Late and non-payment of Council Tax

If you are struggling to keep up with payments

You can ask us to consider a payment plan if you are struggling to keep up with Council Tax payments or have fallen behind. We may be able to recalculate or extend instalments. We will do our best to work with you where possible. 

To ask for a payment plan, use our online form. You cannot use this form if you have been issued with a summons for non-payment or if court action has already taken place. 

If you have had a court summons or we have obtained a Liability Order against you

Use our special payment arrangement request form to make a payment proposal if you cannot pay in full by the date given on the summons or pay the instalments by the date set out.

Do not complete this form if your case is with an enforcement agent (Bristow and Sutor or Jacobs). Contact them direct to arrange payment.

Previous years arrears

You may have to complete both forms if you have previous years arrears.

If someone else is helping you sort out your Council Tax,

Use our Authority to disclose form to give us permission to talk to someone who is helping you with your Council Tax.

Authority to disclose

Council Tax and ‘Freeman of Land’

The Freeman-of-the-Land movement and similar groups, broadly believe that they are bound only by statute laws they consent to.

Being a ‘freeman’ does not exempt any person from the liability to pay council tax.

The liability to pay council tax arises under the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and subsequent regulations. This is a statute created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown.

Liability to pay council tax is determined in accordance with the statutory regulations

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 gives local authorities the right to demand council tax which  is used to fund essential local services.

Payment is not optional nor is it contingent upon either the consent of the council tax payer or the existence of a contractual relationship with the Council.

Any argument that the absence of consent or a contract precludes liability to Council Tax has no legal basis.

Note that we will not respond to correspondence that seeks to rely upon specious arguments that have no basis in statute.

What you should do if:

*You must continue to make payment in line with your current Council Tax bill until you receive a new one*

*When applying for a reduction you must continue to make payment in line with your current Council Tax bill until you receive a new one*

  • Continue to make payments in line with your current Council Tax bill until you receive a new one

Why have you had the Summons?

A Summons Notice has been served as you have failed to make full payment of the preceding Reminder, Second Reminder or Final Notice. If you believe you have paid the previous notice in full, contact the Council Tax team via our form and select the option ‘Reminder/final notice paid in full before summons issued’.

What to do now

  • Make Payment of the full amount of the notice before the Court Hearing to avoid further action and additional costs
  • If you are unable to pay in full, make payment of the first instalment at the bottom of the Summons by the specified date, this will trigger the remaining instalments on your account. See our Paying your Council Tax page for ways to make payment
  • If you are unable to make payment in full or comply with the instalment plan on the Summons by the specified date, submit your payment proposal using the special payment arrangement request form.

You do not need to attend the Court Hearing. The Council will obtain the Liability Order in your absence. 

For further information please visit our Court Hearing page.

If you are unable to pay your arrears in full we may be able to consider a payment arrangement. Submit your proposal using the special payment arrangement request form. We will not be able to consider this if your case is with an enforcement agent, you will need to contact them direct.

  • The Council may pass your debt to an Enforcement Agent for collection
  • The Council may deduct money from your wages
  • The Council may deduct money from your Benefit entitlement
  • The Council may make you Bankrupt or apply for a Charge against your Property

Enforcement agents were previously called bailiffs. Enforcement agents are certificated by the County Court.

The enforcement sector employs close supervision and constant monitoring to ensure that standards of conduct are without reproach. 

The enforcement agent will carry an electronic copy of the warrant, their enforcement agent certificate and photographic ID.

Agents wear body-worn cameras to record their visits on film. Film footage is constantly reviewed to monitor agents’ conduct and performance. This includes checking that agents are adhering to standards of privacy. More information on the Enforcement process.

You have had an Attachment of Earnings Order 

Under Council Tax legislation the Council can ask your employer to make deductions from your net salary (after your tax and national insurance deductions) to collect your Council Tax debt.

