Problems Paying?

Everyone has to pay Council Tax. You will pay it for the whole of the year, but when paying monthly you choose to pay it over 10 or 12 months starting from April.

If you’re having difficulty paying we may be able to come up with a payment plan you can afford. If you don't let us know that you are having problems making regular payments, you may incur further costs and charges which will have to be paid.

If you're having problems paying please contact us or visit the Tunbridge Wells Gateway on Grosvenor Road.

If you don’t pay you will be sent a reminder. If you pay within seven days of the reminder your Council Tax bill will continue as normal.

If you don’t pay after the reminder you will get a final notice and you will need to pay the full annual charge. 

Please view the 'Recovery Action' tab to see what further action may be taken against you to recover unpaid Council Tax.

Reminder

If you pay within seven days of the reminder your Council Tax bill will continue as normal.

Final Notice

If you receive two reminders in one financial year and don’t pay the next instalment on time you will lose your right to pay by instalments and will be sent a final notice.

If you receive a reminder and do not pay within seven days you will get a final notice.

A final notice will ask you to pay the whole balance in one lump sum.

Summons

If you get a summons you will have to pay extra costs. If you pay the amount you owe in full together with the costs before the court date the hearing will not go ahead. 

You can contact us before the hearing, to make a repayment plan. However the hearing will still go ahead and additional costs will be applied for as detailed below.

If you agree to a payment plan you must make the payments on time, otherwise we will have to take further action to collect the debt.

Court

If your case goes to court because you haven’t paid the full amount, the council will apply for a liability order, which will incur extra costs. The liability order means the council can recover the money you owe in a number of different ways.

We will try to accept any offer to repay any amount outstanding. However a liability order will continue to be applied for, which will incur extra costs, as security against you not making the payments.

If you agree to a payment plan you must make the payments on time, otherwise we will have to take further recovery action. 

Liability Order

If a liability order has been granted by the magistrates we will send you a letter to tell you.

The letter will request specific information which you must provide by law. It is a criminal offence not to supply this information or to supply information which is false.

The ways we enforce the liability order are:

  • An attachment to your earnings or to certain state benefits
  • Bailiff action
  • Commencing bankruptcy proceedings
  • Putting a charge on your property if you own your home
  • Application for your committal to prison
     

Bailiffs

The bailiff, employed by the council, may call at your home to make a list of goods. You should try to make a payment plan with the bailiff. If you fail to keep to the payment plan the bailiff could return later to remove and sell your goods. If bailiff action is taken, you will have to pay additional costs.

If the bailiff calls and you don’t have enough goods which can be removed, the bailiff will return the liability order to the council for further enforcement action. 

New enforcement rules came into effect from 6 April 2014. Bailiffs are now called Enforcement Agents.

There will be 2 fees they are able to charge:

  1. Compliance fee £75.00. This will be charged by the Enforcement Agents on receipt of a Liability Order from the council.
  2. Enforcement fee £235.00. This will be applied when the Enforcement Agent has attended the property for the 1st time.

Total fees that will be applied are £310.

If an arrangement is made, the bailiff will take the Compliance Fee of £75 with the first payment.

If the debtor does not respond to the first letter an Enforcement Agency sends, the Enforcement Agent will attend the debtors address to take control of goods. This is when an additional £235 will be payable.

The Enforcement Agent can take control of debtor’s goods if they are located on a highway, or on premises that he has a power to enter. The Enforcement Agent may enter premises without a warrant in order to search for and take control of goods where he believes it is the place where the debtor usually lives or carries on a trade or business.

To avoid having to pay additional costs, please contact the council before your account gets to this stage.

Prison

If all other options fail, a summons may be issued for you to attend Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court for a committal hearing.

If the outcome of this hearing considers you should have paid your Council Tax, a warrant of commitment may be issued, which will mean you have to go to prison for up to three months. Again, this will mean you have to pay extra costs.

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