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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice, including help if you are struggling financially

What happens if you don't pay your Council Tax

If you have difficulty in paying, contact us straight away so we can discuss the problem and possibly enter into a payment arrangement with you.

If you miss a monthly instalment payment or make a late payment and don't make an arrangement with us, we are required to carry out the statutory recovery process:

  • we will send a reminder notice giving you 7 days to pay the outstanding instalments (if you fall into arrears for a third time in the same year, or if the unpaid instalment is the last payment of the year, you will receive a final notice instead)
  • if you fail to pay the reminder, you will receive a final notice giving you a further 7 days to pay the full outstanding balance for the year
  • if you fail to pay the final notice in full, a Magistrates’ Court summons will be issued and you will incur additional costs. If you pay the full amount, including costs, before the court date, you won't need to attend the hearing
  • if you do not pay the summonsed amount including the costs, application will be made to the Magistrates’ Court for a liability order to be issued. This will incur further costs
  • we may then recover the debt by making an arrangement with you, making an attachment to your earnings or certain welfare benefits. If you don’t contact us, we may pass the liability order to an enforcement agent which will incur additional costs of at least £75
  • we may also consider placing a charge on your property and in appropriate circumstances we may take bankruptcy or insolvency action

If after the above procedures have been followed, and full payment has not been made, the magistrates have the power to send you to prison for a period of up to three months.

Avoid recovery action by making sure your Council Tax instalments are paid on or before the due dates.

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