Liability order issued
Once a liability order has been issued, we have various options we can use to recover money you owe us.
Financial information forms
Once the court has issued a liability order you are legally obliged to provide us with details of your finances. You must complete the financial questionnaire online unless we already have your details or we have agreed a payment arrangement.
You must complete and return this form within 14 days. If you do not or if you provide false information you could receive a fine and you may end up with a criminal record.
If you’re having any problems completing the form or are unable to complete it in time then please let us know.
Attachment of earnings and attachment of benefits orders
An “attachment” is when we send your employer or the Department of Work and Pensions an order to have money taken from your pay or benefits. After the attachments are set up, we will only cancel them if you can prove they are causing you severe financial difficulties.
If you are experiencing severe financial difficulties you must send us copies of documents showing your income and outgoings. The documents must include
- bank statements
- mortgage statements if you have a mortgage
You will need to show that after you have paid your essential bills the attachments will mean that you do not have enough money left to live on. If we agree that the attachments would cause you to have severe financial difficulties then we will make other arrangements.
We can send enforcement agents (formerly known as bailiffs) to your home to seize property to raise money towards paying your Council Tax debt and our recovery costs.
We will only use them if you ignore all our attempts to contact you and there is no other way for us to collect the outstanding money.
At least 14 days before we send your Council Tax debt to an enforcement agency, we will send you a letter asking you to contact us or pay the bill in full.
You will have to pay an initial fee of £75 per liability order if we send your account to enforcement agents.
In most cases we will not become involved in payment negotiations and you must contact the enforcement agents directly. At this stage, you have no right to insist on a payment arrangement but an enforcement agency may agree to one in exceptional circumstances.
Enforcement agencies used by us
The agents employed hold a court certificate and trained to behave in a professional manner. They must always carry their identity card when working.
We use the below companies:
Telephone 0333 320 2151
Telephone queries: 0345 601 2692
Telephone payment: 0330 008 0430
If you are unsure if an enforcement officer is working on our behalf, you can call us on 01903 737546 to confirm.
If your Council Tax debt is £1,000 or greater and you own your own home, we can ask the court for a charging order.
A charging order on your property means that when the house is sold the Council Tax debt and any legal costs are paid before any of the proceeds of the sale are given to you.
If no attempt to pay the debt or keep future payments up to date is made once a charging order has been given then we can request a Force of Sale which mean further charges added to the debt and you could lose your home.
If you owe Council Tax of £5,000 or more, we may decide to take bankruptcy action against you. If we do, we will write to you first with details of your debt and explain how bankruptcy will affect you.
The consequences of bankruptcy can be severe. The Insolvency Service has information and advice about being made bankrupt.