Steps we take to recover unpaid Council Tax

If you are having problems paying please get in touch so we can help you. If you don't get in touch these are the steps we take to recover any unpaid Council Tax

Stage 1: Reminder

If you do not pay your instalment on time, we will send you a Reminder Notice. The reminder will tell you how much you need to pay and the date the payment is due. We will only send you two reminders in any year.

Stage 2: Final notice

We will send you a Final Notice if you have been sent two reminders. A Final Notice will give you 14 days to pay the full amount of Council Tax due for the whole year.

Stage 3: Court summons

If you do not pay a Reminder Notice or a Final Notice we will send you a Court Summons. The summons will tell you the date and time of the hearing at the Magistrates Court. At the hearing we will ask the Magistrates to award us a Liability Order with £85.00 costs. These costs will be added to your bill.

Stage 4: Liability order

If the court grants a Liability Order, it allows the council to use a variety of options to collect what is due.

Stage 5: Collect what you owe

The steps we can take include:

  • Request information: You must tell us about your employment and income details. It is a criminal offence not to tell us.
  • Use of an enforcement agent (formerly known as a bailiff): If we ask an Enforcement Agent to collect what you owe you will incur more costs. An Enforcement Agent may remove your belongings to sell at auction to pay your Council Tax.
  • Attachment of earnings order: A percentage of your earnings can be taken from your wage and given to the council. The percentages are set by central government. Find out the amount it could be in the attachment of earnings deductions table. 
  • Attachment of benefits order: Money can be taken from your benefit (for example Income Support, Job Seeker's Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Pension Credit) and passed to the council.

  • Bankruptcy: If you owe Council Tax of over £5000 we can make you bankrupt. 

  • Charging order: If you own your home and owe over £1000 the County Court can make a Charging Order and we could force a sale to collect the Council Tax due.

  • Prison: In some circumstances, you could receive a prison sentence of up to three months for not paying your Council Tax. 

Gov.UK pay Council Tax arrears provides further information and advice about the recovery process.

Contact us

Council Tax
Civic Centre
Regent Street
NE8 1HH 
0191 433 3600

Monday to Thursday 8.45am to 5pm
Friday 8.45am to 4.30pm

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