Q Why have you sent you sent me a reminder?
A Our records show you have not paid the instalments as requested on you bill.
Q I cannot afford to pay the amount required to bring my instalments up to date-what should I do?
A Please contact us immediately, as it may be possible to make alternative arrangements for you to pay.
Q Why have you sent me a final notice?
A You have already had at least one reminder notice and have fallen behind again. This means that the full amount outstanding for the year is due; or the amount outstanding is in respect of a previous financial year.
Q How can I be sure that my instalments are paid on time in future?
A Pay by Direct Debit. Contact us and join the majority of taxpayers who already pay this way.
Q Why have you sent me a summons for the whole year when I have until March to pay?
A You have the right to pay by instalments (usually April - January) but if you do not pay every month, and a summons is issued, you lose that right and the full amount outstanding for the year becomes payable immediately.
Q Why have I incurred costs when I am unable to pay my original debt?
A Costs cover the extra expenses the Council has incurred, such as correspondence, postage and costs payable to the Magistrates Court.
Q What will happen if I do not pay the amount on the summons?
A The Council will apply to the Magistrates Court for a liability order.
Q I have received a summons. Do I have to attend the court hearing?
A Few people actually attend on the day. Many will have paid in full and a good majority of the rest will have contacted the Council beforehand to agree an arrangement for payment. It is however your right to attend. If you want to oppose the application then please warn us in advance so we have full details of your account available. You should bear in mind that the Magistrates cannot discuss matters concerning discounts, benefits, bandings or transitional relief. These are all matters which must firstly be taken up with the Council.
Q What powers does a liability order give to the Council?
A The Council can try to obtain payment by:
- instructing bailiffs
- commencing bankruptcy proceedings
- attachment to your earnings
- deductions from your income support/jobseekers allowance
- requesting information from you concerning your personal circumstances
- charging orders
Q What if I still do not pay?
A The Council can apply to the Court for your committal to prison.
Q I can not pay in full, but can afford to pay something every week or month. Can I do this?
A Yes, possibly. If you are unable to pay any amount requested from you at any time please contact us immediately. We are always willing to listen, and after considering your financial circumstances, will try to come to a mutually acceptable payment arrangement.
For independent advice contact Citizens Advice Bureau