If you cannot pay immediately

You should contact us as soon as you realise you have a problem paying your bill. You may be able to get a reduction, or we may be able to help you by rescheduling your payments.

Do not ignore the bill completely. If you do not pay and fail to make an arrangement with us, recovery action will be taken and this could mean costs are added to the amount, meaning you have to pay more.

Reminders and liability orders

If you miss a council tax payment you will be sent a reminder notice asking you to bring your payments up to date within seven days.

If you do not do so within the time, or if you fall behind with your payments again, we will issue you with a final notice.

The final notice will require you to pay the full balance outstanding for the remainder of the year within seven days. If the balance is not paid, a summons to appear before a magistrate's court will be issued. This will cost you £100.

If you receive a summons, you can still make an arrangement to pay the balance outstanding. This arrangement will usually be made on the basis that the balance should be cleared within the current financial year. You do not need to appear at court, unless you wish to dispute the issue of the summons. Defences against the issue may be that you are not liable to the charge.

At court, we will ask the magistrates to award us a Liability Order. We can then demand certain information from you about your employment and earnings to determine the most appropriate course of action should you still not pay.

Payment Plan

For some customers we know that a simple, managed payment plan is a helpful way to clear debts in affordable payments.

We have partnered with Payment Plan to offer customers a straightforward plan. We use a portal to provide eligible customers with a text message or email link to quickly set up a plan with a choice of payment terms that suit them best.

Payment Plan do not have access to your details and will not charge you a fee for using this service.

Attachment of earnings

We can request that your employer make deductions from you wages and pay it straight to us.

The amount deducted will be a set proportion of your pay after income tax and national insurance. Your employer may also deduct a further £1 towards their costs in making the deductions and sending it to us.

Deductions from benefits

We may be able to apply to take your council tax payments from your income support, job seekers allowance, employment support allowance or universal credit. The amount we can take is up to £3.70 per week, or up to fifteen per cent of the universal credit standard allowance.


We can apply for you to be made bankrupt if you owe more than £5000. This would mean that you may lose your home to pay your debt and there would be other financial restrictions placed upon you.

Charging Orders

If you owe more than £1000 and are a homeowner we could apply to have a charge put on your home. This would mean that when you sell your house, the debt would be paid out of the proceeds. Any mortgage would be repaid first.

Enforcement agents

We can pass your account to enforcement agents to collect the debt on our behalf. If this happens you will be charged extra fees, which can be considerable. These fees are set out in the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014.

If you are unable to pay the outstanding debt in full, the enforcement agent has three options;

  1. Make a walking possession agreement with you. This means your goods will not be removed so long as you meet the payment arrangement made with the bailiff.
  2. Make a close possession agreement with you. This means the bailiff will stay on your premises until you pay or the goods are removed for sale
  3. They can remove goods with a view to selling them at public auction.

The council uses Bristow and Sutor and Dukes Limited as its enforcement agents.


Our enforcement agents can charge the following fees:


 Fee stage  Fixed fee  Per cent fee on debt over £1500
 Compliance stage £75   0%
 Enforcement stage £235   7.5%
 Sale or disposal £110   7.5%



If we are unable to recover your council tax from you by another means, we can apply to a magistrate for a warrant committing you to prison. A warrant will be issued if the court is satisfied that the failure to pay is the result of wilful refusal or culpable neglect. The maximum period in prison is three months.

The court may decide to fix a term of imprisonment and postpone the warrant on certain terms, normally relating to the payment of the debt over a period of time.