Council tax arrears

If you experience difficulty paying your bill, contact our Council Tax department immediately - don't wait until we send you a reminder.

We'll check whether you're getting all the council tax discounts and exemptions you're entitled to.

To support you with council tax debts we've developed a Council Tax Collection Good Practice Protocol with Citizens Advice York.

Council tax recovery process

If you get behind with your council tax payments we send a reminder letter to let you know how much you need to pay to bring your account up to date.

We will only issue up to 2 reminder letters in each financial year. Any further late payments will lead to your account being subject to the recovery process.

If you don't pay, or fail to make future payments on time:

  • you'll lose the right to pay by instalments
  • the full charge will become due
  • a summons will be issued
  • we'll take action through the Magistrates Court to obtain a liability order against you
  • all costs associated with issuing a summons and obtaining a liability order will be added to your bill

Summons, liability order and bailiffs

If you've recently received a court summons for council tax arrears:

  • you don't have to attend court unless you want to dispute your case
  • you can propose a payment arrangement by contacting the Council Tax Team
  • a liability order will be requested at court, unless you pay the full balance including the summons costs

After a liability order has been granted we'll consider your payment proposal. If we don't reach an agreement we can:

  • take payments directly from your earnings
  • take payments directly from income support or pension credit
  • instruct bailiffs to seize your goods and sell them at auction

Any further costs due to bailiff action will be added to you debt; the government set the bailiff fee.

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 to settle your arrears and avoid further action and costs.

If you do not agree a way forward we may refer your debt to a bailiff company (known as 'enforcement agents'). Enforcement agents that operate on our behalf have a formal contract and are monitored for customer service.

Any further costs due to bailiff action will be added to you debt.

Special Payment Arrangement

If you've received a notification of liability order for council tax arrears you need to complete a Special Payment Arrangement, to propose a plan to clear your arrears before the end of the current financial year (by 31 March).

Special Payment Arrangement

To complete this form you'll need:

  • council tax reference number starting '88'
  • council tax property address
  • your name and contact address (if different to the council tax property)
  • telephone or email address
  • your 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)

Your account reference number is shown at the top right hand side of your council tax bill. If you no longer have this you can request a copy bill online.

If you feel you are unable to clear your arrears within the current financial year please contact the Council Tax Recovery Team.

Bailiff fees

The government 'Taking Control of Goods Regulations (2013)' state that bailiffs will be known as 'enforcement agents'. The regulations set 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

If the final stage is reached further fees may apply.

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