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

If you receive a letter about unpaid Council Tax, do not ignore it – it will only make matters worse and the amount you owe may increase.


You pay your council tax by monthly instalments. The amount of each instalment and the date it must be paid by is shown on your bill. If you do not pay your instalment on the due date we will send you a reminder notice.

If the missed payment(s) are not then caught up within 7 days you will lose the right to pay monthly and the total remaining charge will become due. If, after receiving a reminder, you then bring your instalments up to date but subsequently fall behind again, a second reminder will be issued.

If you fall behind again, you will be issued with a final notice (not another reminder) and the whole remaining debt will then become due within 7 days. Failure to pay after receiving any of these notices will result in a complaint being made to the Magistrates Court for the issue of a summons. This can result in further recovery action being taken against you.

Sign up for our text message reminder service

You'll only get a text if we need to send you a reminder for an overdue amount of council tax.

The message will show as being from 'NPTCBC' and will give you a link to pay via our secure website.

Please note - although we will endeavour to send a text reminder, this should not be relied upon and you should always ensure that your council tax instalment is paid by the due date.


f you receive a summons you are required to pay the sum due, plus costs, straight away. If you do not pay the whole balance before the date of the hearing, the Council will apply to the Magistrates Court for a liability order.

You will have the option to make an arrangement to pay the outstanding amount, including the costs. The agreed payments must be made on time if further recovery action is to be prevented.

Further recovery action

If, following the liability order you do not contact us immediately to make an arrangement for payment, or you set up an arrangement but fail to maintain the agreed payments we will usually collect the amount you owe by:

  • attachment of earnings
  • attachment of benefits
  • using a firm of enforcement agents (previously known as bailiffs)

“Attachment” means we can ask whoever pays your salary, wages or benefits to deduct part of what you owe us before they pay you, until all the money you owe us is paid.

If we pass your account to the enforcement agents (previously known as bailiffs), they will charge you for visiting your property to collect the amount you owe. They also have the power to remove goods to sell at auction to recover the amount you owe.

We will however also consider the following options:

  • placing a charging order on your house
  • making you bankrupt