[Skip to content]

.

Council Tax Debt Recovery FAQ

Q Why have you sent me a reminder?
A Our records show you haven't paid the instalments as requested on your bill.

Q I cannot afford to pay the amount required to bring my instalments up to date - what should I do?             
A Please contact us immediately, as it may be possible to make alternative arrangements for you to pay.

Q Why have you sent me a final notice?
A You have already had at least one reminder notice and have fallen behind again.  This means that the full amount outstanding for the year is due; or the amount outstanding is in respect of a previous financial year.

Q How can I be sure that my instalments are paid on time in future?
A PAY BY Direct DebitContact us and join the thousands of Dudley taxpayers who already pay this way.

Q Why have you sent me a summons for the whole year when I've got until March to pay?
A You have the right to pay by instalments, but if you do not pay every month, and a summons is issued, you lose that right and the full amount outstanding for the year becomes payable immediately.

Q Why have I incurred costs when I can't even pay my original debt?
A Costs cover the extra expenses the Council has incurred, such as correspondence, postage and costs payable to the Magistrates' Court.

Q What will happen if I don't pay the amount on the summons?
A The Council will apply to the Magistrates' Court for a liability order.

Q I have received a summons.  Do I have to attend the court hearing? 
A No.  Please contact us before the court hearing so a reasonable payment arrangement can be made.

Q What powers does a liability order give to the Council?
A The Council can try to obtain payment by:  

  • instructing enforcement agents (bailiffs)

  • commencing bankruptcy proceedings

  • attaching your earnings

  • deducting money from your income support/jobseekers allowance

  • requesting information from you concerning your personal circumstances

  • charging orders

Q What if I still don't pay?
A The Council can apply to the Court for your committal to prison.

Q I can't pay in full, but can afford to pay something every week or month.  Can I do this?
A Yes.  If you are unable to pay any amount requested from you at any time please contact us immediately.  We are always willing to listen, and after considering your financial circumstances, will try to come to a mutually acceptable payment arrangement.

Q Where can I go for independent advice on debt?
A Many organisations provide free debt advice, further information can be found on GOV.UK Options for paying off your debts.

Q How do I make a complaint about enforcement agent action?
A You can write to the enforcement agent direct or use the Council's customer feedback procedure. If you are unhappy with the final outcome, or you feel the Council is taking too long to look into the matter (12 weeks is considered reasonable), you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Q Is there a Council Tax Collection and Recovery Policy?
A Yes. The Council Tax Collection and Recovery Policy which provides information about the collection process and steps that we take to recover Council Tax arrears can be found at the bottom of the page.