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Council Tax recovery

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The legislation that covers Council Tax is freely available from the government legislation website, including:

This legislation also covers the recovery process we undertake to secure the payment of Council Tax.


If you fall into arrears on your Council Tax, you may receive a reminder notice indicating the level of arrears. You will be given 7 days to bring your account up to date. If you do not bring your account up to date within 14 days, you may receive a final notice. A maximum of 2 reminder notices will be issued.

Final notice

If you do not bring your account up to date following a reminder notice, or if there are no instalments left, you lose your right to pay by instalments. A final notice will be issued requesting the balance is paid within 7 days. If you are unable to pay the balance, you should contact us immediately, because if the balance is not paid, the next recovery stage is a summons, which may include additional costs.


If you do not pay the amounts requested in the previous recovery notices, a magistrate’s court summons may be issued. The court authorises us to issue this summons. The issuing of a summons immediately incurs a court cost of £90 which is applied to your account. You do not have to attend the hearing, but the hearing will go ahead in your absence. If a balance is still outstanding at the time of the hearing, the Magistrates may grant a Liability Order.

Liability Order

If the Magistrate agrees you are liable for Council Tax, they will grant a Liability Order against you and we will request a further £35 cost. We will send you a Liability Order Notice confirming that a Liability Order has been granted.

Once a Liability Order has been granted, we are able to take additional recovery action against you. It is vital that if you have received a summons or a Liability Order Notice that you contact us regarding your debt. This may avoid unnecessary recovery action being taken against you and you incurring more fees.

Following the granting of a Liability Order, we can consider taking one or more of the following recovery actions.

Attachment to benefit, earnings or allowances

If you are on a welfare benefit, or working, or if you are a councillor, we can contact the relevant authority to deduct payments prior to you receiving your payment. the level of deduction is determined by the government.

Enforcement agents

We can pass the debt to an Enforcement Agent to recover on our behalf. As soon as the debt is passed to them, you incur a £75 fee. If you fail to engage with them and they visit your home, you will incur a further fee of £235. Their process is contained within the Taking Control of Goods Act 2014, and they have the power to remove goods to the value of the debt.

Charging Order

If you own your home, we can apply for a charge to be placed on your property to the value of the debt. This prevents you from selling the property without settlement of the debt first.

If the value of the charge over time exceeds £5,000, we are entitled to charge 8% interest on the debt. We may also apply to the court to sell your property to recover the debt you owe. If we proceed with this, you will incur the costs of our recovery action.


If other recovery methods have been unsuccessful, we can apply for you to be committed to prison. If we choose this recovery method, the court will hold a means enquiry with you present and the court may then decide to sentence you to imprisonment. The maximum period of imprisonment is 3 months. If we decide to take this method of recovery, all additional costs will be added to your debt.


If other recovery methods have been unsuccessful, we can start bankruptcy proceedings against you. If we take this action and are successful, the official receiver will take control of your financial affairs for the next 3 years. You will also be liable for the substantial legal fees and disbursements incurred in this process.

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