What happens if you don't pay your Council Tax

Summons to Court

If you have received a Reminder but your Council Tax still remains unpaid, we will take further recovery action to obtain the money due.

This is done through the magistrates' court and you will be sent a summons which will tell you how much money you owe and when the hearing will be.

You will be charged costs for the issue of the summons. If you receive a summons and have recently paid please contact us.

If you can't pay the amount in full please contact us. It is unlikely that the summons will be withdrawn but we can agree a payment plan with you.

What happens in court

You can attend Court on the date given on the Summons and you can speak to the Magistrates. We will be at Court if you want to discuss payment of the money you owe. You do not have to go into court if you do not want to.

At the court hearing we will ask the Magistrates to issue a Liability Order against you. This can be done even if you are not present. You will be charged costs for the issue of a Liability Order.

Liability Orders

The Liability Order gives us legal powers to recover the money you owe. These powers are:

  • To request information - The person subject to the Liability Order must supply information regarding their employment and income details. It is a criminal offence not to supply this information once requested, or to give false information.
  • Make deductions from your earnings - We can order your employer to take money from your wages or salary. This is then sent to the Council to pay your debt. Your employer can charge you £1.00 each time a deduction is made. Your employer must tell you each time an amount is deducted. It is an offence for your employer not to comply with the order.
  • Make deductions from your benefits - We can ask the Benefit Agency to take money from your Income Support, Jobseekers' Allowance or Pension Credits. This is then sent to the council to pay your debt.
  • Taking control of goods to pay a debt - We employ external Enforcement Officers to collect the debt, or to remove goods to the value of the debt. This method of recovery can incur substantial charges.
  • Take bankruptcy proceedings against you - We can start proceedings in the County Court to make you bankrupt.
  • Apply for a charging order - We can apply to the County Court for a legal charge to be put on your property for the amount due. We will automatically receive the money plus costs when the property is sold. Additionally, we can apply to the court to request that a forced sale is made of your property.
  • Committal to prison - In some circumstances, you can be sent to prison for not paying your Council Tax.