Non-payment of council tax

You will be sent a council tax bill when you first occupy a property in the Borough, or annually in March for the forthcoming tax year.  Details of your council tax liability will be shown together with any reductions you may be entitled to.  You may pay your council tax bill in instalments.  If you have not expressed a preference, these instalments will be due on the first of each month - over ten months, between April and the following January.  The number of instalments will reduce if the initial bill is issued after April.

The Council promotes Direct Debit as the preferred method of payment as this is the most cost-effective way of collecting payment enabling the Council to control costs and keep the council tax charged to a minimum.   For details of all payment options available, please see Paying your council tax page.

If, at any time, you wish to discuss your bill and your payment options, please contact the council tax team on 01992 785504.


What happens if you don't pay?

First reminder

If an instalment is overdue, a reminder is issued for the amount of the arrears.  If payment of this amount is made within seven days, your instalments can continue.  If you cannot pay the amount of the arrears within seven days, you lose the right to pay by instalment plan and the whole balance on your council tax account is due to be paid.  If you do not pay the whole amount, a summons for non-payment will be issued. Please be aware that a reminder is not sent every month. 

Second reminder

If you paid the arrears on your first reminder in full but you are late paying a further instalment, a second reminder will be issued.  If payment of your arrears is made within seven days, then you can continue with your original instalment plan.  If you do not pay the arrears, you will lose the right to pay by instalments and you must pay the whole balance on your council tax account within the next seven days or a summons for non-payment will be issued.

You will not receive a further reminder, only two reminders are issued in any one financial year.

Final notice

If another instalment is missed under the same tax year, then the whole balance on your council tax account becomes due and a Final Notice is issued.  If this is not paid within seven days, then a summons for non-payment will be issued. 

Summons

If you have not paid after receiving a reminder notice, or have not paid the whole amount of the final notice, then you will receive a summons for non-payment of your council tax.  At this point, court costs of £60 will be added to your bill.  If you pay the whole amount on the summons, including the costs, then the case will not go before the Magistrates' Court. 

Liability order

If the amount shown on the summons is not paid in full by the court date, the Council will apply to the Magistrates' Court for a liability order.  An order will be granted to the Council if the Court is satisfied that the Council has followed the correct procedures in setting and requesting payment of the council tax.  This action will incur costs of £20 in addition to the £60 summons costs already added.

Once granted, the liability order provides the Council with the option of the following enforcement powers:

  • Request for information regarding your finances
  • Payment arrangements 
  • Attachment of earnings order
  • Deductions from benefits
  • Instruct enforcement agents
  • Bankruptcy proceedings
  • Charging order
  • Committal to prison 

For advice relating to debts you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.