What happens if I don't pay my Council Tax?

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  1. What happens if I don't pay my Council Tax?
  1. I have received notice of an enforcement action for non-payment of Council Tax

We are committed to helping people to pay their council tax bills. This includes:

  • maximising take up of Council Tax support / reduction
  • providing accurate bills as soon as possible
  • helping people to make affordable payment arrangements based on their means

Make a claim for Council Tax support

Council Tax - Problems paying your bill?

Join over 80,000 other Coventry residents and pay your council tax by direct debit.

You will need your council tax customer reference number, your bank's sort code and your bank account number.

I am having difficulty in making payments - what should I do?

It is vital that you contact us to discuss the situation straight away.

You may be entitled to a discount / exemption or Council Tax support which may help to reduce the amount you have to pay. 

What will happen if I do not make the requested payments?

If you do not pay as detailed on your bill then the council will have no alternative but to issue further documentation and take recovery proceedings against you. We will issue one of the following notices:

  • reminder
  • final notice
  • summons

If you haven't brought your account up to date, we will issue a summons and costs of £78.50 will be added to your account. Three weeks after the issue of the summons if there is still a balance outstanding, the council will apply for a liability order at Coventry Magistrates Court. 

The recovery process

The powers for recovery are contained within the Council Tax (Administration & Enforcement) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992 No. 613, as amended).  

First reminder

A reminder notice is issued in cases where we have not received instalments by the due date. The reminder will include any instalment(s) that have not been paid and any instalment(s) due within the next 7 days, from the date of issue of the reminder. 

If the account is not brought up to date, the right to pay by instalments is withdrawn and a Magistrates court summons will be issued.

If you have paid the amount within 7 days of the reminder you do not need to take any action.

If you are unable to make the payment shown on the reminder then you should contact us, to discuss an alternative payment arrangement.

Second reminder

A second failure to pay will result in the issue of a second reminder. Again, this notice will include any instalment(s) that have not been paid and any instalment(s) due within the next 7 days.

If the account is not brought up to date, the right to pay by instalments is withdrawn and a Magistrates court summons will be issued.

If you have paid the amount within 7 days of the reminder you do not need to take any action.

If you are unable to make the payment shown on the reminder then you should contact us, to discuss an alternative payment arrangement.

Final Notice

A third failure to pay will result in the issue of a final notice. The issue of a final notice means that the right to pay by instalments has been withdrawn and the full charge needs to be paid within 7 days. Failure to pay the balance will result in the issue of a Magistrates court summons.

A final notice will also be issued for accounts where there is no right to pay by instalments, as the amount payable was previously requested on the council tax bill in one lump sum. 

If you are unable to pay the balance in full as shown on the final notice then you should contact us, to discuss an alternative payment arrangement.

Summons

If payment has not been received in accordance with the reminder, second reminder and / or final notice then a summons is issued.

If the council tax account is in joint names, each liable person will be issued with a separate summons. If payment (including the £78.50 summons costs) is received in full before the summons hearing takes place no further action will be taken.

If you are unable to make payment in full then you should contact us, to discuss an alternative payment arrangement.

Before we agree a payment arrangement with you, we will ask some questions. Such as:

  • Your employer
  • How much you earn
  • The address of your workplace
  • Information about anyone else named on your council tax bill

We will ask you to make an immediate payment to help reduce the amount you owe, so please have your credit or debit card details to hand.

We will still ask the court for a liability order to be granted but no further action will be taken, as long as you pay as agreed.

If you find that you are unable to maintain your arrangement you must contact us straight away.

What happens if you attend court

The summons directs you to attend a hearing at Coventry Magistrates Court, Little Park Street, Coventry CV1 2SQ.

However, you do not need to attend court if you pay the full amount owing including costs before the hearing date.

If you do attend court, you will be interviewed by a member of our staff at our helpdesk who will:

  • agree a payment arrangement with you
  • take note of any queries that you may have about your bill or payments and advise you on what to do next

Everyone has the right to appear before the court in person if they choose, but few do so. This is because the magistrate cannot consider:

  • whether you have been billed for the correct period
  • whether you should have had a discount, exemption or disabled person reduction
  • whether you can afford to pay
  • whether you have been given the right amount of council tax support / reduction

Make a payment

  • Pay online. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Solo, Visa Delta, Visa Electron or Maestro cards.
  • You can also pay using our 24 hour payment line on 024 7678 7778.

Contact us

Email - counciltax@coventry.gov.uk. Please ensure that you include the following information in the body of your email:

  • your full name
  • your full address
  • the address your enquiry relates to (if different from the above)
  • your council tax account number

If your email does not contain the required personal information we may need to contact you to request this before we provide a response to your enquiry.

Telephone - 024 7683 1111, our opening hours are 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

Council Tax

Open 9am–5pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays)

Email: counciltax@coventry.gov.uk

Tel: 024 7683 1111

Visit: http://www.coventry.gov.uk/myaccount

If you do need to call us,
please try to avoid our busiest times
of lunchtime and early afternoon.

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