A liability order gives us powers to recover the money you owe.

To request information

The person(s) named on the liability order must supply information to us regarding their employment and income details. It is a criminal offence not to supply this information once requested, or to give false information.

Attachment of earnings

The local authority may consider issuing an attachment of earnings order due to non-payment of Council Tax, a maximum of two attachment of earnings orders can be issued to a debtor which will take deductions directly from your earnings. 

You will receive a copy of the Court Order served to your employer. Please note we do not have to gain your permission to proceed with this action.

The deductions will be calculated as a percentage dependent on your earnings. For more information on the values please use our attachment of earnings calculator below.

Employers – for further information with regards to the administration of an attachment of earnings order please see our pdf guide for employers (183 KB) .

Attachment of earnings calculator


Attachment of earnings acknowledgement form

This must be completed by the employer of the person named in the order. 

View and complete the attachment of earning acknowledgement form.

To make deductions from benefits

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance or Pension Credits we may consider issuing an attachment of benefits order to the Departments of Work and Pensions for deductions to be taken directly from your ongoing benefit award.

Charging Order

We can apply to the County Court for a legal charge to be put on your property for the amount due. We will automatically receive the money, plus costs, when the property is sold.

Bankruptcy / Insolvency

We can start these proceedings against you through the County Court.

Taking control of goods to pay a debt

We employ Enforcement Agents (bailiffs) to collect the debt. More costs will be added to your debt. In some circumstances your goods may be removed and sold.

Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs)

Enforcement Agents are authorised with a certificate from the Courts. They are instructed to collect both Council Tax and Business Rates by the Council and act under a formal code of conduct. They make visits to properties to collect the unpaid Council Tax or Business Rates. They can accept payments in a wide range of forms including cash, bankers draft, credit cards etc. Where they do not receive payment they can remove goods which can be sold at public auction.

They can in certain circumstances take possession of goods but leave them on the premises while an arrangement is agreed and paid.

If your debt is passed to our Enforcement Agents then you will immediately incur a £75 fixed fee for each liability order passed to them. This fee has been set by The Ministry of Justice, not the council, and is non-negotiable.

Before an Enforcement Agent visits your property, you will receive at least one letter by post giving you the opportunity to agree a repayment plan with them  to avoid an Enforcement Agent visiting you. At this stage the £75 fixed fee is already in place on your account and will need to be included in the repayment plan.

Enforcement  Agent visits

If you do not contact the Enforcement Agents Office to agree a repayment plan, or you fail to pay the plan you agreed, then you will be visited at your home by an Enforcement Agent.  As soon as an agent is instructed to visit, a £235.00 fixed fee (plus 7.5% if the debt is over £1500) will be applied to the outstanding amount. This fee has been set by The Ministry of Justice, not the council, and is non-negotiable.  During the visit, you will be asked to make payment in full (including the £235.00 fee), enter into a controlled goods agreement or goods can be removed from your property.

Controlled goods agreement

You may be given the opportunity to set up a repayment plan by entering into a controlled goods agreement. This involves the Enforcement Agent making a list of your goods equal in value to the debt outstanding to secure the payment arrangement. You must not dispose of or sell any goods on the controlled goods agreement until your debt is paid in full.

Removal of goods

If you do not sign the controlled goods agreement, or you fail to pay the plan you agreed, then the Enforcement Agent can enter your property  and remove goods. There is an additional £110 fee (plus 7.5% for any balance over £1500) if goods are removed for sale. Goods that are removed will be sold at auction. If a debt still remains after this, then the Enforcement Agent will contact you and further enforcement action can take place. If the goods are sold for more than the outstanding debt, then the credit can be returned to you.

The Council instructs a company called Duke Bailiffs who can be contacted as follows:

Dukes Bailiffs Ltd,
Dukes Court
7/8 Newcastle street
ST15 8JT                              

Telephone: 01785 825500

Committal to prison

Unlike almost every other debt, you can be sent to prison for up to three months for not paying your council tax. Even if you have other debts where you are being pressed for payment, it is vital that you make payment of your council tax a priority.

If you have problems paying your council tax please contact us, we may be able to make a special arrangement with you.

You may be entitled to benefits - why not try our benefit calculator, visit our benefit web pages or contact our benefit section to see if there is anything you can claim.