Council tax arrears

If you experience difficulty paying your council tax, contact the Council Tax department immediately and we'll check whether you're getting all the reductions you're entitled to - don't wait until we send you a reminder.

Council tax billing process

  • if you get behind with your council tax payments or get into arrears, we'll send a reminder letter showing how much you need to pay to bring your account up to date
  • we will not issue any more than two reminders in each financial year
  • if you do not pay, or you bring your account up to date but fail to make future payments on time, you will lose the right to pay by instalments and the full charge will become due
  • if this happens a summons will be issued and we will take action through the Magistrates' Court to obtain a liability order against you
  • all costs associated with issuing a summons notice and obtaining a liability order will be added to your bill
  • City of York Council and Citizens Advice York have developed the Council Tax Collection Good Practice Policy which is committed to supporting our customers with council tax debts.

Magistrates Court Liability Orders

If you have recently received a court summons for council tax arrears you do not need to attend court unless you wish to dispute your case. You can propose a payment arrangement by calling the council tax team on 01904 551558, but a liability order will still be requested at court unless you settle the full outstanding balance shown on your court summons (including the summons costs).

After a liability order has been granted we will consider your payment proposal. If we do not reach an agreement we can take payments direct from your earnings, income support or pension credit, or to instruct bailiffs to seize your goods and sell them at auction.

Bailiff action will involve further costs for which you would be liable.

Council tax recovery team

If you are behind with your payments and a liability order has been granted against you, it's vital that you contact our council tax recovery team to agree a Special Payment Arrangement (see below) to settle the arrears and avoid further action and costs.

If you do not agree a way forward to settle your arrears it's possible that we'll refer your debt to a bailiff company (known as 'Enforcement Agents') for collection.

Enforcement Agents that operate on our behalf have a formal contract and are monitored for customer service. Bailiff action will incur further costs which will be added to you debt; the Government set the bailiff fee.

Special Payment Arrangement

If a Liability Order has been granted in court for council tax arrears and you have recently received a notification of Liability Order, you can use this form to propose a special payment arrangement to clear your arrears before the end of the current financial year* (this ends on 31st March each year):

Special payment arrangement

To complete this form you will need:

  • council tax reference number starting '88'
  • council tax property address
  • your name and billing/contact address (if different to the council tax property)
  • telephone or email address
  • National Insurance Number
  • employment details including payroll number (or business name if self employed)
  • bank details (if proposing payment via Direct Debit)
  • start date for payments (must be within the next 32 days)

* If you feel you are unable to clear your arrears within the current financial year please contact the recovery team at or phone 01904 551195 to agree settlement of your outstanding council tax.

Bailiff fees

The Government 'Taking Control of Goods Act' states that bailiffs will be known as 'enforcement agents', it sets costs that they charge, in the three stage procedure below:

  • compliance stage: £75.00
  • enforcement stage: £235.00 + 7.5% of any debt over £1500.00
  • sale or disposal stage: £110.00 + 7.5% of any debt over £1500.00

Further fees may also apply if the final stage is reached.

Corporate debt policy

Download our Corporate Debt Policy.

Also see

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