If you miss a council tax payment, we will take action to recover the debt.

If you need help paying your council tax, it’s important that you let us know as soon as possible.

The debt recovery process

  1. if you miss a payment, we will send you a reminder giving you 7 days to pay
  2. if you still do not pay, you will receive a summons from the magistrates’ court – you will be liable to pay the full amount of council tax due, plus the summons costs
  3. if you miss three instalments in a financial year, you will have to pay your annual charge immediately and in full or a summons will be issued

A liability order for non-payment of council tax

If a court has made a liability order against you, we can take enforcement action to recover the debt.

Enforcement action can be:

  • deductions from your wages or benefits
  • the use of enforcement agents (bailiffs)
  • bankruptcy and charging orders
  • committal proceedings for your imprisonment up to 90 day

Council tax attachment to earnings order

If you're an employer, you or your company may receive an order from a court, local authority or the Child Support Agency to make deductions from the earnings of an employee.

The order will have been made because your employee:

  •  has incurred a debt or fine which a court has ordered him to pay
  • is in arrears with a council tax bill
  • has been ordered to pay maintenance to support a spouse or child

Read our leaflet to find out how to comply with the order.

Do I still need to pay if I’m appealing a decision about my council tax?

You must continue to pay your council tax while your appeal is being considered. If the appeal finds in your favour, you will receive a refund of any money due.

Council tax evasion

Council tax evasion is when a person deliberately gives incorrect or misleading information in order to pay less or no council tax.

If you think someone is receiving a discount or exemption that they are not entitled to, please contact compliance.

If any of your circumstances change, e.g. your income or savings increase, your child reaches 18, you move house etc, you must let us know immediately or you could be committing council tax evasion.

A court summons for non-payment of council tax

If you don’t pay your council tax, we can issue you with a court summons.

We will ask the magistrates’ court for a liability order. This is a demand for you to pay the full amount you owe, plus costs.

You have the right to attend the court and offer evidence why you aren’t liable for the debt.

If you go to the court hearing, you will be asked if you have a valid defence which will stop a liability order being granted. Valid defences include:

  • we have not followed the rules when we asked for payment, eg if we didn’t keep to the correct time periods when we sent bills or reminders
  • you have paid us what you owe
  • you are not the person named on the summons

If you don’t have a valid defence, the court will grant a liability order.

For more information contact council tax . If you have a query after court action has taken place, please use this form.