If you’re having difficulty paying your Council Tax don’t ignore the situation, as it will only make matters worse and could lead to extra costs. 


If you miss an instalment you’ll get a reminder notice, allowing seven days to make a payment. If you pay the missing instalment(s) within seven days then you may continue to pay by monthly instalments. If you don’t do this, then the full amount for the year is due.

Second reminders

If you fail to pay instalments a second time, then a second reminder will be issued. If you don’t pay within seven days you lose the right to pay monthly and the whole balance is due.

Final reminders (third reminders)

If you have already had two reminders and paid the missing instalments within seven days of the reminders, and you miss a third time then the full balance outstanding is due immediately.

After you lose the right to pay by instalments, we are required by law to issue a summons for the balance plus costs. These costs are currently £40 for the summons and £30 for the liability order.

If you receive a court summons

You can make an arrangement with us to split your outstanding balance over the rest of the financial year. 

You don’t need to attend the court hearing, however we’ll attend in your absence to obtain a liability order against you, as no arrangement can be made without it (this course of action costs an extra £30). 

The issue of a summons or a liability order doesn’t place you on a blacklist, or affect your credit rating.

Liability order

Once we obtain a liability order you’ll be given an income and expenditure form, to complete and return to us - even if you’ve already made an arrangement to pay.

If you haven’t already made an arrangement to pay, we’ll use the details you provide to make an appropriate arrangement.

If you don’t make a suitable arrangement or pay the required amount, we could deduct money from your wages or benefits, or ask an enforcement agency (bailiff) to collect the money. We could also apply for a charging order if the debt is more than £5,000.

If your case is referred to enforcement agents, you may have to pay more. The enforcement agents’ fees are:

  • Issue of compliance letter - £75
  • Enforcement agent visit - £235

The enforcement fee also increases gradually if your debt is more than £1,500.

Where can I get advice?

You can discuss your Council Tax with a council advisor and these organisations offer free advice, and can contact us on your behalf...