Council Tax enforcement

If you don't pay your Council Tax we are required by law to recover the debt. Stages of recovering Council Tax are:

Reminder and final notices 

Reminder notice

We will send a reminder notice if you miss an instalment, requesting full payment within 12 days. If you pay part of the outstanding amount we will not stop further recovery action.

Final notice

If you bring your account up to date within the 12 days but you miss a payment in the same financial year we will send you a final notice. If your payments are not brought up to date you will have to pay the full balance on your account and we can take court action to recover the debt. 

Court action - Liability Orders

If court action is required each accountable person on your account will receive a summons at least 14 days before the Court hearing. The cost of a summons is currently £65.

If you:

  • pay the full the amount and the costs on the summons before the Court hearing, no further action will be taken and proceedings will be withdrawn,
  • can't pay the full amount immediately, you can contact us to arrange payment on the basis that the application for a Liability Order and additional costs will still carry on. In these cases we will not take any further action if you continue to pay.

If a Liability Order is approved, the main ways we can recover the debt are:

Attachment of earnings and benefits

If you are working, we can instruct your employer to deduct the debt from your net earnings. The amount we are able to deduct is set by legislation.

Attachment of benefits

If you are claiming any of the following benefits:

  • Income support (IS)
  • Jobseekers allowance (JSA)
  • Employment and support allowance
  • Pension Credits
  • Universal Credit

We can apply to the Department for Work and Pensions to deduct the debt from your benefits.

Civil enforcement agents

  • We can instruct civil enforcement agents to take control of goods so that we can recover Council Tax debt. This will add further costs onto the existing debt.
  • If you pay in full after the civil enforcement agents have been sent but before your goods are sold you should be able to collect your goods.

Bankruptcy order

  • For debt over £5,000 we can apply to bankrupt an individual.
  • If the insolvency action is successful the debts outstanding are frozen at the date of the court hearing. Once you have been declared bankrupt no further recovery action can be taken against the debt.
  • Normal Council Tax charges will still apply after bankruptcy and if any new debts aren't paid then recovery action will be taken.

Charging order

  • If the debt is more than £1,000 we can apply for a Charging Order.
  • A Charging Order can be applied for if you are the owner or part-owner of a property.
  • The Charging Order means that once the property is sold and any mortgage paid off, the Council Tax debt can be claimed from remaining equity. We may be able to insist on the sale of the property.

Even when we take action to enforce payment of the debt, we will still try to help you if we think that there are some benefits you can claim.

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West Oxfordshire District Council
Elmfield
New Yatt Road
Witney
OX28 1PB