Arrears advice

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We fully understand that people can sometimes have difficulty paying their council tax. We also understand that, with busy lives to lead, people occasionally forget to make payments, or pay them late. That's why we always try to be sensitive to a person's circumstances and make every effort to help whenever possible.

The biggest mistake people make when they fall behind with their council tax is to simply do nothing. We cannot do anything to help unless you let us know there is a problem. You can email us or phone our council tax staff on (01732) 876388. We will be able to advise you what you need to do. We might also be able to reschedule your payments.

If you are facing serious financial difficulties, we recommend that you seek help from a professional debt advisor. The Citizens' Advice Bureaux provide a free debt advice service as do the Money Advice Trust through the National Debtline.

I've had a letter about my council tax payments being late.

The reason we send out letters is to remind people that their payments are behind. This gives them the opportunity to do something about it. Find the letter you have received from the list below and see what you need to do. The important thing is to act now. Don't wait until you have received another letter. If you can't pay as requested, please let us know as we might be able to help.

We also recommend that you pay by Direct Debit. That way your payments are made automatically by your bank, so there's no risk of missing a payment.

Direct Debit

If you would like to set up a Direct Debit to pay your council tax please go to our Direct Debit page to either complete an online direct debit instruction or to view our printable form.

Alternatively, a Direct Debit can be set up over the phone - simply dial (01732) 876388

Pink Reminder

We will send you a pink, or official, reminder if you have missed a payment. You must pay the amount shown on the reminder within 7 days. If you don't pay within 7 days, you could be summoned to court for the balance of the year's council tax.

We will only send you a maximum of two official pink reminders in any one financial year. If you keep missing payments you will lose your right to pay by monthly instalments and will have to pay the balance of the year's council tax.

For further information please see our Reminder information leaflet.

Blue Final Notice

We will send a final notice for a variety of reasons. Usually it will be because you keep missing payments and have already had two official pink reminders. In this case, the final notice will be for the balance of the year's council tax. It could also be because you have moved house without clearing the council tax due on your old address.

The final notice will tell you how much council tax is outstanding. You need to pay this in full within 7 days. If you don't, you could be summonsed to court.

For further information please see our Final Notice information leaflet.

Summons

If you do not respond to reminders or a final notice, we may decide to start court proceedings. If we do, you will be sent a summons, telling you to appear in court on a given date. The only way to avoid the matter going to court is to pay the outstanding council tax in full. You will also have to pay additional costs.

If you do not pay, we will ask the court to grant a "liability order". This will give us the power to take further steps to recover the outstanding council tax. These could include sending enforcement agents to your home, taking the outstanding council tax straight from your pay, or making deductions from your benefits.

Further information