Paying your council tax
Non-payment of council tax
Council tax is due and payable as outlined on your council tax bill. Payment starts in April, then continues each month, totalling 10 monthly instalments. The payment date for LB Bromley is the first of each month. If you have not received a bill then please contact us so that a replacement can be sent to you. If we do not receive payments by regular monthly instalments as stated on the bill then we will begin action to recover the missed monthly instalments.
If you receive a reminder
If you receive a reminder you must pay the amount requested within 7 days from the date the reminder notice was issued. If you do not comply, you will lose the right to pay by monthly instalments and we will issue a summons for the full outstanding balance.
If you are having difficulty in paying then please contact us.
If the first reminder amount is paid and your account falls into arrears again, a second reminder will be issued.
If you receive a summons
If the full amount requested in the reminder is not paid on time we will take further action to recover the money outstanding. This will be in the form of a summons to attend the Magistrates Court on a particular date.
The summons will tell you the amount that is due to be settled, the period of liability it relates to and the date of the hearing.
If a summons is issued then you will incur costs of £101.50
If you are unable to pay the full amount, including court costs before the hearing date then it is in your interest to contact us and we will discuss a mutual arrangement to clear the outstanding balance.
If you contact us before the hearing date and make an agreement then there will be no need for you to attend court.
You can attend court on the date and time shown on your summons if you believe the council's actions are inappropriate and you wish to defend the application for a liability order. Otherwise we recommend that you contact the council direct to resolve any problems you may have. At the Magistrates Court you will be met by officers from the council tax department where you can discuss payment and any other concerns you may have. If this does not resolve the matter, you can put your case to the magistrate.
At the court hearing the council's Court Officer will ask the Magistrate to issue a liability order against you. This will be done even if you are not present. The liability order will be held by the council and allowed to lapse as long as payment or contact has been made with us.
If a liability order is issued then further costs of £25.00 will be incurred.
A liability order gives the council legal powers to recover outstanding council tax you owe. These powers include:
- Request for financial information: the individual named on the liability order must supply information regarding their employment and income details. It is a criminal offence not to supply this information or to give false information.
- Attachment of earnings: the council can instruct your employer to make compulsory deductions from your earnings and pay this to the council. The level of deductions will depend on how much you earn.
- Attachment of benefit: the council can instruct the benefit agency to make deductions straight from your income support and send it direct to the council.
- Removal of your goods (distress): we can instruct our bailiff to collect the outstanding debt. The bailiff will contact you to arrange payment. If payment is not made the bailiff can seize your goods. These will be sold at auction to clear your outstanding council tax bill.
- Bankruptcy: the council can start proceedings for bankruptcy to recover outstanding council tax. This can affect your credit rating and, if a trustee is appointed who can sell your assets, this can include your home.
- Charging order: the council can apply to the Courts for a legal charge to be put on your property for the outstanding council tax. When your property is sold the council will automatically receive the money owed.
- Committal to prison: in some cases where there is deliberate refusal or culpable neglect, the magistrates have the authority to commit you to prison for a maximum of 90 days for non-payment.
- Quashing of liability orders: a local authority will be able to apply to the magistrates court to get a liability order quashed if it should not have been made in the first place; for example, if payments had been made but not correctly credited to the account and if this led to the arrears. If the court decides that the liability order should have been for a smaller amount then the original order can be quashed and a new liability order made for a smaller amount plus the costs of obtaining the original liability order.
Debt recovery policy
This document outlines the Bromley Council debt recovery policy.