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Cost of living support

Financial advice and emotional support on how you can ease the cost of living squeeze.

Recovery procedures explained

Information regarding what happens if you have not paid your council tax.


When do I have to pay my council tax?

What happens if I don't pay on time?

If you have had two reminders


What happens if I don't pay the amount on the final notice?

If you don't pay the amount due within seven days of being sent a final notice, a summons will be issued.

The summons notice

The summons will give you at least two weeks' notice that you are to appear before the Justices at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court. The summons will carry costs of £65. If you pay the amount in full, including the costs before the court hearing, the proceedings will be withdrawn.

If it goes to court

It is your right to appear in court and tell the magistrates why you feel you should not pay the council tax. However, the magistrates at the hearing will not be able to consider your failure to pay the council tax because you have not got the means to pay it, or any matter relating to your council tax liability.

There is a right of appeal available in respect of your council tax liability through a valuation tribunal; details can be obtained from the Council Tax section on 01799 510510. Details are also listed on the section of this website. You do not need to attend the hearing if you do not wish to do so as the matter can be dealt with in your absence.

At the court hearing the Council will apply for a liability order plus costs of £25, in addition to the summons costs of £65. If granted, the magistrates will have decided that you are liable to pay the council tax. The liability order enables the Council to recover the money in a number of ways.


Duty to supply information once a Liability Order has been granted

Can I pay the arrears by agreeing a payment plan?

What powers does the Council have to enforce the liability order?

What will happen when the Enforcement Agent calls at my home?

Prison - the last resort


What to think about at every stage

If you are having difficulty in paying your council tax, get in touch with the Council immediately. Remember we will always try to make a payment plan with you, but we will not agree to payments which leave you falling further behind into even more arrears.  You may be entitled to a reduction, benefits, discount, or relief.  Please visit our Local Council tax Support page.

Discuss or check your financial position with us to see if you may be entitled to a reduction in your council tax bill. If you are on a low income you may qualify for council tax benefit.

If you pay by Direct Debit, you save time, money and you do not run the risk of falling behind as payments are made for you by your bank or building society. You can select to pay on the 1st or 15th of the month, whichever suits you better:

If you wish to set up a Direct Debit, please contact us on 01799 510510. You can also get in touch with us using alternative methods via our contact us page.

If you have any queries regarding the Recovery Procedures, or you have received a notice from the Council please contact us. You can find details of how to contact us at the foot of this page.