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Council Tax - What Will Happen If You Do Not Pay

If you do not pay your Council Tax, or pay late, you may be subject to recovery proceedings.

Reminder

If you don't pay your Council Tax as shown in your Council Tax demand we will send you a 1st Reminder Notice. The 1st Reminder Notice will tell you the amount you have to pay in order to bring your account up to date. You must pay the amount shown on the 1st Reminder Notice within 7 days of the date shown on the Reminder. If you do not pay the amount due you will be issued with a court summons.

If you make payment as required by the 1st Reminder Notice but then miss a later instalment you will be sent a  2nd Reminder Notice. The 2nd Reminder Notice will tell you the amount you have to pay in order to bring your account up to date. You must pay the amount shown on the 2nd Reminder Notice within 7 days of the date shown on the Reminder. If you do not pay the amount due you will be issued with a court summons.

Only two reminders can be sent in a financial year (1st April - 31st March).

Final Notice

If you receive a Council Tax Final Notice you will be expected to pay the outstanding balance for the entire year's Council Tax within 7 days of the date shown on the Final Notice.

If you are sent a Council Tax Final Notice we advise you to contact the Council Tax office at the earliest opportunity as in many cases a payment arrangement can be agreed, see contact details at bottom of page.

Summons

If you do not pay the Council Tax demanded in a reminder or final notice you may be summoned before the Magistrates Court. This will add a cost of £45.00 to your account. The summons will include a court hearing date. If the amount due (including the extra cost) is fully paid before the court hearing date then there will be no further action.

If you cannot pay the full amount due before the court hearing date you do not need to attend court. We will ask the court to grant a liability order for the debt. This will add another cost of £50.00 to your account.  Please contact us immediately to set up a special payment arrangement.

Liability Order

An extra £50.00 in costs will be added to your Council Tax account if a Liability Order is issued.  A liability order gives the Council various ways to recover the Council Tax debt, these are explained below.

You do not have to attend the Court Hearing however if you do attend please note that the following are not legal defences against the issue of a liability order:

  • You cannot afford to pay
  • You have a claim for Council Tax support pending
  • You have not been granted a discount
  • The property should be exempt
  • The person summoned should be exempt
  • You disagree with the band you have been put in

The Council only have to prove to the Court that notices have been sent to you, not that they have been received by you.  

If you have received a liability order have have not already set up a payment arrangement please contact us to discuss this

The Liability Order gives us the right to recover the debt through the following ways:

Enforcement Agents

The Council may decide to instruct an Enforcement Agent to collect the debt, should the Council do so the law allows for fees to be charged. These are detailed in the table below.

Recovery stageEnforcement charges
Enforcement Notice£75.00
Enforcement Agent Visit to Take Control of Goods£235.00 + if the debt is above £1500.00, 7.5% of the amount above £1500.00
Enforcement Visit to Remove Goods£110.00 + if the debt is above £1500.00, 7.5% of the amount above £1500.00
Where Removal and sale takes place
Storage CostsActual costs
Locksmiths CostsActual costs
Any relevant Court Application FeesActual fees
Auctioneers costs where the sale is held on the auctioneers premises
Auctioneers CommissionNot exceeding 15% of the sum realised
Auctioneers out of pocket expensesActual costs
Reasonable Advertising costsActual costs
Internet auction costsActual costs
In some circumstances exceptional costs will applyAgreed by Court

The Council use 3 different Enforcement Agent companies, these are:

  • Newlyns - 01604 633001
  • Phoenix - 0844 824 3884
  • Rossendales - 0844 701 3981

Please contact the Enforcement Agent direct to discuss a payment arrangement.

Attachment Of Earnings

Basildon Council can instruct your employer to deduct monies from your wages to clear the outstanding debt.  The amount that can be deducted is set down in the Council Tax regulations.

Attachment Of Benefit

If you receive Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Pension Guarantee Credit the Council may request monies be deducted directly from your benefit.  The Department For Work And Pensions (DWP) will confirm when deductions will begin and the amount. See GOV.UK - Department for Work and Pensions - 0845 608 8575.

Charging Order

If your debt is over £1,000, we may apply for a Charging Order on any land or property that you own.  This will enable us to force a sale of the property or settle the debt from the proceeds of any future sale.

Insolvency Proceedings

Insolvency proceedings may be taken against you, which if successful may result in you being made bankrupt.

Committal To Prison

Basildon Council may in certain circumstances apply to the Magistrates Court for a means enquiry. This may result in a prison sentence of up to three months.

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