The amount deducted from your salary is calculated using the percentages set in Council Tax legislation:

Weekly Pay 

Weekly pay
Net Weekly PayPercentage DeductionApprox. Deduction Amount
Less than £75.00 0% 0
£75.01 - £135.00 3% £2.25 - £4.05
£135.01 - £185.00 5% £6.75 to £9.25
£185.01 - £225.00 7% £12.95 to £15.75
£225.01 - £355.00 12% £27.00 to £42.60
£355.01 - £505.00 17% £60.35 to £85.85
More than £505.01 17% in respect of the first £505.00 then 50% of the remainder Minimum £85.85

Monthly Pay 

Monthly pay
Net Monthly PayPercentage DeductionApprox. Deduction Amount
Less than £300.00 0% £.0.00
£300.01 - £550.00 3% £9.00 - £16.50
£550.01 - £740.00 5% £27.50 to £37.00
£740.01 - £900.00 7% £51.80 to £63.00
£900.01 - £1420.00 12% £108.00 to £170.40
£1420.01 - £2020.00 17% £241.40 to £343.40
More than £2020.01 17% in respect of the first £505.00 then 50% of the remainder Minimum £343.40

The Council can send your employer a maximum of two Attachments of Earnings Orders if you owe more than one Council Tax debt. The second Attachment of Earnings Order may be deducted at a lower rate than the first. 

If your wage includes overtime, commission, unsociable hours, or bonus payments the amount deducted from you is likely to increase. 

Your employer has a legal responsibility to make the deductions from your salary. Unless you pay the debt in full, you cannot ask your employer to stop or reduce the deductions or make an alternate arrangement to pay the debt.

Debt Recovery and Vulnerability pilot scheme

Cheshire East Council is taking part in a 'Debt Recovery and Vulnerability' pilot scheme under the Digital Economy Act 2017. In line with this legislation, if you have Council Tax debt, your details may be shared with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to help us identify financial vulnerability and recover Council Tax debts more effectively (for example deducting money from your wages). 

Governance documents

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
Email:  advice@cecab.org.uk
Phone: 0845 601 0271
Monday-Friday: 9:30am to 1:00pm

Christians Against Poverty

Christians Against Poverty
Phone: 0800 328 0006
Calvary Christian Centre
Earlsway
Macclesfield

National Debtline

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

Lifeline

Lifeline website
Email:  help@lifelinedebtadvice.co.uk
Phone: 01270 750358

Breathing space

If you are struggling with debt and financial management, you may be eligible for a period of respite where your creditors cannot take action to collect your debt known as ‘Breathing Space’. This is not something we can arrange for you. You should contact one of the organisations listed below for more information on the qualification criteria and details on how to apply:

Breathing space
OrganisationContact details
StepChange Debt Charity StepChange
Phone: 0800 138 1111
Cheshire East Citizens Advice Bureau Cheshire East Citizens Advice Bureau
Email:  advice@cecab.org.uk
Phone: 0845 601 0271
Monday-Friday: 9:30am to 1:00pm
Christians Against Poverty Christians Against Poverty
Phone: 0800 328 0006
Calvary Christian Centre
Earlsway
Macclesfield
National Debtline National Debtline
Phone: 0808 808 4000
Monday-Friday: 9:00am to 9:00pm
Saturday: 9:30am to 1:00pm
Lifeline Lifeline
Email:  help@lifelinedebtadvice.co.uk
Phone: 01270 750358

If you enter a period of Breathing Space, most of your debts will be protected to allow you time to enter a debt solution such as a Debt Relief Order, Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) or repayment plan. 

During Breathing Space, you may still receive Council Tax bills if: 

  • you move house
  • your entitlement to a Council Tax reduction changes
  • an additional charge is applied to an unoccupied property
  •  a new Financial Year begins

You will need to make payment as requested on the bill, but do not need to worry about any debt you have included in your Breathing Space application.

Once your Breathing Space ends, if you have not entered a formal debt solution, we will write to you. To avoid further recovery action you should Contact the Council Tax Team to discuss your case immediately. 

Contact us


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Page last reviewed: 11 January 2022