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Home > Council Tax > Paying Council Tax > What happens if you don't pay

What happens if you don't pay

If you get into payment difficulties and you can't afford your instalments, contact us straight away. We may be able to help you by making a different payment arrangement.

Remember that paying by Direct Debit ensures that your payments are made on time every month. We can also arrange for you to pay this way over the telephone.

If you pay late we send you a reminder notice. We normally send only one reminder before taking further action if you do not pay the amount due as shown on that reminder notice. If you do not pay you lose your right to pay by instalments. You must then pay the full amount. If you do not then pay the full amount, we will send you a summons to appear in the magistrates court and charge you costs.

If the court is satisfied that the Council has acted correctly they can issue a liability order. This means that we can collect the money by:

  • asking our enforcement agents to collect the debt by removing and selling some of your possessions. You will also have to pay additional fees.
  • commencing insolvency proceedings through the High Court.
  • applying to the County Court for a charging order on your property that enables us to force its sale or repay your debt out of the proceeds of any future sale. This will also result in you paying additional fees.

If you do not pay we can return to court. The court may decide to send you to prison, order you to pay, or tell us to write off part or all of the debt.