Council Tax recovery process

Council Tax recovery process

If you don't pay, or fail to make future Council Tax payments on time:

• you lose the right to pay by instalments
• you have to pay the full amount
• we issue a summons
• we take action through the Magistrates Court to obtain a liability order against you
• costs associated with issuing a summons and obtaining a liability order are added to your bill

Instalment reminder

First an instalment Reminder Notice is sent asking for any outstanding payments to be paid to bring the instalments back up to date. The notice will also state that failure to pay any future instalments on time will cancel the instalment facility and the full amount to the end of the financial year will become due and payable immediately.

Final notice

If a customer continues to default or falls into arrears again, a Final Notice will be issued. The Final Notice will state that their instalment facility has now been cancelled and that the full balance to 31 March of the current financial year is due within 14 days from the date of the Final Notice.

Court summons for council tax arrears

If you've recently received a court summons for council tax arrears:
you don't have to attend court unless you want to dispute your case
• you can accept the provisional payment arrangement on the back of the summons before the date of your court hearing
• we'll confirm whether we accepted the payment arrangement
• we'll send a, 'Arrangement Confirmation'
• you must make the agreed payments on time

If you don’t agree a payment arrangement and haven't paid the full balance before the court hearing, we'll ask the Magistrates to make a Liability Order at the court hearing. We can then:

• take payments directly from your earnings
• take payments directly from your Income Support or Pension Credit
• instruct bailiffs to seize your goods and sell them at auction
• apply to the Court for your committal to prison
• Instigate bankruptcy proceedings against you, or place a charge on your property

Any further costs incurred with the enforcement agency will be added to your debt; the government set the enforcement agency’s fees.

Liability order for council tax arrears

If you're behind with council tax payments and a Liability Order has been made by the Magistrates, you should do the following with 14 days of the Liability Order being granted:

• contact our Council Tax Recovery Team to agree to settle your arrears and avoid further action or costs
• agree a payment arrangement to clear your arrears before the end of the current financial year

If you feel you are unable to clear your arrears within the current financial year (by 31 March) contact the Council Tax Recovery Team.

Enforcement action for council tax arrears

If you do not agree a way forward to clear your council tax arrears within the current financial year, we may refer your debt to an enforcement agency. Enforcement agents that operate on our behalf have a formal contract and are monitored for customer service.

Any further costs due to bailiff action will be added to your debt.

The government Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 set costs charged by enforcement agents in 3 stages:

• compliance stage: £75.00
• enforcement stage: £235.00 + 7.5% of any debt over £1,500.00
• sale or disposal stage: £110.00 + 7.5% of any debt over £1,500.00

If the final stage is reached, further fees may apply.