Recovering unpaid Council Tax


  1. Overview
  2. Reminder
  3. Final notice
  4. Court Summons
  5. Liability order


If you have unpaid Council Tax and fail to get in touch with us we will take steps to recover it.

Please note, If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, please get in touch as we may be able to help you. 


You will receive a reminder notice if you miss a Council Tax instalment.

The notice gives you fourteen days to bring your payments up to date. You will be allowed to continue paying by instalments if you bring your account up to date.

You will receive another reminder notice if you fall behind a second time.

Once again, the notice gives you fourteen days to bring your payments up to date. You will be allowed to continue paying by instalments once you bring your account up to date.

The regulations mean we can only send out two reminders each year.

If you have brought your account up to date after the first and second reminders but then fall behind again we will issue a Final Notice.

Final Notice

If you receive a Final Notice, you will be asked to pay the outstanding amount in full. You will lose the right to pay by instalments.

We will give you seven days after a Final Notice has been issued to pay the bill in full.

Court Summons

If you fail to pay a reminder notice or a final notice you will receive a court summons. The cost of a summons (currently £45) will be added to the outstanding Council Tax debt.

The summons will give a date and time to attend a hearing at the Magistrates Court.

At the hearing we will ask the Court to issue a liability order. We will also as for further costs of £30.

Liability Order

A Liability Order allows the Council to use a variety of options to collect what is due. The options include:

  • Request information: You must provide your employment and income details. This will help us look at your financial circumstances and decide how the council will collect your outstanding Council Tax.
  • Use of an enforcement agent (Bailiff): An enforcement agent may remove your belongings to sell at auction to pay your Council Tax. This will incur more costs.
  • Attachment of earnings order: A percentage of your earnings can be taken from your wage and given to the council. The percentages are set by central government. See the attachment of earnings deductions table.
  • Attachment of benefits order: Money can be taken from your benefit and passed to the council. Benefits include:
    • Income Support
    • Job Seeker's Allowance
    • Employment Support Allowance
    • Pension Credit
  • Bankruptcy: If you owe Council Tax of over £5000 we can make you bankrupt.
  • Charging order: If you own your home and owe over £1000 the County Court can make a Charging Order and we could force a sale to collect the Council Tax due.
  • Prison: On some occasions, you could receive a prison sentence of up to three months for not paying your Council Tax.

For information on paying your Council Tax see Make a Council Tax payment.