I can't afford to pay

If you are on a low income, you may be able to claim council tax support. There are also a number of discounts and exemptions that you may be eligible for.

Make an arrangement to pay your council tax debt

If you owe us money it is best to work out an arrangement to pay. Don't leave it as it will be harder to deal with later. Everything you tell us is confidential.

Apply for a council tax payment arrangement

What happens if I don't pay?

Reminders and summons

  • if you don't pay your council tax on time, we will send you a reminder notice
  • we will only issue two reminders in any financial year if you pay late on a third occasion you will lose your right to pay by instalments. This means that the whole balance due on your account becomes payable immediately
  • you must bring your account up to date within seven days. If this is not done the whole amount due for the year becomes payable immediately within a further seven days. This means you have lost the right to pay by instalments and further recovery action will be taken
  • we will, if necessary, pursue recovery in the Magistrates’ Court for the balance due on your account. If we have to issue a summons, costs of £45 will be added to your account

Liability orders

  • unless the summons is served incorrectly, we will not normally withdraw it. At the court hearing, which you have a right to attend, we will apply for a liability order which will give us additional powers to collect the money you owe. You will incur an additional cost of £20.00 when we obtain the liability order, bringing the total in fees to £65.00
  • once we have obtained a liability order, we can deduct a set amount from your salary or wages. If you receive job seekers allowance, income support or employment support allowance, we can ask the Department of Work and Pensions to deduct money from your benefit. You will pay £3.65 every week until the balance is cleared
  • if you are working we may write to your employer to request deduction direct from your salary. If we cannot deduct money from your benefit or earnings we will ask a bailiff to collect the money for us

Bailiff collections and committal proceedings

  • if all other attempts to reach a payment arrangement fail, we will pass the debt to our bailiffs to collect
  • you will incur further costs and charges. There is a compliance fee of £75.00 and an enforcement fee of £235.00. If the bailiffs are unsuccessful, we can apply to the magistrates court for committal proceedings. We can also commence proceedings to make you bankrupt or apply for a charging order. As a result of any of these courses of action, you will incur further costs and charges
  • if you do not pay your council tax, you will incur substantially more costs

Recovery policy and code of conduct

The way in which we collect council tax is set out in our recovery policy