Council tax enforcement

The main ways we can enforce payment of the debt are as follows:

  • If you are working, an Attachment of Earnings Order may be sent to your employer who will make deductions from your wage/salary until the debt is cleared.
  • If you are claiming Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance, a request may be sent to the Benefits Agency for deductions to be made from your Benefit.
  • Enforcement Agents (formally called Bailiffs) may be instructed to remove and sell your goods to the value of the outstanding council tax and costs incurred. The Enforcement Agent will give you the opportunity to make a satisfactory arrangement for payment before considering removing your goods. If Enforcement Agents are instructed, you will incur costs in accordance with the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014, the fixed levels of fees are:

                                         Initial action/contact       -         £  75.00

                                         Further Enforcement        -        £235.00

                                         Levy Fee (if applicable)*  -         7.5 per cent of balance

 (*) Levy Fee will only apply if the debt exceeds £1,500

We will send you a warning letter at least 14 days before an Enforcement Agent visit. We will include with this letter, full details for the costs which can be incurred. If you arrange payment immediately after receiving this letter you can avoid paying these costs.

If appropriate, we may also consider taking the following steps to enforce payment of the debt:

  • The commencement of bankruptcy / liquidation proceedings.
  • Application to the County Court for a Charging Order against your property.

Even when we take action to enforce payment of the debt, we will still try to help you if we feel you may not be claiming all the Benefits you are entitled to.  See Benefits for further details.

If the Enforcement Agent is unable to recover the debt and another way of enforcing payment is not appropriate, we will make an application to the Magistrates' Court for your commitment to prison. Even at this late stage, we can still be contacted and we may be able to agree an arrangement for payment with you. The commencement of committal proceedings can result in additional costs in excess of £100 being incurred and the Magistrates can send you to prison for a period up to three months.

At whichever stage of the enforcement process you make contact to make an arrangement for payment, wherever possible we will try to ensure that you have the financial means to keep to that arrangement. This will mean that, in order to help you, we may sometimes need to ask for full details of your income and outgoings. There may also be occasions when we will advise you to seek help from one of the voluntary organisations who specialise in debt counselling.

We can be contacted to discuss your Council Tax at any stage.

Last reviewed: 09 - 04 - 2014

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