Late and non-payment of Council Tax

Call our Council Tax team immediately on 0300 123 5013 if you can’t afford to pay your Council Tax bill. We might be able to help.

You should tell us straightaway if you think the amount is wrong, believe someone else should pay, or if you get a reminder or other notice from us when you think you have already paid. Call us on 0300 123 5013 or contact the Council Tax team.

If you are waiting for a new bill from us, you must keep paying the amount on the bill we have already sent until we send you the new bill.

Pay attention to any reminder notices we send you, to avoid owing us more money for legal costs.

We will usually take action to recover what you owe us if you get into arrears with your Council Tax. It can take several days for payments to reach us, so you must allow enough time to make sure each payment is with us by the date it’s due. You might have to pay more if we take action against you.

If someone else is helping you sort out your Council Tax, you can give us permission to talk to them by signing our authority to disclose form (PDF, 82KB)

If you are late with a Council Tax payment

We will send you a Reminder Notice if you don’t pay on time. You must pay the amount due within 7 days. You will lose the right to make future payments by instalments if you don’t pay within 7 days. This means you must then pay the full year’s balance within the next 7 days.

If you are late with a Council Tax payment more than twice in the same financial year (1 April to 31 March)

If you have been late with 2 monthly payments, have been sent 2 Reminder Notices from us and are then late a third time, you will be sent a Final Notice. This means you lose the right to make future payments by instalments. You must then pay the full year’s balance within the next 7 days.

If we say you must pay the full year’s balance and you don’t do so

We can serve a summons if you don’t pay the full year’s balance within 7 days when we ask you to. This means a date will be set for a court hearing. The cost of serving the summons will be added to your debt. The summons will apply to everyone named on the Council Tax bill. You can stop the recovery proceedings by paying the amount on the summons including the costs before the date of the hearing.

If we serve a summons on you and you still don’t pay

The case will go to court if you don’t pay in full before the date of the hearing. However, the summons notice will tell you how to set up a payment plan if you are unable to pay in full. If you then make the payments including the costs by the due dates, we won’t take any further action against you after the court hearing.

You don’t need to go to the court hearing if you accept that you owe the amount outstanding. If you believe you have already paid or that someone else is responsible for paying, you can call 0300 123 5013, or contact the Council Tax team. If we agree with you, we will stop proceedings.

When Council Tax cases go to court, we ask the court to make a Liability Order. The cost of making the order is added to what you owe. You must still pay this extra cost even if you have made a payment arrangement.

After the court hearing

You can make a payment arrangement now if you didn't have an agreed a payment plan with us before the court hearing. 

Make payment arrangements to pay your Council Tax

However, if you don't make an arrangement or make the payments you have previously agreed to, we can take the money you owe direct from your wages. This is called 'Attachment of earnings'.    

We can also take the money out of any of the following benefits: 

  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

The Department for Work and Pensions will write to you and tell you how much they will deduct each week.

We might pass your debt to enforcement agents (bailiffs) where there's no other way for us to get the money. 

Enforcement agents (bailiffs)

If we decide to use enforcement agents, the agents will contact you directly to arrange payment or agree a payment plan. The agents can visit your home and take possessions to the value of what you owe if you don’t pay or agree a plan. You will then owe more money for the agents' costs. They can take more possessions to cover this amount.

You must make all payment arrangements directly with the enforcement agent. Don’t pay us at this stage, because the agents might not know you have paid and could still visit you to take your possessions.

The agents will continue enforcement action until they have recovered enough money or property to cover your debt.

Putting a charging order on your property

Where there is a Liability Order in place with an outstanding balance of £1000 or more, we can ask for a charging order on the property for which the tax is outstanding. This means that if the property is sold the amount of the charging order will be paid for from the proceeds of the sale.

Bankruptcy proceedings

Where there is an outstanding balance of £5000 or more for which we hold Liability Orders, we can start bankruptcy proceedings against you. 

Manage your Council Tax online

To keep track of your Council Tax payments and manage changes on line, you can set up an account.

Free debt advice

You can get free advice on managing debt from the following places:

Free debt advice table
OrganisationContact details
StepChange Debt Charity

StepChange Website
Phone: 0800 138 1111

Cheshire East Citizens Advice Bureau

Cheshire East Citizens Advice Bureau
Phone: 0845 601 0271
Monday-Friday: 9:30am to 1:00pm

Christians Against Poverty

Christians Against Poverty
Phone: 0800 328 0006
Calvary Christian Centre

National Debtline

National Debtline
Phone: 0808 808 4000
Monday-Friday: 9:00am to 9:00pm
Saturday: 9:30am to 1:00pm


Lifeline website
Phone: 01270 750358

Cheshire Neighbours Credit Union doesn’t give debt advice but does help people to save sensibly and manage their money. It offers affordable and safe borrowing and basic banking.