Help us to help you...If you are experiencing financial difficulties please talk to our Recovery department on 01246 242560. Do not wait until you are behind with your payments before seeking advice.
Council Tax Recovery
This information is provided to give you a brief explanation of the recovery process if you fail to pay your Council Tax on time.
The Law Says…
Council Tax becomes due on 1st April each year. However, under normal circumstances the law allows payment to be spread over 10 months from April to January, reducing as the year progresses. You are only entitled to be sent up to two reminders for Council Tax before losing the right to pay by instalments.
This is how it works…
1. On the first occasion that you fail to pay an instalment by the due date (this is the date specified on your bill) a reminder will be sent to you. If you pay the amount requested promptly at this stage and remain up-to-date with payments you will maintain the right to pay by instalments.
If, however, you fail to pay the amount requested by the due date, a summons will be issued. The summons will increase your debt as court costs will be added and you will lose the right to pay by instalments for the rest of the year. The whole of the year’s Council Tax, which remains outstanding will become payable immediately.
2. If you have had one reminder and paid it promptly, but then fail to pay by the due date a second time, the same procedures as above will apply.
3. If you fail to pay on time for a third time in a year you will be sent a final reminder. This means the right to pay by instalments will be lost for the remainder of the year, even if you brought your account up-to-date on the previous occasions. The whole amount for the year must be paid in full within 7 days.
If you fail to pay the full amount a summons will be issued and court costs added to your account. Please pay on time to avoid any additional costs.
What to do now you have received a Council Tax summons
1. Why have I been sent a Summons?
Our records show that you were sent a Council Tax bill requiring instalment payment on specified dates. You were then sent a reminder informing you that one or more instalments were overdue. The reminder warned you that you would lose your right to pay by instalments if a payment was not made within 7 days.
As you have not paid, this right has now been withdrawn and the summons is for the full amount outstanding for the year including costs incurred to date which are now added to the sum due. Please contact Council Tax Recovery on 01246 242560
2. What if I paid recently?
If you have paid the full amount for the year please contact the Recovery Section to ensure that your payment has been correctly credited to your account.
If you have already paid all outstanding instalments shortly before receiving the summons, or if the summons is incorrect in any way, you should contact the Recovery Section immediately to discuss your case. If the summons is subsequently withdrawn by the Council, please help us by ensuring your future instalments are paid by the due date.
The best way to ensure that your instalments reach us on time is to pay by Direct Debit. If you have a bank account you can take advantage of this easy option; a direct debit can be set up over the telephone. Please contact Council Tax Recovery on 01246 242560.
3. What will happen next?
If the court decides that Council Tax has been set correctly and all documents issued in accordance with legislation, and that you have not paid the full amount outstanding, it will grant the Council a “liability order”. This order will give the Council power to obtain payment in a number of ways, as it may choose. These include removal of goods and deduction from earnings and income support. Please contact Council Tax Recovery on 01246 242560.
4. How can I stop this process?
Once the summons is correctly issued, the proceedings can be stopped only by making payment in full. This payment must be received by the Council before the date of the court hearing. Post dated cheques will not be accepted. It is important that your case is easily identified as one to be stopped. To enable us to do this, please write your account reference and summons number on the reverse of your cheque. If paying by cash, please enclose a note showing your account reference and summons number. Payments will not be accepted at the court. Please contact Council Tax Recovery on 01246 242560.
5. What if I am unable to pay immediately?
If you are unable to pay the full amount immediately. Please contact Council Tax Recovery on 01246 242560.
If you have not already claimed Council Tax Support, you may wish to do so now. However, this will not prevent further action on this summons.
Should I attend the Court?
It is your right to attend the court hearing to present your case if you feel that you are not liable for the amount shown on the summons. However, the only legal reasons why a liability order will not be granted are that the amount has not been legally demanded or that it has been paid. It is easier, quicker and cheaper to sort out all matters before the hearing by contacting the Recovery Section.
When you attend Court?
When you attend court, the court staff will be available to direct you to the court room where the application will be heard.
While every effort will be made to ensure the application will be dealt with on the date specified in the summons sent to you, in the event that there is insufficient court time for it to be heard on that day, you will then be given details of the date and time you are next required to attend court.
A Liability Order will be obtained at Court to enable the Council to take further action.
- Attachment of Earnings
- Attachment of Benefit
- Bankruptcy Proceedings
- Charging Order
- Committal to Prison
You can contact your local:
- Citizens Advice Bureau - Telephone: 0844 8489800. Lines open 10am - 2pm Monday - Friday - The NEDCAB have also produced a Debt and Budgeting Calculator which can be used to produce a draft financial statement or act as a basic income and expenditure budgeting guide/tool.
- National Debt line - Telephone 0808 808 4000. Lines open Monday - Friday 9am - 9pm, Saturday 9.30am - 1pm
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 May 2013 11:18
Page 7 of 8