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Difficulties paying your Council Tax

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If you are having genuine difficulty in making payments on your Council Tax you should contact us straight away and we will do our best to help you.

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

If you don't pay your Council Tax we will take the following measures:

Send a reminder

If you miss a Council Tax instalment, you'll get a reminder notice giving you seven days to bring your Council Tax payments up to date.

If you don't pay within this time, you will be asked to pay the full outstanding balance of your Council Tax bill.

In addition, if you receive a second reminder to pay your Council Tax on a separate occasion, then fall behind with your payments again, you will be asked to pay the full outstanding balance of your Council Tax bill.

Do not ignore the reminder notice because if we have to continue with recovery action against you, you may have to pay extra costs.

Make your own payment arrangements - if you have received a reminder

You can make your own payment arrangement by setting up an online access to your Council Tax account. 

Set up your own payment arrangements

Please note that if you offer to pay instalments, that are deemed to be insufficient, to clear your outstanding balance within a reasonable time, your arrangement will be rejected.

Send a final notice

Please note that if you pay nothing, or pay late and receive a final notice, your right to pay by instalments is lost and you will be expected to pay the full outstanding balance.

If you do not pay the amount outstanding, or fail to make an acceptable payment arrangement with us (usually by direct debit), we will continue with recovery action.

Make your own payment arrangements - if you have received a final notice

You can make your own payment arrangement by setting up an online access to your Council Tax account.

Set up your own payment arrangements

Please note that if you offer to pay instalments, that are deemed to be insufficient, to clear your outstanding balance within a reasonable time, your arrangement will be rejected.

Send a summons

If payment is not received or an acceptable payment arrangement is not made within 14 days after the issue of the Final Notice, we will send a Magistrates Court summons.

£61.00 will be added to your account to cover our costs.

Apply for a liability order

If you do not pay the full balance, including costs, once you have received the summons we will make an application for a liability order to the Magistrates Court. A liability order gives us the power to recover the debt from you in a number of ways:

  • by Attachment of Earnings order. The amounts to be deducted are provided by government order
  • by passing your account to an enforcement agent which will incur charges
  • by commencing bankruptcy proceedings against you
  • by deductions from certain benefits. (Income Support, ESA, JSA and Pension Credit) (These are currently £3.70 per week)
  • by making an arrangement with you.

If you wish to make an arrangement to pay your Council Tax arrears then please contact the Council Tax office.

Alternatively you can download and complete the Icon for pdf income and expenditure statement form [73.26KB] or complete the online form.   

Income and expenditure statement form

Use enforcement agents

An Enforcement Agent (formerly known as a bailiff) could be instructed to collect the debt.

If an Enforcement Agent is instructed, extra costs will be added to the amount you owe. These fees are:

  • £75.00 on each liability order immediately the Enforcement Agent receives your case (compliance stage). You will have the opportunity to make a payment arrangement with the Enforcement Agent at this stage, and avoid further costs. Do not ignore their first contact letter.
  • £235 (+7.5% if your debt is over £1500) if you fail to pay or make an arrangement at compliance stage and the Enforcement Agent needs to visit you to collect the debt (enforcement stage).
  • £110 (+7.5% if the debt is over £1500) if the Enforcement Agent visits with the purpose of removing and selling your goods.

The agent may make a list of your goods, but as long as you agree to repay the debt, they will only remove the goods if you do not keep to the agreement. If the agent removes your goods, they can sell them and use the money to repay the debt.

We use Rossendales Ltd and Newlyn who offer a range of methods for making payments, including online payments, by telephone, at a Post Office, by cheque or bank transfer.

Deductions from earnings

Once a liability order has been obtained against non payment, this gives us the power to recover the debt directly from your employer.

The table below shows the amounts that can be deducted.

Deductions from Weekly Earnings

Net EarningsDeduction rate %
Not exceeding £75

0

Exceeding £75 but not exceeding £135 3
Exceeding £135 but not exceeding £185 5
Exceeding £185 but not exceeding £225 7
Exceeding £225 but not exceeding £35512
Exceeding £355 but not exceeding £50517
Exceeding £505

17 in respect of the first £505 and 50% in respect of the remainder

Deductions from Monthly Earnings

Net EarningsDeduction rate %

Not Exceeding £300

0
Exceeding £300 but not exceeding £5503
Exceeding £550 but not exceeding £7405
Exceeding £740 but not exceeding £900 7
Exceeding £900 but not exceeding £1,420 12
Exceeding £1,420 but not exceeding £2,02017
Exceeding £2,02017 in respect of the first £2,020 and 50% in respect of the remainder

Deductions based on Daily Earnings

Net EarningsDeduction rate %
Not exceeding £11 0
Exceeding £11 but not exceeding £20 3
Exceeding £20 but not exceeding £275
Exceeding £27 but not exceeding £337
Exceeding £33 but not exceeding £5212
Exceeding £52 but not exceeding £7217
Exceeding £7217 in respect of the first £72 and 50% in respect of the remainder

Guidance for employers on attachment of earnings orders

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions has prepared a guidance document entitled, Icon for pdf Attachment of Earnings - A Guide for Employers [80.12KB].

This document is intended to help employers with the administration of Council Tax Attachment of Earnings Orders and outlines the procedures involved and the roles of the employer, the debtor and the local authority.

All deductions should be paid to Preston City Council and forwarded with the taxpayer's account reference to the address - Revenues Services, PO BOX 30, Town Hall, Preston, PR1 2GD.

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