If you don't make your payment on time we'll send you a Reminder . If you pay the reminder amount straight away you can continue with your payment plan, but if you are late for a third time in the year, the rest of the year's charge will become due and you will have to pay it in full.

If you receive a Reminder and don't pay straight away, your payment plan will be cancelled and we will send you a Court Summons for the whole year's charge plus costs.

If you receive a Court Summons you can pay the balance in full (and no further action will be taken) or come to a reasonable arrangement with us to pay in instalments.

At the court hearing we will ask the Magistrates for a Liability Order for the full amount you owe plus costs. 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 Reduction
  • 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

If you don't have a valid defence the court will grant a Liability Order. The Liability Order allows the Council to use other methods to collect the money you owe such as deducting from your benefit or earnings, instructing enforcement agents or, in some cases, bankruptcy proceedings.

Council tax - frequently asked questions