What to do if have trouble paying your council tax

If you find that you are having difficulty keeping up with your payments, please contact us as soon as you get into arrears. We understand that sometimes, paying late can be for a reason. Get in touch and we will try our best to help you if we can.

Coronavirus

As part of the money put forward by the government, local authorities will receive a grant of £500 million split between them to support economically vulnerable individuals and households.  The government expects most of this funding to be used to provide more council tax relief, either through existing local council tax support schemes, or through complementary support schemes.

If you have been affected financially by the Coronavirus and believe you will have difficulty meeting your instalments, we are here to help.  We may be able to grant a reduction, delay your instalments, suspend any recovery action and give advice regarding any other support that is available. 

Although local councils are taking the burden of paying council tax into consideration, as it stands, most households will have to keep paying council tax as normal at the moment, during the outbreak.  We can reassure you that we will not take any new recovery action if residents are temporarily unable to pay council tax.

Head to your My Erewash account and complete the form called Council Tax - Delay Recovery Request if you need help.

Council Tax Support

The council operates a council tax support scheme which supports households of working age with low income, whether in work, unemployed or retired and have less than £6,000 savings. We are encouraging eligible residents to claim CTS as soon as possible, should the need arise. Claims for CTS must also be completed via your My Erewash account. We will be prioritising the processing of claims to get this support to our residents as soon as possible.

The council will receive additional funding as part of the recently announced £500m Hardship Fund which will be targeted at those in need. In Erewash we will use this money to give every household, where there is a working age person in receipt of CTS, an additional £150 toward their council tax liability. This will be credited to their council tax account as soon as possible. 

Text Messages

Each month we have to issue reminders to a number of residents who have not paid the latest instalment of their council tax.  We would prefer not to send any reminder notices, so we are looking at other ways to contact residents effectively and to prevent further formal recovery action being required.

We can send Short Message Service (SMS) text messages to remind residents who may have missed an instalment. The benefits of text messaging are:

  • Response times are generally very good.

  • It is quick.

  • It is cost effective.

  • It improves customer service.

SMS is one of the most popular forms of communication and by sending SMS text messages instead of letters, we make savings in printing and postage costs.  Please get in touch with us if you are interested in this service.

Reminder Notice

If you do not pay an instalment when it falls due, we will send you a reminder notice.  You must make sure you make the requested payment immediately. If we do not receive the payment within seven days of the date of the reminder, you will lose your right to pay by instalments and you will be required to pay the entire year's bill in full within a further seven days, or a summons will be issued.

Second Reminder

If, after receiving a reminder, you do pay off that instalment within seven days but you then fall into arrears on another instalment, you will be sent a Second Reminder Notice.  This will be your final chance, as no further reminders will be issued. If you fail to pay the amount due within seven days, you will lose the right to pay by instalments and you will be required to pay the entire year's bill in full within a further seven days, or a summons will be issued.

Final Notice

If, after receiving two reminders and paying off the instalments as requested, you fall into arrears for a third time, a Final Notice will be issued, demanding the entire balance for the year to be paid in full. You have already lost your right to pay by instalments and if the entire year's balance is not paid within seven days, a summons will be issued, even if your statutory instalments have been brought up to date.

Summons

If you receive any of the above notices and fail to make the payment demanded, the Council will apply to the local Magistrates' Court for a Summons to be issued against you. The issue of a Summons will also result in you incurring additional costs, which will be added to your account when the Summons is issued and must be paid in addition to the outstanding balance of your Council Tax.

If you have any queries regarding the Summons, or wish to discuss a way to pay, please contact us immediately. 

Liability Order

Failure to pay the balance demanded in full before the Court hearing date stated on the summons, will result in the Council making an application to the Court for a Liability Order.  A Liability Order gives Erewash Borough Council the authority to take further enforcement action to recover the arrears.  The types of action that are available are to instruct Bailiffs to collect the debt, to make deductions from income, to commence insolvency proceedings, to apply for a charge against a property, or to ask the Magistrates to summons you to appear before them to explain your failure to pay, which may result in imprisonment for up to 90 days.

After a Liability Order has been granted, a notice will be issued requiring you to supply financial information. You must complete and return it within 14 days. If you do not, the law states that it is an offence punishable by a fine. The Council will not make an arrangement without this information. Further time to pay the arrears can be agreed if it is an amount that you can afford and will clear the arrears over a realistic timescale.

Arrangements

If an arrangement is made and is adhered to, the Council will not take any further action, however, one of the conditions of an arrangement may be that a Liability Order has to be granted, to protect the Council's interest in the debt.

If a Liability Order has been granted, the law allows Erewash Borough Council to take various forms of further recovery action, including:

Taking Control of Goods

Enforcement Agents are employed to take control of goods for sale where appropriate. If Erewash Borough Council instructs the Enforcement Agents, substantial extra costs may be incurred.  Fees are set by Government legislation and by contacting the Enforcement Agents early, it may be possible for you to minimise these charges.

The contact details for the Enforcement Agents are

Attachment of Earnings Orders

The Council can issue Orders instructing employers to make deductions directly from your pay. The deductions are calculated as a percentage of net income.

Attachment of Benefit

Applications can be made to the Department for Work and Pensions for deductions from Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Pension Credits.

Insolvency

If a Liability Order has been granted, the Council can petition for your bankruptcy. The minimum amount that a Bankruptcy Order can be made for is £5,000. You will be served with a Statutory Demand giving you 21 days to clear the debt in full. If the debt is not cleared you could be made bankrupt. Being made bankrupt is a serious matter. It will inhibit your ability to obtain credit, you will have to give up any assets/possessions of value and your interest in your home and your personal finances will be handed to a trustee, who will administer your estate. You will be liable for the costs of obtaining and administering the Bankruptcy Order and these can amount to several thousand pounds.

Charging Order

If Liability Orders have been granted for over £1,000 and you have a legal interest in a property, the Council can apply for a Charging Order against the property. The Council can then apply for the property to be sold to pay the debt. If this action is taken, substantial extra costs will be incurred.

Committal to Prison

The Council can apply, where appropriate, for Committal to Prison for up to 90 days and this will result in extra costs. If you receive a summons for a Committal to Prison hearing you must attend the Magistrates' Court. If you do not attend, a Warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Are you losing out?

To see if you are eligible for Council Tax Support register for a My Erewash account.