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Difficulty paying your bill

What to do if you receive a reminder, court summons or liability order.

Reminder notices

If you don't pay an instalment on time, you will receive a reminder notice. If you can pay the amount owed within 14 working days, no further action will be taken. If you don't pay within this time, or you pay only part of what is owed, we'll send you a summons to court and you'll be asked to pay the full year's balance.

We will only send two reminders in any financial year (April to April) before a final notice or summons is issued.

Final notices

If you don't pay on time for the third time in the financial year, we'll send you a final notice. This will ask you to pay the full year's charge within 7 days.

Summons and court hearings

If you don't pay after a reminder or final notice, a summons will be sent to you. You'll be summoned to court to explain why the council tax hasn't been paid. Costs of £60 will be added to the unpaid council tax bill.

You can avoid going to court if you can:

  • pay the full amount shown on the summons, including costs
  • Contact us before the court date to make a payment arrangement. You can phone us on 0345 129 7777 or e-mail us.

Liability orders

At the court hearing, we'll ask the magistrate to issue a liability order, which gives us more power to help collect the money that you owe. If we obtain a liability order, you will be charged an extra £35.

If you still don't pay

There are a number of options we can consider to collect the money that is owed.

These include:

  • passing the debt to an enforcement agency (bailiffs)
  • taking what is owed from your wages or benefits on a weekly or monthly basis
  • apply a charging order against a property you own
  • take action to make you bankrupt
  • apply to the court to take you to prison if all other efforts have failed