An annual Council Tax demand will normally be issued in March for the forthcoming financial year. The demand will show the ten statutory instalments from April to January which are due on the first of each month. It is also now possible to pay over twelve months to spread the cost.
If you pay by Direct Debit, you also have a choice of payment dates. Simply complete a Direct Debit form so we can arrange this for you.
On a low income?
You may be eligible to claim Council Tax Reduction if you are on a low income. The Online Benefit Calculator enables people to find out their possible entitlement to Housing Benefit / Local Housing Allowance and Council Tax Reduction by following step by step instructions.
If a payment is overdue then a reminder notice will be issued. If the payment is brought up to date within seven days of the reminder then the instalments will continue. If you fall behind again a second reminder will be issued. Failure to make payment as requested will result in the issue of a Magistrates Court Summons for the FULL amount of Council Tax due for the year. This course of action will incur costs of £70.00.
Problems paying your Council Tax?
Let us help you. If you cannot make your payments please contact the Council Tax department immediately. If you do not let us know you are struggling to pay, you may incur further costs and charges which have to be paid. It may be possible to set an arrangement. Please note, only one arrangement can be made on your council tax in any financial year.
Council Tax Telephone number: 01492 576607
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
If another payment is missed after a second reminder is issued then you have LOST the right to pay by instalments. A Final Notice will be issued for the FULL amount of council tax due for the year. If payment in full is not received within seven days, a Magistrate's Court Summons will be issued incurring costs of £70.00.
If the Reminder or Final Notice is not paid in full as detailed above then a Magistrate's Court Summons will be issued for the FULL amount of council tax due for the year plus costs of £70.00. If payment is made in full including costs prior to the court date then no further action will take place. If payment is not made then an application will be made on the court date for a Liability Order.
It is possible to make an arrangement at this stage and it is important you contact the recovery section immediately to discuss your options. Please note, if an arrangement is made the Council will still apply for the Liability Order.
Recovery Telephone number: 01492 576608
Email address: email@example.com
If the Summons and costs are not paid in full by the court date, an application will be made for a Liability Order. This gives the council the power to recover the debt by taking deductions from your earnings or benefits, instructing enforcement agents or applying to commit you to prison for three months. The Council may also instigate bankruptcy proceedings against you or obtain a charging order against your property.
If you have not already agreed a payment plan by this stage a Liability Order Questionnaire will be issued requesting your income and expenditure. This must be completed and returned within 14 days. You could be fined up to £500.00 for not completing this form and £1000.00 for supplying false information.
If you have not made a suitable arrangement the Council has the power under a Liability Order, to use an enforcement agent to collect the debt. Any arrangement made at this stage must be made with the enforcement agent. This course of action will incur further costs which are added to the amount you owe.
Changes to Enforcement Agent fees
From 6th April 2014 there has been a new fee structure.
- Compliance stage: £75.00 is added to each liability order as soon as it is passed to the EA. This fee is payable before the debt
- Enforcement stage: £235.00 plus 7.5% of the value of the debt that is over £1500.00. This fee is payable on the first visit to your property. Only one enforcement fee will be charged even if there is more than one liability order
- Sale or disposal stage: £110 plus 7.5% of the value of the debt that is over £1500.00. This fee is payable on the first visit to remove your goods.
The EA may also recover fees that are reasonably incurred such as the costs of storing goods and locksmith’s fees.
Attachment of Earnings Order
An order will be sent to your employer instructing them to recover the debt directly from your wage. The amount of the deduction is a percentage scale specified by law.
Attachment to your Benefit
If you claim Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or Guaranteed pension Credit then the Department of Work and Pensions will be asked to deduct the debt from your benefit. The amount of the deduction is specified by law and is currently £3.70 per week.
The council may seek to instigate bankruptcy proceedings against you. This course of action will:
- Affect your credit rating and you will be blacklisted from getting any more credit.
- Incur further costs on your account
- Your bank accounts will be frozen
- Your property may be sold to recover the debt.
The council may obtain a charging order against your property, which may result in a force of sale to recover the debt.
Commitment to Prison
If the enforcement agents have been unable to recover the debt and it is returned to the council, you may be issued a Committal Summons for a Means Enquiry. The Magistrates will look into your means and decide if non payment is due to wilful refusal or culpable neglect and can set a prison term of up to THREE months. You will need to provide evidence, including copies of wage slips and bills to confirm the details you provide.
If you receive a Committal Summons you should contact Recovery immediately and seek legal advice. If you have not paid the total sum due including the costs to the Council before the hearing and you fail to appear, a warrant may be granted for your arrest.