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Council tax recovery process

​There are a number of methods we can use to recover unpaid council tax.

Once a liability order is obtained, if you fail to pay the debt in full or make payments under the terms of an arrangement then further action will be taken to recover the balance.

This can include;

Attachment of earnings

An order is made to deduct regular payments from your salary or wages. This is calculated on a percentage deduction depending on what you earn. Employers can charge you £1.00 per deduction to cover administration costs.  Please telephone 01454 868688 if you have a query about this.

Deductions from Income Support, Jobseeker’s allowance, Employment Support Assistance (ESA) or Pension Credits.

An order is made to the Department for Work and Pensions for weekly deductions from your benefit and paid directly to us. Please telephone 01454 868688 if you have a query about this.

Enforcement Agents

An authorised enforcement agent will be instructed to take goods from your home to clear the arrears (distress), they will charge you fees to cover their administration costs of which are payable by you. The costs are charged in line with the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 and the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014.

Some of the costs payable are;

  • Compliance stage – £75.00
  • Enforcement stage – £235.00 (7.5% percentage fee on debts exceeding £1500)
  • Sale or disposal stage – £110.00 (7.5% percentage fee on debts exceeding £1500)

If you have still not paid the debt after this action we will make an application to recover the balance by one of the following methods;


If you owe more than £5,000 in council tax, we may start bankruptcy proceedings against you.

First, we will send you a statutory demand which will give you 21 days to pay the full amount.

If you receive a statutory demand you should contact us immediately on 01454 86 8688.

If you do not settle the statutory demand we will present a petition for bankruptcy in the high court.

If the court issues a bankruptcy order against you, this will mean;

  • the official receiver will investigate your affairs
  • your bank accounts will be frozen
  • your credit rating will be effected and make it more difficult to obtain credit
  • you could be forced to sell your home to pay your debts

Charging order

If you owe over £1,000.00 in unpaid council tax we can choose to apply for a charging order.

A charging order can only be applied for where the liable party has a beneficial interest in the property, i.e. is the owner or part-owner.

If a charging order is applied for it will incur you additional costs and court fees and if the charging order is granted you will also be subject to ongoing interest at the statutory rate.

When a charging order is granted it gives the council a charge on the property which means once the property is sold and any mortgage paid off, the council tax debt can be claimed from any remaining equity.  It may be possible for us to enforce the sale of the property.

Committal to prison

We can apply to the magistrates’ court for a committal summons.  This is the first stage towards you possibly going to prison.

If you receive a committal summons, you should immediately;

  • contact us on 01454 86 8688 and
  • get legal advice or help from a solicitor, your local law centre or Citizens Advice Bureau

If you pay in full, you do not need to go to court.  If you do not pay in full, you must go to the court shown on the summons.

At court your income and spending will be assessed to decide whether you should go to prison.  You must bring evidence of your income and spending to court if possible.

If you do not go to the hearing, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest.  If you are arrested, you will be taken into custody where you will have to wait for your hearing.

Do not ignore a committal summons, please contact us immediately, you may go to prison for up to 90 days.

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