What happens if I don't pay my Council Tax?
You usually pay your Council Tax bill in instalments over 10 months.
If you fall behind with your payments or you are paying later than the dates shown on your bill we will send you a reminder, giving you 7 days to bring your account up to date.
You should allow 3 days for payments at a Post Office to be credited to your Council Tax account.
If you bring your account up to date and fall behind again we will send you a second reminder. No further reminders are issued if you have already had a second reminder.
If you are unable to bring your account up to date you will lose the right to pay in instalments and the full years Council Tax becomes due.
The next stage is to issue you with a summons. When the summons is issued to you you are liable to additional costs of £83. We will ask the Magistrates' Court for a 'Liability Order'.This is a demand for you to pay the full amount you owe.
You have the right to attend the court and offer evidence as to why you are not liable for the debt. Even if you decide not to attend court, you should speak to us. We will try to come to a reasonable arrangement with you for payment but we cannot do that unless you contact us.
If you choose to go to the court hearing, the Magistrates will ask if you have a valid defence which will stop a liability order being granted. The examples of valid defences are:
The consequences of ignoring a Liability Order
If the court makes a Liability Order against you, the Council can take enforcement action against you in order to recover the debt. This will usually mean either deductions from wages and benefits or the use of bailiffs, although bankruptcy and charging orders are other options.
Deductions from wages
We can order your employer to deduct a regular amount from your wages toward your unpaid Council Tax.
The table below shows the amount to be deducted from weekly earnings.
|Net Earnings||Deduction Rate|
|below £75||no deduction can be made|
|£75 to £135||3%|
|£135 to £185||5%|
|£185 to £225||7%|
|£225 to £355||12%|
|£355 to £505||17%|
|above £505||17% for the first £505 and 50% for the remainder|
The table below shows the amount to be deducted from monthly earnings.
|Net Earnings||Deduction Rate|
|below £300||no deduction can be made|
|£300 to £550||3%|
|£550 to £740||5%|
|£740 to £900||7%|
|£900 to £1,420||12%|
|£1,420 to £2,020||17%|
|above £2,020||17% for the first £2,020 and 50% for the remainder|
Deduction from benefits
We may be able to apply for deductions if you are receiving Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, or Income Support.
We can send bailiffs to your home to seize property to sell. The money raised goes towards paying your debt, plus paying the recovery costs. We will send a letter after the Magistrates' Court hearing before the bailiff's first visit stating how much money you owe under the Liability Order.
You can contact the bailiffs and offer to come to an agreement on payments. It is important to do this straight away to minimise costs that will be added to your bill.
The Council employs the following bailiff company.
2 Southlands Road,
Bromley, Kent BR2 9QP
Tel: 020 8290 0866
If we have tried using bailiffs but your Council Tax still isn't paid in full, we may apply to the Magistrate's Court for a warrant
Before issuing a warrant of commitment the court must hold a means enquiry with you present. A warrant will only be issued if the court is satisfied that the failure to pay is the result of wilful refusal or culpable neglect. The maximum period of imprisonment is three months.
The court may decide to postpone the period of imprisonment on certain conditions, normally relating to payment of the debt over a period of time. The court also has the power to remit all or part of the debt.
Alternatively you can write or e-mail to:
Surrey Heath Borough Council
Surrey Heath House
Knoll Road, Camberley, Surrey GU15 3HD