Advice and information on what options are available if you can't pay your Council Tax and what action the Council will take to recover unpaid Council Tax

As soon as you realise you have a problem paying you should immediately contact the council tax team or business rates team to discuss your situation. We may be able to reschedule your payments or advise you of a reduction you might be entitled to.

The contact details can be found on this page. 

Offer to pay by instalments

If you need to make an arrangement to pay your council tax because you're finding it hard to meet your scheduled payments, or as a result of a summons, please complete our online offer to pay form as soon as possible.

Offer to pay

What we will do to recover unpaid Council Tax

What if I do not pay on time?

As soon as you realise you have a problem paying you should immediately contact the council tax team or business rates team

What action can the local authority take to recover council tax or business rates?

It is never too late to talk to us - at any point during the following proceedings it is possible to come to a sensible payment arrangement with us that will suit your circumstances.

To discuss a payment arrangement with the Council you should contact the council tax team or business rates team using the details in the sidebar.

Please complete our online offer to pay form as soon as possible.

Offer to pay

It may also be possible to reduce your bill, for example if you live alone or on a low income. See our ‘Reducing your council tax’ or ‘Reducing your business rates’ pages.

The action we will take to recover council tax or business rates are as follows:

Reminder notice

Failure to pay your account by the instalment date will result in the issue of a Reminder Notice. If the Reminder Notice is not paid within 7 days of receipt, we will after a further 7 days issue a Summons for non-payment at which time the full outstanding balance will become due.

Final notice

Only one reminder notice will be issued for business rates, and two for council tax, in a financial year. If a subsequent instalment is not received by the due date, the Council will issue a final notice, demanding the total balance outstanding. You must pay this amount within seven days to avoid being sent a summons.

Save yourself hundreds of pounds!

The costs of issuing a summons, with additional enforcement agent costs, can quickly mount up to hundreds of pounds - on top of your debt.

Contacting us early about your debt problems can help avoid this.


If, after receiving one or both of the above notices, you do not make the payment demanded, the Council will apply to the local Magistrates' Court for a Summons to be issued against you and costs of £80 will be added to your account. At this stage you can still make an arrangement to pay the amount due by contacting the council tax or business rates teams.

Liability order

If you do not pay the balance shown on the summons before the court hearing, the matter will be taken to the Magistrates Court, and the Council will apply for a liability order. You will have the opportunity to attend the court hearing. However, this is only to determine your liability, not your ability to pay.

The court will not deal with any questions relating to the banding or rateable value of your property or claims relating to council tax support.

What powers does a liability order give the Council?

A liability order gives us powers to collect your debt using different methods such as:

  • Instructing enforcement agents to visit your property with the intention of removing your goods and for those goods to be sold at public auction to pay off your outstanding debt. This action will incur further costs to your account.
  • Collecting what you owe directly from your employer or by deducting it from your benefits.
  • Taking out a charge against your property.
  • Starting bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings.
  • Committal to prison.

At each of the above stages you will be sent more detailed information about any action we are taking.


If you have trouble making payments

Independent financial advice

In certain circumstances, help and advice may be available from the following organisations:

Payplan logo

Tel: 0800 316 1833


Citizens Advice
Tel: 0800 144 8848

Step change logo

Step Change
Tel: 0800 138 1111

National Debtline

National Debtline
Tel: 0808 808 4000

Money Helper

Money Helper
Tel: 0800 138 7777

SSAFA logo

Tel: 0800 260 6767

Debt Advice Foundation

Debt Advice Foundation
Tel: 0800 043 40 50

Visit website

UK Government online

CAP logo

Christians Against Poverty
Tel: 01274 760720

Shelter logo

Tel: 0808 800 4444