Advice for Council Tax Arrears
In order to avoid getting into arrears with your Council Tax it is advisable to contact the Council as early as possible if you have problems in making payment. You should contact the Customer Services team on 01264 368000 or visit our offices at Beech Hurst, Andover or Church Street, Romsey.
Q. When do I have to pay my Council Tax?
A. Your Council Tax is payable in monthly instalments (unless you have chosen to pay in a lump sum or half-yearly). The instalments are now normally due on the 1st of the month, so payments should reach your Council Tax account by that date. However, if you choose to pay by direct debit you have a choice of three dates, either the 1st of the month, the 15th or the 24th of the month.
Q. Why have you sent me a Reminder/Final Notice/Summons?
A. By law, we must send a reminder if your instalments are not up to date. If you do not bring them up to date within 7 days you lose the right to pay by instalments (unless you have agreed an arrangement with the Council). You will then be sent a summons and will have to pay court costs.
We do not have to send you a reminder each time you miss an instalment, as the law only requires us to send you a maximum of two in any financial year. So, if you receive two reminders in the year and after each one you bring your instalments up to date and you then fall behind again we will not send a reminder, we will send a Final Notice. This removes your right to pay by instalments and the full balance becomes due.
Once you have had a Final Notice, if you do not pay the full amount due for the rest of the year, you will be sent a Magistrates’ Court Summons. There is a charge for the issue of a summons which will be added to what you owe.
If you receive a summons and do not pay in full, including the summons costs, before the hearing, the Council will apply for a Liability Order. However, if you cannot pay the Council Tax and court costs in full please contact us as we may be able to agree a payment arrangement with you before the hearing, we will still ask the court for a Liability Order. If we obtain a Liability Order you will incur further costs which will be added to what you owe.
Once granted, a Liability Order gives us the right to have money deducted from people’s wages, Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance, or to use bailiffs.
If you want the Council to consider an offer of payment from you please complete and return our Income and Expenditure form, the link for this is at the bottom of the page. If you do make an arrangement and stick to it, you will avoid any further recovery action.
Q. What if I can’t pay the amount on the Reminder/Final Notice/Summons?
A. If you are having difficulty paying, please contact us at the Council Tax office and we will try to come to an arrangement for payment with you. We can also advise you of ways in which your Council Tax can be reduced.
Q. You have sent me a Summons and I want to make an arrangement to pay it off. Why do I still have to pay the costs?
A. By law, costs incurred by the Council in issuing a summons are required to be paid. Once a summons has been issued the Council will ask the Magistrates to grant a Liability Order unless the full amount including the costs is paid. Even if an arrangement is made, the Council will still obtain a liability order, but we will not take any of the actions which it allows us to take as long as you keep to the arrangement we have made with you.
Q. Why do I have more Council Tax to pay than my neighbour/friend/relative?
A. Because of the Data Protection Act, we cannot discuss someone else’s bill with you. However, there are a number of reasons why you may have different amounts to pay:
Your property’s band may be higher
They may be entitled to a discount, exemption or reduction for disabilities
They may be receiving Council Tax Support or Second Adult Rebate
They may have moved in part way through the financial year so they are not paying for the full year.