Council tax payment difficulties

If you're having difficulties paying your council tax bill then please get in touch with us to discuss a payment arrangement. We will try to accommodate any reasonable offer. Don't wait for a reminder or a summons to drop through your door.


Tel: 01695 577177


The Local Council Tax Discretionary Energy Support Scheme

The Council has allocated a budget of £260k for the financial year 2022-23 to assist all Council Taxpayers who are experiencing severe financial difficulties due to the on-going cost of living.

The following outlines the Councils approach to granting discretionary reductions in liability for Council Tax under S13A (1) (c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as amended). The Council has the ability to reduce the liability for Council Tax in relation to individual cases or class(es) of cases that it may determine where national discounts and exemptions cannot be applied.

Support available

All households who are liable for Council Tax may receive a reduction of up to £150 (subject to the overall level of their liability), where they can prove to the Council that they are experiencing severe financial difficulties due to the ongoing cost of living and/or due to the increases in energy costs.

Only one amount shall be granted per eligible taxpayer irrespective of the number of persons in the household.

Eligibility criteria

The effective date of this scheme is 1st April 2022.  To receive a reduction, you will need to complete an application form, showing that you met all the eligibility criteria stated below on that date.
  • The premises must be shown as a chargeable dwelling on the Borough Council's Council Tax Valuation list on 1stApril 2022;
  • The chargeable dwelling must be considered the taxpayers sole or main residence;
  • The taxpayer must be the liable person as defined by section 6 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992;
  • The dwelling must not be exempt from Council Tax;
  • The dwelling must not be occupied or deemed by the Council to be a second home;
  • The taxpayer must be liable for an amount of Council Tax on that date;
  • The Council Tax liable person will be required to make an application for discretionary relief and will need to provide evidence that they are;

(i) in receipt of Disability Benefits, pensions credits a means tested benefit including Income Support; Income Based Jobseekers Allowance; Income Related and Employment and Support Allowance; and contribution based employment and support allowance, Universal Credit; Housing Benefit; Council Tax Support; or working Tax Credit; or

(ii) on a low income and have capital of no more than £16,000; and/or

(iii) The household is experiencing severe financial hardship.


As funding available to the Council is limited, the Council reserve the right to amend or terminate the scheme where funding is exhausted.

In all cases, where an application is made, the Council may require evidence from the liable person to establish that the criteria is met in full. 

Any changes to the Valuation List (in terms of either the Council Tax band or the inclusion of a chargeable dwelling) after the effective date, including changes to backdated to this date, will be ignored for the purposes of eligibility.

Where a reduction has been awarded to the 2022-23 financial year and the Council is made aware that Council Tax liability ceased either on or before 31st March 2022, the reduction shall be reclaimed.

Where a reduction has been awarded under this scheme for the 2022-23 financial year, there shall be no reduction or increase in the amount awarded if the Council Tax liability increases or decreases on or after 1st April 2022, except where the liability is reduced to nil for the financial year, at which time the reduction shall be reclaimed.

The reduction shall be created directly to the taxpayers Council Tax account and will be used to reduce the Council Tax liability for the financial year 2022-23 only.  Where there is no Council Tax liability for 2022-23 no reduction shall be made.

In the case of persons who are jointly and severally liable for Council Tax on a chargeable dwelling, only one reduction shall be awarded.

How to apply

We are also receiving applications for consideration under the 'Household Support Fund' scheme, please visit webpage below where you can complete and submit an application form for both the Local Council Tax Discretionary Energy Support scheme and also the Household Support Scheme.

When the Council receives an application for a reduction in liability in accordance with the relevant policy, all applications will be treated on their individual merits.

Eligible taxpayers will be notified of the decision to apply any reduction as soon as possible after it had been made, and any award will be by means of a reduction being applied to the relevant Council Tax account.

Council Tax Privacy Notice

Data protection is important to us. Information on how we handle and protect your data including our Corporate Privacy Policy can be found here

What happens if I do not pay my council tax?

If you do not pay you will be sent a reminder. If your payments are arriving late, you will still receive a reminder. You must pay the amount on the reminder notice within seven days to bring your account up to date - and you should continue to pay on time otherwise you may lose the right to pay in instalments. If you receive a final notice then you will have lost the right to pay in instalments. If you do not pay the full amount or reach a satisfactory arrangement then a summons will be issued.

What happens if I do not pay after getting reminders?

If you fail to pay after receiving reminders then your name will be passed to the magistrate’s court and a summons for non-payment will be issued.

What happens when a summons has been issued?

Once a summons has been issued we will apply to the magistrate’s court for a liability order for the full amount owed. Court costs of £72.50 will also be added to your bill.

Do I have to go to court?

It is your right to appear in court if you have been summonsed. However, you do not have to attend court but the hearing will still go ahead and West Lancashire Borough Council will still request that £72.50 costs are awarded against you. If you choose to attend court it is advisable to contact us.

At the hearing the magistrate will ask you if you have a valid defence which would prevent a liability order being issued. A valid defence maybe as follows:

  • The bill has been paid in full
  • You were never issued the bill
  • You were never sent a reminder/final notice giving 7 days to pay
  • You were not sent the summons at least 7 days after the full balance was due to be paid

West Lancashire Borough Council only has to prove that notices were sent out to you. We do not have to prove that you received them. If there is no valid defence then the liability order will be granted by the magistrates.

What happens next?

Once the liability order has been issued by the courts it gives the local authority extra powers to recover outstanding council tax. We can:

  • demand information about your job and/or benefits
  • deduct money from your salary
  • deduct money from your Income Support /Jobseeker's Allowance /Employment Support Allowance/Universal Credit
  • deduct money from your allowance if you are an elected member of the council
  • use enforcement agents to take goods to sell to cover the amount you owe
  • ask for a "charging order" to be made against your property
  • make you bankrupt, or put a company into liquidation
  • apply for you to be sent to prison