Non-Payment of Council Tax
Council Tax bills show how much has to be paid and when any payments are due.
If installments are not paid on time the local authority has powers of recovery.
If the Council Tax due is not paid then the Council can take the following action:
1) REMINDER – The local authority will send a reminder if any Council Tax payment is overdue. If payment of the installment is made within seven days of the issue date no further action will be taken. If payment is not made the right to pay by installments is forfeited and the full amount of Council Tax will become due in a further seven days.
If the claimant has genuine difficulty in paying they should contact the revenue section of the local authority as soon as possible to try to arrange payment or assistance.
SECOND REMINDER – If a second reminder is issued in a financial year the liable person will become liable for the whole of the outstanding balance following a third failure to pay.
FINAL NOTICE – If a third failure to pay occurs a final notice will be issued. The liable person forfeits the right to pay by installments. The final notice will inform the liable person(s) of the amount that is owing and that the local authority will be seeking a LIABILITY ORDER.
SUMMONS – To obtain a LIABILITY ORDER the local authority must apply to a magistrate’s court for a summons to be issued to the debtor.
The summons instructs the debtor to appear at magistrate’s court and explain why they have not paid. The debtor does not have to attend and the hearing may take place in their absence. The debtor will be charged with the costs of issuing the summons.
If the amount owing plus costs is paid the local authority cannot proceed with the application for a liability order. Some local authorities may accept an agreement to pay (usually by direct debit) even at this stage. In some circumstances the local authority may be persuaded to relinquish their costs.
LIABILITY ORDER – A LIABILITY ORDER may be granted to the local authority that giving them the power to:
Obtain financial information about the debtor and therefore assess the best means of recovery action
Make an attachment of earnings
Make an attachment order on an elected members allowances
Apply to the DWP for deductions to be made from the debtors Income Support, JSA or Pension Credit
Use bailiffs to seize the debtors goods (also known as distress)
Apply for a charging order against the dwelling in respect of which the debtors liability arose