What happens if you don't pay your council tax

If you don't pay your council tax overview

1. Overview

This is the legal process we follow if you don't pay your council tax, including reminders and court proceedings.


If you are behind with your council tax payments we will post a reminder to you. If you arrange to pay the outstanding amount and keep up to date with your payments, we won’t take any further action. If you ignore the reminder, we will apply to court for a summons.

Please get in touch with us if you are having difficulty paying.

Court summons

If you receive a court summons, this means that we have applied to the magistrates’ court for the legal power to take further action against you to recover unpaid council tax. At the hearing we will ask the court to grant us a Liability order. This will allow us to recover your council tax debt in a variety of ways.

What we can do after a court hearing

If you don’t pay in full, a Liability order gives us the power to:

  • request information from you about your finances
  • directly deduct money from your wages or benefits
  • use enforcement agents to collect the debt
  • apply to make you bankrupt
  • place a charging order on your property so that when the property is sold you will have to pay that debt off first before any of the proceeds are given to you
  • ask the court to send you to prison

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