Recovering unpaid Council Tax

We are receiving a large number of emails and telephone enquiries. In the first instance please login to or register for MyServices which will give you online access to your Council Tax, Benefits and Business Rates Accounts. Most changes to demand notices can be seen immediately online, whereas the issue of paper bills may be delayed depending on staff resources and mail availability.

 

View your Council Tax account online using 'My Services'. Find out more about the 'My Services' account

Difficulty paying

Contact us as soon as you realise you have a problem paying your Council Tax. You may be able to get a Council Tax discount or Council Tax Support.

Do not ignore the bill or any reminders about payment you may receive. If you do not pay the instalments due and fail to discuss the situation with us, we may take recovery action that could considerably increase the amount you have to pay.

Unpaid Council Tax bills

A summons will be sent to you asking you to *appear before the magistrates court if:

  1. You have been sent a first reminder, and you have not made full payment on or before the date stated on the reminder, or
  2. You have been sent a final notice and the requested amount has not been paid on time

If a summons is sent, you will have to pay an additional £41 in court costs. If your payment in full (including £41) is received and cleared by the council before the date of the court hearing, we will withdraw our application.

*If you wish to attend the court hearing because you are disputing liability you MUST arrange an appointment in advance, even though the summons sets a date to attend.  

If you do not arrange an appointment , you will be refused entry at Leicester Magistrates Court.    This is due to Covid-19 restrictions to maintain social distancing.

 

To avoid attending court

If you do not have a valid defence,  you can:

  • Pay in full online at  www.harborough.gov.uk or call 01858 828282
  • Phone 01858 828282 to discuss a repayment agreement of the outstanding balance
  • If you have a dispute against liability , you can also call us on  01858 828282 to resolve.

Court Attendance

If you dispute the liability, you can do so for two reasons:

  1. You paid your Council Tax in full before the issue of the summons
  2. You have been billed incorrectly e.g. you are not the liable person.  (This does not include the fact that you are querying entitlement to Council Tax Support)

 

If you wish to attend the hearing you MUST call us on 01455 265450 (option 1) to book an appointment in advance. If you have an appointment, we will send confirmation of the appointment which must be shown when attending court. If you do not have an appointment or the confirmation available you will not be able to attend.

 

If we can, we will try to resolve the matter with you ahead of the hearing :

  • We may agree to adjourn the hearing while we look at your case
  • If we can’t help, we will  arrange for a specific time for the magistrates to hear your defence

Please be aware that if payment is not received in full before the court date we will ask the magistrates to grant a liability order, which will cost you an additional £17. Once the Liability Order is granted by the court, it allows the council to pursue your debt through various different means such as:

  • An attachment of earnings order may be sent to your employer to pay through your wages
  • An attachment of benefits order may be sent to the Department of Work & Pensions if you claim benefits so we can take some of your entitlement.
  • A referral to Marstons or Jacobs (our enforcement agents) for distraint (the seizure of someone's goods in order to obtain payment of money)
  • Committal to prison
  • Petition to the court for a declaration of bankruptcy
  • Application for a charging order. The Order will be secured against the same property on which the liability order has already been obtained for the outstanding debt.

 

 

Enforcement agents (bailiffs)

When we ask enforcement agents to collect a debt on our behalf, the information about the case is sent to an external enforcement company. For each stage of action taken by the enforcement agents a specific fee is added to the debtor’s bill. The stages are:

  • Stage 1 (Compliance) - £75 fee added to the debt 
  • Stage 2 (Enforcement) - £235 plus 7.5% on debts greater than £1500
  • Stage 3 (Removal of goods) - £110 plus 7.5% on debts greater than £1500