Council Tax recovery

If you are having difficulties making payments please contact us as soon as possible to let us know as we may be able to help you.

The majority of Council Tax payers pay their instalments on time each month. It is therefore important to them and the Council that anyone who does not pay is pursued for payment quickly. This ensures arrears are kept to a minimum and that the Council Tax charge is kept as low as possible for everyone.

We don’t want to take action against you for non-payment of Council Tax unless we really have to - but if you don’t pay and you don’t contact us then recovery action will follow.

The Council is committed to supporting customers who might be classed as vulnerable in the recovery of their debts so it is important that you contact us if you believe that you are vulnerable, or that someone you are acting on behalf of is vulnerable.

  • A bill will be issued advising you of how much is due and when to pay.
  • A first reminder notice will be issued if an instalment plan falls into arrears.
  • You now have 7 days to pay the amount shown on the first reminder notice.
    • If the amount on the reminder notice is paid and the account is brought up to date within 7 days, a second reminder will be issued if a future instalment is late or not paid.
    • If the account is brought up to date after a second reminder notice is issued but a further instalment is late or not paid, a final notice will be issued requiring payment of the financial year balance in FULL.
    • If the FULL financial year balance is not paid, a summons will be served, incurring court costs.
    • If the total amount due on the summons is not paid before the court hearing date, the Council will apply for a Liability Order, incurring further court costs. Once a Liability Order is issued, further recovery action can be taken.
  • If the amount shown on the reminder notice is not paid within 7 days, the right to pay by instalments is lost and the FULL balance for the financial year becomes due and must be paid within 7 days.
  • If the FULL financial year balance is not paid, a summons will be served incurring court costs.
  • If the total amount due on the summons is not paid before the court hearing date, the Council will apply for a Liability Order, incurring further court costs. Once a Liability Order is issued, further recovery action can be taken.

You can also download a flowchart detailing the steps above.

If you don't pay an instalment of your Council Tax by the date it is due, we will send you a reminder showing the amount you need to pay. If you make your payment within seven days, you can continue paying by instalments.

If you do not pay the full amount shown on the reminder within seven days and you do not contact us, we will wait another seven days before we ask the magistrates' court to send you a summons to attend a court hearing.

Make a payment

If you fail to make a payment after the issue of a second reminder or final notice, or if you fail to maintain a payment arrangement, the council will request the Magistrates Court to issue a summons.

Our records show that you have ignored the advice on the previous reminders sent during the current financial year. A final notice explains that you have lost the right to pay by instalments. The balance for the financial year is now due to be paid in full.

Make a payment

Depending on your circumstances, we may consider making a special arrangement for repayment of arrears, and you should contact us immediately if you are unable to pay the full amount. Please call us 01952 383838.

If you fail to make a payment after the issue of a second reminder or final notice, or if you fail to maintain a payment arrangement, the council will request the Magistrates Court to issue a summons.

If you don't pay your Council Tax or don't keep to an agreement to pay, we can issue you with a court summons.

We will ask the magistrates' court for a Liability Order. This is a demand for you to pay the full amount you owe, plus £70 costs. Once a liability order is granted this gives us the right to collect any monies owed using methods such as:

  • attachment of benefits or earnings
  • enforcement agents
  • bankruptcy and insolvency
  • charging orders
  • committal to prison.

If you want to discuss a payment arrangement or believe that the summons has been issued in error, please call us on 01952 383838.

You have the right to attend the court and offer evidence and reasons if you think you shouldn’t have to pay in instances such as we have not followed the correct rules for recovery action, or you have already paid what you owe.

However, if you want to discuss a payment arrangement or believe that the summons has been issued in error, you do not need to go to court. You must contact us immediately or seek independent financial advice.

Please call us on 01952 383838.

A liability order has been issued by the Magistrates' Court and we have informed your employer to commence deductions from your earnings towards your unpaid Council Tax.

The tables below show the amount to be deducted from your earnings:

Deductions from weekly earnings

Net earnings Deduction rate
Not exceeding £75 No deduction
£75 to but not exceeding £135 3%
£135 to but not exceeding £185 5%
£185 to but not exceeding £225 7%
£225 to but not exceeding £355 12%
£355 to but not exceeding £505 17%
Above £505 17% for the first £505 and 50% for the remainder

Deductions from monthly earnings

Net earnings Deduction rate
Not exceeding £300 No deduction
£300 to but not exceeding £550 3%
£550 to but not exceeding £740 5%
£740 to but not exceeding £900 7%
£900 to but not exceeding £1,420 12%
£1,420 but not exceeding £2,020 17%
Above £2020 17% for the first £2020 and 50% for the remainder

If you change jobs or stop working, you must tell us as soon as possible.

A liability order has been issued by the Magistrates' Court, and we have asked the Department for Work and Pensions to send a deduction from either your Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credits directly to us.

