so it must be paid whether you use the services or not.
If you are unhappy with Council Services you must still pay your bill. If you have a complaint against a particular Council service, this does not give you the right to withhold all or part payment.
Council tax is a priority debt and therefore you must prioritise the payment, we would urge you not to ignore the notices that are sent to you.
If you do not pay your Council Tax or pay late you may be subject to recovery proceedings. At each stage of the recovery proceedings you are able to contact us directly.
Bill or Annual Bill
A Council Tax bill is issued advising you of how much is due and when to pay. The demand will show the ten statutory instalments for April to January. It is also now possible to pay over twelve months to spread the cost.
Instalments must be paid on the date specified and a late payment will result in a reminder being sent to you.
Council Tax Recovery
If you miss a council tax payment you will be sent a reminder notice, giving you 7 days to pay and requesting that you bring your account up to date.
If you do not pay within 7 days, you will lose your right to pay by instalments and will have to pay the whole year’s Council Tax instead.
If you are unable to bring the account up to date within 7 days you must contact us immediately.
If you do not pay your council tax after receiving a reminder we will send you a summons. The summons will advise you of your debt and a court hearing date. You do not need to attend court if you agree you are responsible to pay the debt.
You must pay the summons cost and set up a payment plan before your court date to avoid further action being taken.
Receiving a summons may affect your credit rating.
A liability order is obtained through the Magistrates court; costs can be applied to your Council Tax account for the issue of a liability order.
The liability order gives the Council the legal right to use any of the following recovery methods:
- Enforcement Agents
We can send the Liability Order to certificated Enforcement Agents who will collect the unpaid Council Tax. The Enforcement Agents will either collect the debt, or remove goods to the value of the debt. This method of recovery can incur substantial charges.
- Attachment of earnings
We can order your employer to make deductions for Council Tax from your wages, in accordance with the Government guidelines; this is called an Attachment of Earnings. It is an offence for your employer not to comply with the order.
- Deduction from Benefits
We can ask the DWP to make deductions for Council Tax directly from your benefits to pay the debt.
- Charging Order
If you own your property we can apply to the County Court to have a charge placed against your home. The Charging Order works in the same way as a mortgage – it would have to be paid if your sell the property.
We can apply to the County Court to have you made Bankrupt. This is a very serious step that would affect your ability to get credit etc. If you are made bankrupt the official receiver will control your spending.
Making a payment
To prevent any of the above actions being taken, please ensure that your council tax is paid on time. If you are behind with your payments, please let us know immediately.
There are also a number of debt advice organisations you can speak to if you are having problems with debt.
Benefit Calculators (Find out what benefits you could get and how to claim)
Council Tax Reduction
If you are on a low income you may be entitled to a Council Tax Reduction. See our Council Tax reduction page for more information.