What happens if I don’t pay my Council Tax?

We will: 

  • Send a reminder notice

If you miss a payment, we will send you a reminder notice giving you seven days to bring your payments up to date. You can ignore the notice if you have paid the amount owed in the last few days.

Reminder notices are not sent every month – we will only send you a maximum of two in a financial year. If you miss any payments after receiving a second reminder we will cancel your instalment plan and ask you to pay the full outstanding balance of your Council Tax bill.

  • Send a final notice

If you receive a final notice you have lost your right to pay by instalments and must pay the full outstanding balance within seven days. If you fail to pay we will then apply for a summons, including extra costs, to be issued against you.

  • Issue a summons

If you do not pay the outstanding amount you will be issued with a Magistrates’ Court summons. If you pay the full amount (including summons costs of £65) before the court hearing date, no further action will be taken

  • Apply for a liability order

If you do not pay the full balance (including costs of £65) by the court hearing date we will apply for a liability order to be issued, which will incur additional costs of £5. A liability order lets us recover the debt from you in a number of ways, including:

  • taking payments from salary/wages or other income, including benefits

  • instructing enforcement agents (bailiffs) to remove and sell some of your possessions (including vehicles) to pay the debt

  • starting bankruptcy proceedings against you

  • applying for a court order to sell your property to pay the debt

  • applying to court for you to be sent to prison for up to three months.

Having problems paying your bill?

If you are having problems paying your Council Tax you should:

  • contact us as soon as possible as we may be able to offer advice - if you have received a reminder or summons we will usually continue to apply for a liability order to be issued. This protects our financial interests but also allows us to help negotiate a reasonable payment arrangement with you later on.

  • check if you are entitled to any Council Tax discountsreductions or support

  • contact a recognised advice agency (see below) for free help with dealing with debts.

Once you have received a summons for non-payment, you will need to complete an Income and Expenditure form before we can make a discretionary payment arrangement with you.

In the meantime, please pay as much as you can. 

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Agencies offering free advice


The Bridge Money Advice Centre
Huntingdon Area Money Advice
Life Amid Debt
Rural Cambs Citizen Advice Bureau (covers East Cambridgeshire, Fenland and Huntingdonshire)


Christians Against Poverty
Citizens Advice Bureau
Debt Advice Foundation
Money Advice Service
National Debt Line