Dealing with your priority debts

Further action against you by the council

Once the council has got a liability order, there are a number of ways they can make you pay. Even if they have a liability order, it is not too late to try to make an arrangement to pay. Contact the council as soon as possible if you have not paid or come to a payment arrangement.

The council can demand that you and your husband, wife or partner give them details of your financial circumstances. You can be fined for not giving this information.

Deductions from wages

Extra advice:

what if I owe more than one year's council tax?

If you owe more than one year's council tax, you can have a maximum of two attachment of earnings orders. Normally payments are taken one at a time. If this will cause you hardship, you can ask the council to accept smaller voluntary payments instead. Explain to the council why you cannot afford the higher amount. The council does not have to agree to let you pay less but it is worth trying. If the council does not agree, contact a local advice centre, your local councillor or contact us for advice. ​

If you are employed, the council can order your employer to take a fixed amount from your wages to pay the council tax you owe. This is called an 'attachment of earnings order' and it can mean a large amount of your wages is taken and sent to the council. Deductions are made on a sliding scale depending on how much you earn.

Using bailiffs

Extra advice:

will the bailiff take my goods?

The bailiffs are not allowed to take certain basic household goods. They could clamp and posisbly remove your car if it is parked on your drive or nearby. If the bailiffs have not been into your home before, you can refuse them entry. Do not sign any papers the bailiffs may pass through your door. This information is based on changes to bailiff law from 6 April 2014. It is not yet clear how the new rules will be applied in practice. If a bailiff says they can come into your home even when they have not been in before, contact us for advice.

The council can ask bailiffs to visit your home and take goods which may be sold to pay off your debt. The bailiff must send you a notice at least seven days before they visit to take control of your goods.  This notice must give you information about what you owe under the liability order.



See our fact sheet:

Council tax recovery.