Council tax court summons
England and Wales
The liability order gives the local authority permission to take further action to collect the unpaid council tax. You can attend the hearing and tell the magistrate if a mistake has been made, or if your council tax has been paid in full before the hearing date.
You should keep in touch with the local authority before the hearing and ask them to agree to you paying the arrears in instalments.
Once a liability order has been issued, your local authority has several options to collect the unpaid council tax.
- If your local authority starts court action, you’ll get a summons in the post. This will give you a date and time for a court hearing. An extra charge will be added to your bill at this point.
- If you get a letter about council tax court action, call us for advice
- At the hearing, a magistrate will issue a liability order
If your local authority starts court action, they’ll apply to the sheriff court for a summary warrant, which is part of the diligence process. A fee of 10% of the outstanding council tax will also be added to your bill.
If you get a letter about council tax court action, call us for advice straight away.
You’ll then be sent a charge for payment letter asking you to pay the amount due within 14 days.
The charge for payment comes with a form you can fill in to ask for a time to pay order. You must complete this form straight away and send it the sheriff’s office with an offer of payment.
It’s important your offer of payment is realistic, so call us or use our online debt advice tool to work out how much you can afford.
If the local authority accepts your offer of payment, no more action will be taken, if you make the payments you’ve agreed to.
If you don’t apply for a time to pay order, or if you don’t make the payments you’ve agreed, your local authority has several options to collect the unpaid council tax.
The most common ways are:
- Take payments straight from your wages using an earnings arrestment
- Take money straight from your bank account using a bank arrestment
Sheriff officers can take goods from outside or inside your home, but this is only as a last resort if there are no other ways to collect the arrears.
Get help if you’re struggling to pay your council tax
If you've missed council tax payments or you're struggling to pay arrears, take two minutes to answer a few simple questions, so we can understand the best way to help you. Or call us for free to talk to one of our expert advisors.