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Council tax arrears

If you are having difficulty in paying your council tax, please do not wait until you receive a recovery notice, contact us straight away to discuss the problem, otherwise you may incur costs. We will do our best to help you by agreeing to a temporary arrangement or helping you apply for council tax reduction if you are on a low income. You may be eligible for:

Your annual council tax charge is payable over 10 monthly instalments from April to January each year. You can also ask to have these extended to February and March if that makes payment easier for you.

Payments are due on or before the first of each month (with direct debit there is more choice and you can pay on 10th, 15th or 25th instead). If you do not pay your instalments on time, we will send you a reminder notice. If you bring your payments up to date within seven days, you can carry on paying by instalments.

If you don't bring your payments up to date you will lose the right to instalments and the full balance on your account becomes due.

If you pay on receipt of your first reminder, but pay late on another occasion, you will be sent a second reminder. However, if you pay on the second reminder but pay late on a third occasion, you will lose the right to pay by instalments and will be sent a final notice for the outstanding balance for the year. A maximum of two reminders will be issued within a financial year.


If you do not pay the full balance when requested to do so a magistrates court summons will be issued. If this happens you will be charged costs, which are:

  • £50 for the issue of a summons. If full payment (including the £50 costs) is received after the summons has been issued, but before the court hearing, there will be no further costs.
  • If full payment is not received action will continue. If this happens and a Liability Order is granted by the magistrates, further costs of £35 will be charged.

Once these costs have been charged they will only be withdrawn in cases of exceptional hardship. Customers wishing to have costs written off on grounds of hardship must set out their reasons in writing / email for consideration. Each case will be considered on its own merits.

To stop the Liability Order being passed to the bailiff, which will add more costs, full payment must be made, or a payment agreement reached with us. Once the Liability Order is with the bailiff all payment negotiations should be with the bailiff, not ourselves.

Help and advice

If you are having problems paying your council tax it is always a good idea to contact the council straight away so we can help you. The sooner you do this the better so we can try to help you avoid extra charges. Contact details for customer services are shown on the top right hand side of this page.

Alternatively you would like debt advice you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau:

Forgetting to pay your council tax

If you forget to pay your council tax, it might be a good idea to pay by direct debit. This will ensure your payments are made automatically each month. For more information see how to pay your council tax.

Contact information

  • To talk to us about council tax payments and arrears:
  • Telephone: 01494 412 226 and select help key 4