Council Tax - Frequently Asked Questions
Why have you sent me a reminder? If we have not received your payment on time we will send you a reminder. The amount on the reminder must be paid within seven days otherwise you may lose your right to pay in instalments.
Why is the Council so quick to chase late payment?
The Council only keeps about 10% of council tax and the rest goes to other authorities such as Kent County Council and Kent Police. Every month we have to pay them their share whether or not people have actually paid. We must therefore ensure that we collect as much as possible when it's due so that the Council has the money to make these payments without it impacting on other services.
Why have I been sent a summons as I have been paying? You must pay your council tax instalments when they are due. If you miss a payment or are late for a third time in the year you will lose your right to pay by instalments and the full outstanding balance will become due. If you then don't pay the full amount you will receive a summons.
Will a summons for non-payment of council tax affect my credit rating? No. Non payment of council tax is dealt with at Magistrates' Court, not County Court and will not result in a CCJ.
Why have my partner and I both received a summons? We issue a copy of the summons to all the people named on the bill as they are all responsible for paying council tax.
I have received a summons - do I have to pay the costs?
Yes, once the summons has been issued the summons costs must be paid. However, if you pay the balance in full (including the summons costs) before the court date you will not incur any further costs.
I have received a summons - do I have to attend court?
No, you do not have to attend court unless you choose to. If you go to the court hearing, the Magistrates will ask if you have a valid defence which will stop a liability order being granted. Valid defences are:
- We have not followed the rules when we asked for payment, for example if we didn't keep to the correct time periods when we sent bills or reminders
- You have paid what you owe
- You are not the person named on the summons.
The following are not valid defences against the granting of a Liability Order;
- You have applied for or are querying Council Tax Support
- You have applied for or are querying a Council Tax discount or exemption
- You cannot afford to pay the amount outstanding
- You have made, or wish to make, an arrangement for payment