The amount deducted is currently £3.70 per week.

These deductions continue until the Council Tax you owe is paid in full, or until you stop receiving benefits. If you stop receiving benefits and the debt is still unpaid, you need to contact us to make an arrangement to pay straight away.

A liability order has been issued by the Magistrates' Court and we have passed your details to an enforcement agent (otherwise known as bailiffs) to collect the amount you owe, plus any extra charges.

If you receive a letter or a visit from an enforcement agent, you should contact them urgently to discuss your options for repayment as additional enforcement agents fees will become payable.

If your account is with an enforcement agent you must make payments direct to them.

Telford & Wrekin Council employs two accredited enforcement/debt collection agents authorised to act on our behalf:

Any enforcement agency acting on our behalf should behave professionally, follow set procedures, have an internal complaints procedure and not take inappropriate action. 

If an enforcement agent has been instructed by us to collect unpaid Council Tax, you will incur extra charges as detailed in the table below. These charges are set by the government and are not negotiable.

Stage Charge Percentage fees if debt is greater than £1,500, in addition to Charge
Compliance
This fee is added to your debt when your account is referred to an enforcement agent for collection.
£75 0%
Enforcement
If you do not arrange to pay the enforcement agent, or arrange to make payment and then do not pay as agreed, the enforcement agent will visit you and this fee will also be added to your debt.
£235 7.5%
Sale
If you do not sign a Controlled Goods Agreement when an  enforcement agent visits your property, or you do not pay as agreed after signing a Controlled Goods Agreement, the enforcement agent can remove and sell your goods and you will be charged this fee.
£110 7.5%

When an enforcement agent visits, you will have to pay a further fixed fee of £235 plus 7.5% for any debt due that is over £1500. Even if you pay in full at this stage, you will still have to pay all of the costs.

If you are unable to pay in full, the enforcement agent can make the decision to take control of your goods. The enforcement agent may enter into a Controlled Goods Agreement, where the agent makes a list of your possessions that is equal in value to your debt. This means that you cannot dispose or sell them without the enforcement agents permission. These will then be sold at public auction.

Obstructing an enforcement agent or interfering with controlled goods is now an offence for which you can be arrested and sent to prison.

Bailiffs can take luxury items, for example a TV or games console.

They can’t take items such as:

  • goods on hire purchase
  • goods which are rented
  • items necessary for use in connection with your employment or education - 'tools of the trade' if their value is less than £1350
  • household necessities for the family, such as:
  • beds and bedding
  • children’s toys
  • children’s equipment
  • cooker and cooking utensils
  • food
  • medical equipment
  • table and chairs
  • some lighting or heating appliances
  • refrigerator
  • ironing equipment
  • a vehicle used for carry a disabled person which is displaying a valid disabled person's badge.

Visit GOV.UK for more information about enforcement agent powers and removal of goods.

If the enforcement agent does not collect all the money that you owe the Council, we will consider other options to recover the debt which may include bankruptcy, a charging order against your property, or asking the court to assist in the recovery of the debt which may result in sending you to prison for up to three months.

If your Council Tax debt is in excess of £5000 and a Liability Order has been obtained by the magistrates' court, we may start bankruptcy proceedings against you if we have tried unsuccessfully at recovering the Council Tax debt.

If we take this action, we will pass your account to our solicitors who will send you a statutory demand. If you receive a statutory demand, you should contact the council immediately. An agreement to settle the debt can still be made before we present a petition to the County Court.

It could mean you are forced to sell your home to pay your debts and your personal bank accounts could be frozen

Visit GOV.UK for more information about bankruptcy.

If your Council Tax debt is in excess of £1000 and a Liability Order has been issued by the magistrates' court, we can apply for a charging order if you own your property and we have tried unsuccessfully at recovering the Council Tax debt.

We will send you a letter that explains the details of the charging order. You should contact the Council immediately as an agreement to settle to the debt can still be made before we apply for the charging order.

If a charging order is granted by the County Court, it will mean that when the property is sold, your Council Tax debt, plus any costs we have incurred must be paid to us before any equity from the property is released to you.

Yes.

If all alternative methods of collection have been unsuccessful and you still owe us money we can apply to the Magistrates’ Court for a warrant to send you to prison.

You will be summonsed to appear before the Magistrates Court. At this hearing, the Council will outline the non-payment of Council Tax and we will ask the court to consider your committal to prison for a period of up to three months.

You (or your legal representative) will be asked to explain why you have not paid your Council Tax and your current and previous financial circumstances will be explored. The Magistrate will then make a decision regarding the matter.

The Court may decide to postpone imprisonment on certain conditions, like you agreeing to repay the debt over time. The Court can also cancel all or part of the debt.

Last updated: 08/10/2019 15:48

  1. Introduction
  2. Contact