What happens if you don't pay your Council Tax instalments

If your instalments are not paid on time we will send a reminder notice. If the instalment is paid within 7 days, no further action will be taken.

If the instalment is paid but you fall behind for a second time or if the instalment is not paid, then you can no longer pay by instalments and you will be sent a final notice cancelling your instalments. You will then be asked to pay the whole balance of your annual Council Tax bill.

If payment is not made a summons will be sent to you to appear at a liability order hearing at the magistrates’ court and costs of £80 will be added to your bill. At the liability order hearing we will ask the magistrates to grant a liability order plus further costs of £40.

If the account is brought up to date, but falls behind for a second time, we will send a final notice for the full outstanding amount for the tax year, as the right to instalments is lost. If this is not paid in full within 7 days then a summons to appear at a liability order hearing at the magistrates’ court will be issued in due course.

If you have been summoned to court you have the right to attend a hearing and give evidence as to why a liability order should not be granted. If you do not attend, the hearing will still proceed in their absence.

If the magistrates are satisfied that the Council Tax is due they will issue a liability order that gives the council certain powers to enforce the unpaid Council Tax including:

  • asking for financial information, including employment and employer details
  • taking money directly from wages using an attachment of earnings order
  • taking money directly from benefits including Universal Credit, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Pension Credit or Employment Support Allowance
  • instructing enforcement agents to collect the debt on our behalf
  • seeking a charging order against property
  • starting bankruptcy proceedings
  • starting committal proceedings for imprisonment of up to 3 months

Contact the Council Tax team

If you have a question about paying less Council Tax that is not answered on this page, you can contact us for help.