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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Council Tax recovery and enforcement

council tax

To avoid the recovery process your Council Tax must be paid on the due dates shown on your bill.

If you have problems paying your bill contact the Customer Services team on 01642 397108 as soon as possible. Please see the following recovery process for further details.

 

Recovery Process


Late payments
To avoid receiving a Reminder or Final Notice for late payment, your Council Tax instalments must be paid on the due dates shown on your bill.

To avoid further action - pay your bill on the due date.

Reminder Notice
If you do not pay your bill on time we will send you a Council Tax Reminder Notice, including details of the amount you need to pay to bring your instalments up to date.

As long as you bring your account up to date within seven days of the date of the notice and pay future instalments on or before the due date, no further action will be taken against you.

If all of your instalments have become due a Final Notice can be issued straight away without the need for a Reminder Notice.

To avoid further action - bring your account up to date within seven days.

Second and Final Reminder Notice
If your Council Tax payment is brought up to date after you have been sent a Reminder Notice but you miss a further instalment we will send you a Second and Final Reminder Notice. This will detail how much you need to pay to bring your payments up to date.

As long as you bring your account up to date within seven days of the notice and pay future instalments on or before the due date, no further action will be taken against you.

If all of your instalments have become due a Final Notice can be issued straight away without the need for a Reminder Notice.

To avoid further action - bring your account up to date within seven days.

Final Notice
If all of your instalments have become due; or if payment is brought up to date after we have sent you a Second and Final Reminder Notice but you miss a further instalment, we will issue you a Final Notice.

The Notice will advise you that you have now lost the right to pay the years charge by instalments and full payment of the balance is due.

To avoid further action - pay the years balance within seven days.

Court Summons
If you do not pay the full Council Tax balance within seven days of receiving one of the above notices, we will issue a Court Summons for non-payment of Council Tax, incurring extra costs. Your attendance at court is only required if you have a dispute that cannot be resolved with the Council.

To avoid further action - pay the full balance and the Summons costs.

Liability Order
If the Court decides that you are liable to pay the amount that is shown on the Court Summons, and you have not paid the full amount outstanding, it will grant a Liability Order. A Liability Order gives the Council enforcement powers to recover the Council tax costs owed by other means including:

  • deduction from your earnings
  • deduction from your benefits
  • referral to an enforcement agent
  • committal to prison
  • bankruptcy
  • criminal proceedings

If the balance and the Summons cost remain unpaid on the day of the Liability Order Court Hearing, the Council will apply for additional costs.

To avoid enforcement action - pay the full balance, the Summons cost and the Liability Order cost.

 

Enforcement


Deductions from your earnings or benefit
Once a Liability Order has been granted, if you are employed we can issue an Attachment of Earnings Order. This means that we will ask your employer to make deductions from your salary and pay them directly to us until you have repaid what you owe.

If you receive certain benefits we can apply to the Department for Works and Pensions to request that deductions are made from your benefit and paid directly to us until your debt is repaid.

Bankruptcy
If you or your company owes more than £5,000 in Council Tax or Business Rates and a Liability Order has been ordered against you, we may start bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings.

If we take this action, we will send you a statutory demand, which will give you 21 days to pay the full amount.

If you receive a statutory demand you should contact us immediately. If you do not settle the statutory demand, we will present a petition for bankruptcy or liquidation at court.

Enforcement Agent
Your account may be passed to the Council’s Enforcement Agent for collection if you have not paid the debt in full or you have not adhered to an agreed repayment plan. This action will incur additional costs.

Committal to prison
As a last resort, we will apply to the Magistrates' Court for a Committal Summons. This is the first stage towards you possibly going to prison.

If you receive a committal summons, you should contact us and get legal advice from a solicitor or the Citizens Advice Service. If you pay in full you do not need to go to court.

If you do not pay in full, you must go to court at the time and date shown.

If you fail to turn up at court the magistrates may issue a warrant for your arrest. This procedure incurs significant additional costs to cover the Committal Summons (£305.00) and the Warrant of Arrest (£145.00).