Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
In line with social distancing advice and to protect residents and staff the Council has taken the decision to close the Council offices to the public until further notice.
Whilst the offices are closed to visitors, you are still able to access services and information from this website 24/7.
Information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to access Council Services during this period can be found on our Coronavirus information page
We ask that all residents #StayHomeSaveLives – see a Message from the Leader of the Council
Council Tax Enforcement FAQ's
- What happens if I don't turn up for a Means Enquiry Summons Hearing?
- What happens after the Means Enquiry Summons Hearing?
- What happens at Court when I attend for a Means Enquiry Summons Hearing?
- What is a Means Enquiry Summons?
- What is a Liability Order?
- I have lots of debts - I can't pay them all.
- What happens at Court regarding my Summons/Liability Order Hearing?
- I didn't receive a Final Reminder; does that mean the Summons is wrong?
- If I bring my instalments up to date do I still need to pay the Summons costs?
- I have received a Summons but the person on the Summons has moved.
- Do I get a CCJ (County Court Judgement) following a Council Tax Summons?
- Do I need to attend Court following a Council Tax Summons?
There are normally three Magistrates and one Legal Advisor. The Prosecutor for the Council will explain to the Justices how the debt arose, the period it covers and detail any payments made. The Court will then require you to explain why you didn't pay.
A Liability Order legally allows the Authority to recover Council Tax from an individual by various methods. These include:
- Deductions from your Earnings or Benefits, this is known as an Attachment.
- Enforcement Agent action.
- A Charging Order (settlement from the sale of) placed on your property.
- Committal to Prison.
We may also consider the instigation of Bankruptcy proceedings.
Any charge placed on you home - a mortgage or secured loan, fines, payment to CSA and Council Tax are preferential debts. Any unsecured loan or HP payment should not take priority over these. You may need to renegotiate your payments with the unsecured creditors to increase your offer of payment to us. Council Tax is the only debt you could end up going to prison for not paying.
If you would like to discuss the possibilities regarding a repayment arrangement you can visit our offices st Kiln Road, Benfleet where you can see one of our officers who will be happy to help you.
We are open to the public between 9am and 5.15pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4.45pm on a Friday.
Further free debt advice is available from:
The Citizens' Advice Bureau at www.citizensadvice.org.uk;
Peabody (formerly Family Mosaic) by telephoning 01268 498500 or visiting www.peabody.org.uk/home
Stepchange at www.stepchange.org/
No. Our system produces a Final reminder prior to a Summons. The Council are required to present proof in Court that documents have been despatched as required in the regulations. The Justices accept the proof of postage provided. We have to assume that if a document is not returned by the Royal Mail endorsed 'gone away' etc. that it has been delivered correctly.
The issue of a Summons cancels your right to pay by instalments, the whole amount becomes immediately due and costs are automatically incurred.
You will need to consider how you propose to pay the amount. The Council may enter into a special payment arrangement with you, which then allows you to pay by a special instalments scheme. This will include costs of £97.00.
An Income and Expenditure form.pdf [pdf] 17KB needs to be completed and sent to us before an arrangement can be considered.
If you know their forwarding address, please supply us with this new address by e-mailing us on email@example.com or by telephoning 01268 882298. Please then return the document to us marked 'no longer at this address'.
If you agree the balance on the Summons is correct, but you are unable to pay the amount in full there is no need to attend Court - we may be able to come to a repayment arrangement. Please note however, if you dispute the Summons we would advise you to attend Court to represent your own views.