You will be sent a Final Notice if you fail to pay a third instalment within a financial year. You will have already been sent a ‘reminder notice’ and a ‘second reminder notice’ earlier in the year.
If you receive a Final Notice your right to pay by instalments will be withdrawn and the total remaining Council Tax amount will be due and payable within 7 days.
If you fail to pay the total amount due a summons will be issued via the Magistrates’ Court and costs of £75.00 will be incurred.
If you respond to the Final Notice by just paying the equivalent of one monthly instalment, a court summons will still be issued for the remaining balance.
The Council will make complaint to the Magistrates’ Court that you have not paid as demanded and the summons will give you notice to appear at the Magistrates’ Court at a time and date specified. Costs of £75.00 are incurred on the day the summons is issued and will form part of the debt.
On the day of the hearing the Council will seek to obtain a Liability Order, which will allow us to take further steps to recover the debt if necessary. If you pay the full amount, including Court costs, prior to the Court hearing then the matter will proceed no further. Should the Council obtain a Liability Order further costs of £20.00 will be added to the debt.
Your attendance at the Court hearing is only required if you wish to dispute the granting of a Liability Order, if you choose not to attend then the hearing will proceed in your absence and the case will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
You have the right to attend the hearing and present your defence, however there are very few defences against the granting of the Liability Order and unless you have a valid defence for non-payment, Magistrates will have no option than to grant the Liability Order.
For information, the only defences that can be made against the granting of a Liability Order are
- no entry in valuation list for period of liability
- the tax has not been properly set
- the tax has not been demanded in accordance with the statutory regulations
- the amount demanded has been paid
- that more than six years have elapsed since the day on which the sum became due
- the sum is in respect of a penalty which is subject to an appeal
- that bankruptcy or winding up proceedings have been initiated
If you wish to clarify the validity of your defence then you are advised to seek advice from a solicitor or Citizens Advice Bureau.