If you have received a Summons Notice from the council, it means that they will ask the court to grant a liability order for unpaid Council Tax. A liability order means that the court agrees that you owe the money and that the council can take steps to collect it. These steps could include seizing goods or taking the money out of your wages or benefit.
If you are on a low income you may be entitled to help paying your Council Tax bill. You could be entitled to help from the Council Tax Support Scheme.
Having enough money to pay your bills can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. If you are finding it hard to pay your account, we can help you. Call us as soon as possible on 0300 303 0164 and we will work with you to come up with a payment plan. Complete our income and expenditure form.
Our officers will never judge you or make you feel bad about your situation. We will always be happy to talk to you about your account and will work with you to find ways to manage your account, even if you think you have no spare money to offer against your debt.
At present Liability Order hearings are held remotely by audio link. You should not attend a Magistrates Court building.
You could take the following action:
- Pay off the amount on the summons in full. That will end the case.
- Do nothing. The council will ask the court to make the liability order in your absence.
- If you accept that you owe the money, you can make an agreement with the council about how you will pay it (usually in instalments). If you make an agreement to pay with the council, they will still ask the court for a liability order. But if you stick to the agreement, they will not take any other steps (seizing goods etc).
To make an agreement you should contact the council on 0300 303 0164 immediately to talk about it, rather than waiting for the court hearing. If you do that, you will probably not need to attend the court hearing as the council will ask the court to make the liability order in your absence. Then they will collect the money as you and the council have agreed.
If you are thinking about disputing the order (instead of paying – perhaps by instalments – or doing nothing) you should read the notes on the back of the summons. They tell you what the council must prove to the court, and what defences you have.
Should you still want to dispute the liability order you must check Liability Order Defences to be sure you have a valid defence, then:
- Contact the council at least seven days prior to the court hearing and have a discussion with them to explain why you believe you are not liable. If you cannot agree, you will be given a time to attend court by way of a telephone hearing. You will need to make yourself available for this telephone hearing for the full period of time the council will give you. If you are not available and fail to answer the call when the court telephones you the court may make the Liability Order against you in your absence. If you default on the arrangement made with the council, they will enforce the Liability Order.
Please Note: if you turn up at the Magistrates’ Court without a prior appointment, you may be refused entry and your case may be heard in your absence.