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Problems paying your Council Tax?

Always let us know

The Council Tax you pay funds local services including education, social services and the Police.

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.

As the Council is legally required to help provide necessary services, it is committed to collecting the amounts that are due on the required dates. This is to enable a quality service to be provided at the best possible value to the community.

We take swift recovery action against non-payers, if necessary through the Courts. The costs relating to this action are passed directly to the non-payer.

What do I do if I have problems paying?

You can make a payment arrangement with us 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. Contact us to discuss what we can do for you.

Can I change my payment date?

If your payment date is inconvenient, consider paying by Direct Debit as this gives you a choice of payment dates. Go to My Council Tax Online to set up a Direct Debit.

On a low income?

If you are on a low income you may be eligible to receive Council Tax Support or a Second Adult Rebate.

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 and incur a cost of £28.00.
  • If you receive a reminder or summons and are unable to pay, contact us immediately to agree a suitable payment arrangement.
  • All documents are now bar coded. You can use the bar coded document to pay at any Post Office or PayPoint outlet.

Liability Orders

  • Unless the summons is served incorrectly, we will not normally withdraw it. 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 an additional cost of £12.00 when we obtain the Liability Order, bringing the total in fees to £40.00.
  • 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 of Social Security to deduct money from your Benefit. 
  • You will pay £3.65 every week until the balance is cleared. If you are working we may write to your employer to request deduction direct from your salary. If we cannot deduct money from your benefit or earnings we will ask a bailiff to collect the money for us.

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.

Bailiff collections and committal proceedings

  • If all other attempts to reach a payment arrangement fail, we will pass the debt to our bailiffs to collect. Any action taken by a bailiff on our behalf is controlled by our Code of Conduct.
  • You will incur further costs and charges and if the bailiffs are unsuccessful, we can apply to the Magistrates Court for committal proceedings. We can also commence proceedings to make you bankrupt. As a result of either of these courses of action, you will incur further costs and charges.
  • From 6 April 2014, a new fee structure for bailiffs comes into effect. This change has been brought about by changes to the Regulations and applies to all local authorities. Consequently if you do not pay your Council Tax, you will incur substantially more costs. There is a Compliance Fee of £75.00 and an Enforcement Fee of £235.00.

Recovery policy and code of conduct