Not paying your Council Tax and ignoring the letters you’re sent can quickly turn into a serious problem.
First, you’ll get a reminder from the council about two weeks after you miss a payment.
If you pay within seven days, you don’t need to do anything else. The debt will be clear and you’ll be able to continue paying your Council Tax in instalments.
If you don’t pay within seven days of the reminder or if it’s the third time you’ve been late with Council Tax payments that year, the council will send you a ‘final notice’.
The final notice will tell you to pay all your Council Tax for the rest of the year within seven days.
If you don’t pay within seven days of the final notice your council will usually apply to the courts for permission to collect the debt from you. This is known as a ‘liability order’.
After this, your council can get your employer to pay your unpaid Council Tax directly from your wages.
They can also apply to take money from certain benefits, including
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit.
If this isn’t possible, the council might send a bailiff (called a Sheriff Officer in Scotland) to your home.
You’ll have to pay court costs and possibly bailiff fees as well as your debt, which can add hundreds of pounds to your bill.
For more information about stopping bailiffs at your door, go to the Citizens Advice website
If you’re in England, it’s also still possible to get a prison sentence for getting behind with Council Tax.