You will normally receive your annual council
tax bill in March. It will tell you the amount you have to pay and
how that amount has been calculated. The bill will also show
your instalments and their due dates. Normally you will be offered
ten instalments, although that number will be reduced if the bill
is issued after the end of April. In most cases the payment free
months are Feb and March but consult your newest bill for your
instalments that are due.
For cash payers council tax instalments are due on the
7th of each month from April. Direct
debit payers can choose from the 1st,
5th, 15th or 25th of the
If you wish to pay by direct debit please contact us on 01553
What if the bill is wrong?
If you think the bill is wrong in any way you should
tell us immediately. You must continue to pay the amounts set
out in your original bill until you are sent a revised bill.
We aim to deal with your query within a week.
What if the amount I have to pay changes during the year?
If the amount of council tax you have to pay changes during
the year, you will be sent a revised bill. This will tell you
what the new amount for the year is, and what instalments you now
have to pay.
What if I have trouble paying the bill?
As soon as you realise you have a problem paying your bill you
should talk to us as you may be entitled to a reduction in your
bill, for example, through council tax benefit. Do not ignore
the bill completely, if you do not pay it we will take recovery
action, which could increase considerably the amount you have to
What if I don't pay?
If you miss a council tax instalment you may be issued with a
reminder notice at any time after the due date and such a notice
will request payment of any instalments due plus any instalments
due within a further 7 days of the notice date.
If you have already been issued with one reminder notice, in
any one financial year, which has been paid, and you again fail to
maintain your instalments you may be issued with a second reminder
If you have already been issued with a second reminder notice
and again fail to maintain your instalments, you may be issued with
a final notice. Such a notice will demand full payment of the
amount due to the end of the financial year.
Failure to comply with a reminder, second reminder or a final
notice will result in a summons being issued to you to pay the
full amount on your account immediately. If this happens, you will
be charged £70.00 costs for the issue of the summons.
Why have I been summonsed?
We have not received the amount on your bill and reminder
Do I have to attend the Magistrates' Court on the date
No, unless you dispute that the sum shown on your summons is
due from you, it is not necessary for you to attend the
Hearing. You have a legal right if you wish to do so but the court
will not consider any proposals for payment. The purpose of the
Hearing is to consider the actual liability for payment of the
council tax and not the ability to pay. If you do attend the
Hearing, please bring the summons with you.
What happens if I pay the full sum before the date I am due to
appear in court?
The court proceedings can be stopped by payment in full,
including the amount of the summons costs. We must receive
payment before the Hearing. If the costs are not paid we will still
apply for a liability order for the outstanding amount.
What do I do if I cannot afford to make payment in full?
If you cannot pay in full now, you should
contact Revenues Services at once giving full details of your
proposals for payment. The Hearing will still take place and
a liability order applied for. However, in appropriate cases,
further recovery action may be withheld if alternative payment
arrangements can be agreed. Costs may still be incurred and
any payment arrangement will be for the total amount including
all applicable costs.
What powers does a liability order give the Council?
If the court grants a liability order, the Council can demand
certain information from you about your employment and earnings to
help them decide how to recover the debt. You are legally required
to give the council this information and it may help you pay the
bill. The main methods of recovery are:
Attachment of earnings
We can order your employer to recover the amount direct
from your wages or salary and pay it straight to us. The
amount will be a set proportion of your pay after certain other
deductions (such as income tax and national insurance) - your
employer may also deduct a further £1 towards their costs in making
each deduction and sending it to us.
Deductions from income support or job seekers
If you are receiving income support, we may be able to apply
for deductions from your benefit.
We can employ Enforcement Agents to
recover the debt. The charges involved are set out in
legislation - they can be quite considerable and you will be held
liable for them. It is advisable to avoid matters reaching this
stage if you can. If you are unable to pay the outstanding
debt in full the enforcement agent can take control of
Other options for enforcement action include bankruptcy
proceedings, and, for a debt of £1000 or more, a charging order
whereby the authority may apply to a county court for a charge on
the debtor's property.
What if I am still unable to pay?
We may apply to the magistrates' court for a warrant
committing you to prison. We will only take this step when other
efforts have failed.
Before issuing a warrant of commitment the court must hold a
means enquiry with you present. A warrant will only be issued
if the court is satisfied that the failure to pay is the result of
wilful refusal or culpable neglect. The maximum period of
imprisonment is three months. The court may decide to fix a term of
imprisonment and postpone the warrant on certain conditions,
normally relating to payment of the debt over a period of
Telephone: 01553 616200
Finance & Resources Department
Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk
PO Box 26