If you don’t pay off your council tax debt we will apply for a liability order to recover the debt. This means they might be able to take action to get the money you owe. There are several ways we can recover the money you owe.

Attachment of earnings

If you are working, we will ask your employer to take a percentage of your earnings and pay it directly to us. The amount we can take from your pay will be between 3 percent and 50 percent depending on how much you earn.

Your employer must put the attachment of earnings in place and may be prosecuted if they don’t. They can add £1.00 for each deduction made to cover their costs.

We can serve a maximum of 2 attachments at any time.

Attachment of benefits

We can ask the Department for Work and Pensions to take an amount from your benefit and pay it directly to us. They can take this from:

  • employment support allowance
  • universal credit
  • income support
  • job seekers allowance
  • pension credit

We can’t take any money from retirement or disability pensions.

Enforcement agents

If we pass your debt to enforcement agents, you need to contact them to discuss payment on the debt.  


We can start bankruptcy proceedings against you if enforcement action has failed.

If we must take this action, you may have to pay significant costs. If you are made bankrupt your property may be sold to pay the costs.

If you go bankrupt it will affect your credit file. You may find it difficult to get:

  • credit
  • loans
  • a mortgage

Charging order

If you own property and you owe more than £1000, we may consider placing a charge on your property. Added costs may mean you have to sell the property to settle your debt.


If all other options to recover the debt have failed, we will ask the Magistrate to issue a summons. You will have to attend a committal hearing. The court could impose a prison sentence of up to 90 days if they determine:

  • that you are able to pay
  • you have refused to pay

If you are able to pay something, even if it is not the full amount, please make a payment now.

  Make a council tax payment