If you have problems paying your council tax, you should contact us.
If you think you should be entitled to a discount or an exemption, you can check here and apply online.
Click below for further information about recovery procedures...
» We will send you a reminder notice around two to three weeks after the payment was due.
» If you have received a reminder, you can still contact us to make an arrangement to pay.
» If you do not bring your payments up to date or contact us to make an arrangement, you will have to pay the full amount for the year immediately
If the full amount is not paid, a court summons may be sent and you will incur costs of £100.00. Contact us immediately if you are unable to pay the full amount including costs before the hearing date.
Applications for help with your council tax, discounts, exemptions or appeals against charges will not stop proceedings. Where two or more people are responsible for paying the charge a court summons will be sent to each person named on the account.
We will then apply to the Magistrates Court for a liability order if the full summons amount, including costs is not paid before the hearing date
Council Tax -Liability Order
If you have not already contacted us or made an arrangement to pay before the court hearing then we will let you know if the court has granted a liability order and we will ask you to complete a form about your financial position. If you do not complete this form you could be fined up to £1000.
A liability order gives the Council the power to demand information about your earnings and employment.
Various steps can then be taken to recover your debt, details of which are given below
Attachment of Earnings
» This is an order sent to your employer to deduct a percentage of your pay.
» Your employer will pay this amount to the council tax office to reduce the amount of arrears.
» Employers can charge £1.00 towards administration costs for each deduction made.
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 of earnings guide, under downloads
Deductions from Benefits
An attachment of benefits can be applied if you are in receipt of the following DWP benefits:-
» Income Support
» Job Seekers Allowance (income based)
» Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
» Universal Credit
» Pension Credit - Guarantee Credit
An application may be made to the DWP to make a weekly deduction from these benefits. The DWP will pay this amount to the council tax office to reduce the amount of arrears
If all other attempts to reach a payment arrangement fail then the debt will be passed to our enforcement agents to collect. Any action taken by an enforcement agent on our behalf is controlled by our Code of Conduct.
Enforcement Agents can take goods from your home to clear the arrears and will charge extra costs for their services
» Compliance stage - £75.00
This fee covers activity from the receipt of the case. It includes the issue of a notice of enforcement, dealing with any contact from the person(s) who owe the debt and any processing of correspondence or payments
» Enforcement - £235 (Additional fee of 7.5% of any amount over £1500)
First attendance by the enforcement agent (bailiff) to the person’s premises or doorstep. The fee includes all the work carried out at this stage so there are no additional visit charges
» Removal / disposal of goods - £110 (Additional fee of 7.5% of any amount over £1500)
This covers activity from the first attendance at the property to remove the goods to a place of sale.
If the enforcement officers are unsuccessful we can apply to the Magistrates' Court to commence committal proceedings. This will incur additional costs of:-
Committal summons - £245.00
Warrant with bail - £75.00
Warrant without bail - £75.00
If you owe Council Tax, we may decide to take bankruptcy action against you.
The consequences of bankruptcy can be severe.
»Your credit rating will be affected,
»Your assets will be seized
»You could lose your home.
Any costs incurred by the council for making you bankrupt or by the administrator of your bankruptcy will be added to your debt and recovered from any monies or assets identified by the administrator.
If we do decide to take bankruptcy action against you, we will write to you first giving details of your debts and explaining how bankruptcy will affect you. If you receive a letter about bankruptcy from us, please contact us straight away to make an arrangement to pay. For more detailed information about bankruptcy, visit the Insolvency Service website
If you owe Council Tax, we may decide to place a Charging Order on your property.
If we decide to do this, we will first write to you giving details of your debt and explaining how a Charging Order would affect you. Please contact us us straight away to make an arrangement to pay.
If you do not make an arrangement to pay the debt we will apply for the Charging Order and ask the court to include our legal costs.
Once we have obtained the Charging Order, if you still do not pay the charge including the costs, then we can use that Charging Order to take possession of your property to sell it or obtain the proceeds of any future sale.
Committal to Prison
If the enforcement agent is unable to recover the debt, and another way of recovering the debt is not appropriate, we will make an application to the Magistrates' Court for your commitment to prison.
The commencement of Committal proceedings can result in additional costs being incurred and the Magistrates can send you to prison for a period up to 3 months.
If you are summonsed to appear at court and you do not attend the hearing, we can ask the Magistrates to issue a warrant for your arrest.
Discretionary reductions to council tax
Extra help with your Council Tax may be available if:
» You are affected by the changes made to council tax discounts and
exemptions for unoccupied properties introduced from April 2013, or
» Your council tax support does not meet your full council tax liability
The scheme is purely discretionary; there is no statutory right to a reduction in council tax. However, if you disagree with our decision, you (or someone else representing you) may request a review. This should be submitted in writing within one calendar month of the original decision. A different officer will look at the original decision and the additional evidence supplied.
Discretionary help with Empty Property Charges
This only applies if you have been affected by the changes made to council tax discounts and exemptions from April 2013.You must show you need additional financial help.
Apply online here
Discretionary help with Council Tax Support
This applies if you receive Council Tax Support but it is not enough to pay your full Council Tax liability. You must show you need additional financial help.
Download a form
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