Council tax arrears

If you experience difficulty paying your bill, contact our Council Tax department immediately and we'll check whether you're getting all the council tax discounts and exemptions 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 we'll send up to 2 reminder letters (in each financial year) to let you know how much you need to pay to bring your account up to date

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

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

Magistrates Court liability orders

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

  • you don't need to attend court, unless you wish 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 settle 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, income support or pension credit, or instruct bailiffs to seize your goods and sell them at auction (bailiff action will involve further costs for which you'll 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 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. Bailiff action will incur further costs which will be added to you debt; the government set the bailiff fee.

Special Payment Arrangement

If you've received a notification of liability order for council tax arrears 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

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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