If you are having problems paying your council bills, you should let us know as soon as possible.
We are sympathetic to circumstances of genuine hardship and we will work with you to put arrangements in place that will take your financial circumstances into account. Please remember that Council Tax is a priority debt and should be paid before other non-priority debts.
As soon as you realise you are struggling to pay, contact us on 01302 734454 and we'll see what we can do. Ignoring the situation will only make it worse.
Do you qualify for a reduction or exemption?
If you're on a low wage or receiving benefits, you may qualify for additional support. Visit:
We may be able to help by allowing you to:
- pay over 12 months from April to March instead of 10
- make special payment arrangements. You will need to provide information about your household income, expenditure and your current employment.
- renegotiate payments on any arrears to keep current year up to date, as this will avoid further costs and recovery action
If you have wider debt problems, get some advice now.
What happens if I don't pay?
If you do not contact us, and do not make payment, action will be taken to recover any money outstanding. This will involve the issue of a reminder and summons and the addition of costs. Further non payment can result in the use of Enforcement Agents (formerly known as bailiffs), an attachment to your earnings and certain benefits, an application for bankruptcy or a charging order on your home, and ultimately committal to prison.
The fact sheets attached to this page have been produced to try and help you understand the process by which Council Tax arrears will be recovered and to offer practical advice on what to do at each stage of the recovery process.
Refusing to pay?
The billing and collection of Council Tax is covered by legislation set by the government. We will tackle any avoidance tactics used to avoid payment of Council Tax, which will have repercussions for the individual concerned. Ultimately you can be sent to prison for refusing or knowingly avoiding payment and we will not hesitate to use such powers where it is absolutely necessary. Providing false information to avoid Council Tax registration and payment will also be dealt with seriously and action to prosecute individuals concerned will be taken.
We can instruct an Enforcement Agent to collect outstanding Council Tax debt. We will only do this if:
- you have not completed and returned the personal information form sent to you
- you have not made or maintained a repayment plan
- other methods of recovery such as an attachment to earnings or benefits are not successful
If your debt is passed to an Enforcement Agent, you will incur a fixed fee of £75 for each liability order outstanding when they issue a Notice of Enforcement to you. Any payments or offers of repayment should then be made to the Enforcement Agent.
If you do not arrange to pay the Enforcement Agent or do not pay as per an agreed arrangement, they will visit you. This will result in an additional fee of £235 plus a further 7.5% of any balance owed over £1500. Your goods may be seized for sale and an additional fixed fee of £110.00 plus a further 7.5% of any balance owed over £1500.00 will be charged plus reasonable storage and auctioneers fees.
If you still fail to pay you could face bankruptcy proceedings, or even a prison sentence.
- Are you Having Difficulty Paying Your Council Tax
- Download (101KB - PDF)
- I have received a Council Tax reminder Fact Sheet
- Download (123KB - PDF)
- I have received a Council Tax Summons Fact Sheet
- Download (126KB - PDF)
- I have received a Council Tax Liability Order Questionnaire Fact Sheet
- Download (125KB - PDF)
- Defences against a Liability Order
- Download (123KB - PDF)
- My debt has been passed to an Enforcement Agent
- Download (207KB - PDF)
- Income and expenditure form
- Download (220KB - PDF)
- Employer regulations
- Download (433KB - PDF)