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

Additional information and support can also be found on the following pages:

Cost of Living Support Hub

Support Services - Budgeting

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