What happens if I don't pay my Council Tax?
If you're on a low income and have little savings, you may be entitled to Council Tax Reduction.
We may be able to help you by making a different payment arrangement. Remember that paying by direct debit ensures that your payments are made on time every month.
If your payment is late or you don't pay, we'll send you a reminder notice. We normally send only one reminder before taking further action.
If you don't pay following this, we'll send you a summons to appear at the Magistrates Court. If you've received a summons, you can still make an arrangement to pay but you'll have to pay the court costs and we'll still apply for a Liability Order at the Magistrates’ Court.
If you do not make an arrangement and it goes to court, you'll incur £77 court costs and lose your right to pay by instalments.
Making an arrangement to clear what you owe
Before you contact us, it may help you to:
- make a list of your income and outgoings
- work out how much you can afford to repay each week or month
If you still don't pay and you're working, we may apply to your employer to take it directly from your salary. If you're on benefits, we may recover the debt from your benefits payments. Otherwise we will use enforcement agents to collect the debt.
Follow this link for ways to pay your council tax.
Council Tax: Attachments
After a Liability Order is granted in favour of the council by the Magistrate, we can instruct the Department for Works and Pensions or your employer to make deductions from your benefits or your earnings.
There are two types of attachment that can be requested:
- attachment of benefits
- attachment of earnings
Follow this link for more information on Council Tax Attachments.
From 6 April 2014 all bailiff action and the fees that can be charged will be governed by the Tribunals Courts & Enforcement Act 2007. As a result of this, bailiffs are now referred to as enforcement agents.
The fees that will be applied after 6 April when collecting a debt are listed below.
1. Compliance stage fee
This fee is due as soon as the case is received by the Enforcement Agent and covers all activity up to the first commencement of the enforcement stage.
2. Enforcement stage fee
£235 plus 7.5% of the value of the original debt which exceeds £1,500
This stage comprises all activity from the first attendance at the premises in relation to the instruction.
3. Sale stage fee
£110 plus 7.5% of the value of the original debt which exceeds £1,500
This stage commences with the first attendance at the property for the purpose of transporting goods to the place of sale.
The above fees are fixed and set by government.
If you have a current case and enforcement action is necessary – you WILL be subject to the above fees. To avoid these fees you must ensure that you keep to any payment arrangement that have been agreed.
We would prefer not to use enforcement agents to collect Council Tax or Non-domestic Rates. Nevertheless we won't hesitate to do so if you:
- haven't responded to earlier recovery action
- have responded, but have failed to keep strictly to arrangements, or if you have a poor payment record
We make special efforts to be sensitive to vulnerable people.
Vulnerable peopleVulnerable people are defined as:
- disabled people
- single parent families
- unemployed people
- mental handicap or mental confusion
- long-term sickness, serious illness or frailty
- deafness or blindness or limited sight or hearing
- recent bereavement (for example if a close family relative has died)
What can I do to stop the enforcement agent calling?
You can contact us and ask us to withdraw the enforcement agent. We only do this if you offer to pay back the debt. You should not offer to repay the debt at a rate you cannot afford.
However hard we try, occasionally things go wrong. Please help us to put them right.
You may want to complain if you think we have:
- not treated you fairly
- not treated you politely
- not done something you think we should have done
- done something badly
If this is the case please email [email protected]. We'll respond within 10 working days.
Follow this link for further information on how to complain about an enforcement agent.
Luton Borough Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ
Tel: 0300 790 0340
Fax: 01582 546977