What happens if you don’t pay your Council Tax?

Council Tax law is complex and involves billing, collection and enforcement. This is mostly governed by 'The Council Tax (Administration & Enforcement) Regulations 1992.' These notes are only a brief summary of the key points and are not intended as a full guide. For further information, please contact the Council Tax Section on 01643 703704.

West Somerset Council sets down the following procedures to collect its Council Tax:

We must send you a bill showing the amount due and the instalments required.

If you fall into arrears, we must send you a Reminder. If you do not pay the arrears in full within seven days you will be sent a Final Notice. If you then do not pay your balance in full a summons will be issued without further notice.

If you fall into arrears but bring yourself up to date, and then fall into arrears again, we must send you a second Reminder. If you do not pay the arrears in full you will be sent a Final Notice. If you then do not pay your balance in full a summons will be issued without further notice.

If we send you a Final Notice, you have lost the right to pay by instalments and if you do not pay the full balance immediately or contact us we will send you a summons.

If we send you a summons, we will add costs of £61.00 to your bill and apply for a Liability Order at the court hearing. This may be done in your absence. Arrangements may be made but only on the basis that the recovery action continues, and the total cost of the summons will be included in the arrangement. You will also have to give us details of your employer and earnings.
  • Once a Liability Order has been obtained, we may demand information from you about your employers and earnings with a view to setting up an Attachment of Earnings Order. Failure to supply such information is a criminal offence punishable by a substantial fine.
  • If an Attachment of Earnings Order is requested it will be sent directly to your employer and you will be sent a copy. The deduction rates are available in the document Deductions from earnings. 
  • If you are getting Income Support/Employment and Support Allowance/Job Seekers Allowance we may also set up an Attachment of Benefit Order. The current rate of deduction for an attachment to benefit is presently £14.80 every 4 weeks (£3.70 per week), which will be deducted continuously until the debt is clear or the benefit ends.
  • If you do not make an acceptable arrangement with us, or an Attachment of Earnings or Benefit Order is not set up, we may ask enforcement agents  to collect the debt. As  soon as your case is sent to an enforcement agent you will be sent a Notice of Enforcement letter from them. This will detail the total amount outstanding  owed to the Council and include their £75.00 compliance fees. Please be aware you will no longer be given fourteen days' notice by them to pay your balance in full or set up a payment arrangement to prevent further costs. The actions of Enforcement agents can now result in substantial upfront costs and if your actions or indeed lack of action results in the need for a visit then a further minimum of £235.00 will be added in fees.
  • The Council uses enforcement agents Ross & Roberts Ltd contact number 0870 167 0707
  • If the enforcement agents are unable to collect the debt we may take committal action to send you to prison.
  • Other options open to us are bankruptcy proceedings, or placing a charging order on your property.