Instalments and arrears
Council Tax is a yearly charge normally paid in ten monthly instalments, starting in April. You can request to pay the charge over 12 instalments but you must contact us to request this. Your bill must be paid by the first of each month unless you choose to pay by Direct Debit. Your bill shows your payment dates and amounts. If you have previous years' arrears on your account it is particularly important that you pay the exact amount of the instalment otherwise the payment will be allocated to your arrears. It is important that payments are not late.
We collect Council Tax for the Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and must make monthly payments to these authorities from the Council Tax payments we receive. Council Tax must be paid monthly to avoid receiving a reminder or a summons. Block payments can be made, but must be paid in advance.
Missed or late payments
If you do not pay your Council Tax instalments in full and on time, you will be sent a reminder.
If your account has reached this stage, and you are having difficulty paying, it is important that you contact us. It may be that you should receive a Council Tax discount or should apply for Council Tax Support, and if you contact us you will be advised accordingly. It may also be possible to make a different payment arrangement.
The terms of a reminder are that you must bring your account up to date within seven days of receiving it. If, in a further seven days your account is still in arrears, you should pay the whole of the Council Tax remaining for the year and you lose your right to pay by instalments. Any further delay in payment will result in a court summons being issued. This means that the whole balance of your account becomes due immediately. If payment of the Reminder is made you can continue to pay monthly. As soon as the summons is issued, costs of £60 are added to your account.
If you pay in full, including the costs, nothing further will happen. The magistrates' court will be informed that you have paid and the case is automatically stopped. If any debt remains on your account on the hearing day, the case will go ahead. If you agree that you owe the amount due on the summons , there is no need for you to attend the Court. Please contact the Council to discuss a payment arrangement.
You only need to appear if you have a valid defence to put to the magistrates as to why you consider you are not liable. Please note the court is not able to take account of your financial situation or discuss payment with you.
In the vast majority of cases the magistrates' court will issue a Liability Order and an additional cost of £50 will be added to your account. The Council can now take formal recovery action to enforce payment.
We can use any or all (but only one at a time) of the following methods of recovery:-
- Attachment of benefit: deductions directly from Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Universal Credit or Guaranteed Pension Credit
- Attachment of earnings: an order will be served on your employer to deduct sums from your salary or wages and pay it directly to the Council
- Enforcement agents: who will write and call to enforce payment on you. If necessary, the enforcement agents will take control of your goods to the value of the debt outstanding, together with any further costs incurred including an immediate non-negotiable compliance fee of £75.
If these prove unsuccessful, we can apply for you to be declared bankrupt or committed to prison.
We will consider any proposals from defaulters who wish to make a payment arrangement and we will treat each case on its merits. However we will always attempt to recover the amount due within the current financial year and will usually protect our position in such cases by obtaining a Liability Order at the magistrates' court.
Full details of the Council's recovery procedures can be found in Council Tax and Business Rates Recovery Procedures.
If you are having difficulty making your payments of Council Tax please contact us as soon as possible.
Revenues, Castle House, Barracks Road, Newcastle, Staffs ST5 1BL
or Online form: Council Tax
you can obtain independent free advice and information from
Staffordshire North and Stoke Citizens Advice or on 03444 111 444
Aspire House Money Advice or on 01782 635200
National Debtline or 0808 808 4000
Money Advice Service or on 0300 500 5000
Other free advice is available.
Last updated 6 March 2019