How we recover Council Tax debt

If you’ve had problems paying your Council Tax, received a reminder notice and court summons and still haven’t paid, or haven’t completed the online personal financial statement to agree a reasonable payment plan, we will obtain a liability order which gives us more powers to recover the debt, as set out below.

Benefit deductions

If you receive Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support or Employment Support Allowance we can ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to deduct money from your benefit.  We can also request deductions from your Guaranteed Pension Credit.

Deductions of £3.65 per week will be taken to help clear your arrears.  You will be expected to keep your current bill up to date while the deductions for your arrears are being made.

Attachment to earnings

If we’ve obtained a liability order and we know your employer, we may serve up to two attachment to earnings orders. These will be sent to you and your employer.

The order will tell your employer:

  • how much you owe
  • how much they need to take from your wages (normal deduction rate)
  • the minimum amount you still have to take home (protected earnings rate)

We will send them the attachments to earnings booklet which outlines the amounts that can be deducted from your wages, depending on your earnings.

Your employer must comply with the order and make deductions from your net earnings as soon as possible, or they could be fined.

You must tell us if you change your employment within 14 days of the change or you may be fined.

You can request that an attachment to earnings is set up to prevent the debt being sent to an enforcement agent (bailiff) and prevent extra costs being added to your account.

You’ll be expected to keep your current bill up to date while the deductions for your arrears are being made.

Enforcement agent (bailiff)

If other attempts to reach a payment agreement fail, we will pass the debt on to our enforcement agents (bailiffs).

An enforcement agent’s actions follows three stages which are:

  • The compliance stage - A cost of £75 is charged for each liability order we pass to the enforcement agent. If you have multiple debts outstanding for which several liability orders have been issued significant costs will be added to the amount you owe.
  • Enforcement stage - a further cost of £235 plus 7.5% of any debt above £1,500 is added to the amount you owe once your account moves to the enforcement stage. An agent will visit your property to take control of your goods.
  • Sale or disposal - a further of £110 plus another 7.5% fee of any debt outstanding above £1,500 is added to the amount you owe, together with any sale or disbursement costs.

Recovery policy and code of conduct

The way in which we collect Council Tax is set out in our Recovery and Enforcement Policy.