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Financial support and recovery procedures

If you are unable to pay your monthly Council Tax bill, you may be eligible for a discount or able to claim Council Tax Support. This can depend on:

  • your circumstances (for example income, number of children, benefits, residency status)
  • your household income - this includes savings, pensions, and your partner’s income
  • if your children live with you
  • if other adults live with you

For more information on Council Tax support please read What Benefits are available to me?

If you want to discuss your bill, or the payment support options available to you, please call 01954 713 000. We are here to give advice on making payments, discuss your calculations and we can explain the recovery process. You can also contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau if you want to seek independent advice.

If you do not pay an instalment on time, you will be sent a reminder notice. If you have received 2 payment reminders during the financial year and you are late paying a third time, your instalments will be withdrawn, and you will be sent a Final Notice requiring payment. This will be a one-off payment of the full balance on your account.

If you would like to change how pay your Council Tax, or change the day of the month we collect your payment, please complete our online form.

If you don't pay the amount due within 7 days of being sent a Final Notice a Summons will be issued and will incur costs of £70.

The Summons will give you at least 2 weeks' notice that you will appear before the Justices at a Magistrates' Court. If you pay the amount in full, including the Summons cost before the court hearing, the proceedings will be withdrawn.

At the court hearing we will apply for a liability order to allow us recover the money. If this is granted, the Magistrates will have decided that you are liable to pay the Council Tax for which you have been billed.

You do not need to attend the court hearing if you do not want to, and the matter will be dealt with in your absence.

When you are sent a Summons, we will also include a repayment plan in the letter we send you. If you make the payments in that plan on time, we won’t take any further recovery action.

If you don’t think you can make those payments, please contact us.

The most used methods to enforce the liability order are:

Attachment of earnings

We can order your employer to deduct a percentage of your wages or salary and send it directly to us. This will continue until the whole charge is paid.

  • Both you and your employer have a duty to keep us informed if you change employment.
  • Your employer can add £1 each time they make a deduction to cover their own costs.

Benefit deductions

We can request that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) deduct money from your benefit payments, including Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Job Seekers Allowance and Universal Credit.

Enforcement Agents

We can ask Enforcement Agents to collect Council Tax debt for us. We will always write to inform you that your account will be passed to the enforcement company.

The Enforcement Agent has the power to take control of goods. This means that they can seize your possessions and sell them to raise enough money to pay the outstanding balance. There is also a £75 compliance fee that is charged as soon as the case is passed to the Enforcement Agents.

If the Enforcement Agents decide it is impossible to recover the debt from you then your case will be returned to us, and you may go back to court. The Justices will carry out an examination into your means, and if they consider that the money should have been paid a warrant of commitment may be issued placing you in prison for up to 3 months.

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