Problems paying

If you have problems paying your council tax, you should contact us. We may be able to:-

  • change the payment date
  • extend the instalments 
  • change the payment method (you can arrange to pay by direct debit on line)
  • check to see if you are entitled to any discounts, exemptions, disabled relief or other help with your council tax.

We may need details of your income and outgoings. It would be helpful if you could have this information to hand when you contact us.

What happens if you don't pay your council tax?

If you don't pay your council tax on time, we will send you a reminder notice around two to three weeks after the instalment was due. If you do not bring your payments up to date and make further payments on time, you will lose the right to pay by instalments and the full amount left for the year will become due.

Contact us immediately if you have received a reminder and are unable to pay

What happens if you still don't pay?

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 DWP 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 each week from these benefits. The DWP will pay this amount to the council tax office to reduce the amount of arrears.

  • Enforcement Agents (Bailiff) Collections

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 (Bailiffs) can take goods from your home to clear the arrears and will charge extra costs for their services.

  • Compliance stage - £75.00
  • Enforcement  - £235 (Additional fee of 7.5% of any amount over £1500) 
  • Removal / disposal of goods - £110 (Additional fee of 7.5% of any amount over £1500)


  • Compliance stage – 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 – 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 - This covers activity from the first attendance at the property to remove the goods to a place of sale.

What happens if you have still not paid your council tax?

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

Bankruptcy and charging orders

We may also commence proceedings to make you bankrupt or apply for a charging order to be placed on your property.

You will incur further costs if either course of action is taken.

Debt Advice

If you are having financial difficulties you can get free advice about budgeting and any debts you may have from:

Bolton's Money Skills Service, Silverwell Lane, Bolton, BL1 1QN

Tel : 01204 331968

Bolton Citizen's Advice Bureau at 26-28 Mawdsley Street, Bolton BL1 1LF

Tel: 0844 826 9707

National Debtline

Freephone: 0808 808 4000

Council Tax

Po Box 32



Telephone 01204 331599
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