Problems paying your Council Tax?

Help and support

If you have problems paying your instalment on time, you should contact us immediately to discuss your options. We may be able to make a different payment agreement with you or advise you on other help that may be available.  If you are on a low income you may be eligible for Council Tax support but you will need to complete an application form which can be sent to you on request.

Please do not ignore the issue.

You can email us on  or phone the Revenues Team on 01327 871100.

Alternatively you can make a payment online

What happens if I don't pay?

If you do not pay as shown on your bill then the Council will issue further notices and eventually take recovery proceedings against you.  

You will receive one of the following notices:

  • Reminder
  • Final Notice
  • Summons


If you do not bring your payments up to date then a summons will be issued and £77 costs will be added to your account.  If the full outstanding balance, including the costs, is not paid the Council will apply for a liability order at the Magistrates Court.


A reminder is issued if you do not pay by the instalment date shown on your bill. If your account is not brought up to date then the right to pay by instalments is withdrawn and a final notice will be issued. A maximum of two reminders may be issued in any financial year.

Final Notice

If you do not pay after receiving a reminder then a final notice will be issued. This means that the right to pay by instalments has been withdrawn and the full remaining balance is due by the date shown on the notice. Failure to pay by the due date will result in the issue of a Magistrates Court summons.  If you are unable to pay the full amount on the notice then contact us immediately to discuss an alternative payment arrangement.  Please note that any arrangement is normally conditional on you agreeing to pay the remaining balance by direct debit.


If you do not make payment following the reminder and final notice then a summons is issued and £77 costs are added to the outstanding balance. If the account is in joint names then each liable person named will be issued with a summons.  If payment, including the court costs, is received before the hearing date then no further action will take place.

If you are unable to pay in full then contact us immediately to discuss making an arrangement to pay. Before any arrangement can be agreed you will need to provide information concerning your income and expenditure and your employment details.

It is important to note that we will still ask the Court to grant a liability order - but as long as you make payments in accordance with any agreed arrangement then no further action will be taken.

What happens at the hearing?

If you do not pay following the issue of the summons then a hearing will take place at Magistrates' Court. You do not need to attend unless you wish to dispute your liability. You do not need to attend if you have paid the full amount, including the costs, before the hearing date.

Everyone has the right to appear in person should they wish to do so but few do. This is because the Magistrates will not consider any offer of payment that you may make. In addition they cannot consider whether you should be entitled to a discount or exemption or your eligibility for Council Tax support. 

Please advise the Council if you do wish to attend so that we can ensure that any necessary information regarding your account is available to the Magistrates.

If you do attend, a member of staff can discuss with you any payment arrangement that you may wish to make and note any queries that you may have and advise you what to do next.


Once a Liability Order is made by the Court, the Council can choose any of these methods to enforce payment:


  • Instruct an enforcement agent to seize and sell your belongings. The enforcement agent will add fees to the amount you owe

  • Ask the Department of Work & Pensions to make deductions from your Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support or Employment Support Allowance 

  • Apply to the County Court to make you bankrupt 

You can also be asked to provide information about your employment and income. Failure to supply this information is a criminal offence and the Council may prosecute you in the Magistrates Court. The penalty if you are convicted is a fine of up to £500 plus an order to pay the Council’s court costs.

Income and expenditure

Income and expenditure form

Back to Council Tax homepage