Having difficulty paying Council Tax?

If you are having problems paying your council bills, you should let us know as soon as possible.

We are sympathetic to circumstances of genuine hardship and we will work with you to put arrangements in place that will take your financial circumstances into account. Please remember that Council Tax is a priority debt and should be paid before other non-priority debts.

As soon as you realise you are struggling to pay, contact us on 01302 734454 and we'll see what we can do. Ignoring the situation will only make it worse.

Do you qualify for a reduction or exemption? 

Additional support

If you're on a low wage or receiving benefits, you may qualify for additional support. Visit: 

Depending on the circumstances on your account and the remaining time in the financial year, we may be able to help by allowing you to:

  • pay over 12 months from April to March instead of 10
  • pay by monthly Direct Debit. You can choose to pay on either the 1st, 7th, 15th or 25th of the month
  • make special payment arrangements. You will need to provide information about your household income, expenditure and your current employment.
  • renegotiate payments on any arrears to keep current year up to date, as this will avoid further costs and recovery action

If you have wider debt problems, get some advice now.

Make an offer of payment now. Tell us how much you earn and what your household commitments are and we may be able to agree payment terms, which take into account your financial circumstances. Please note, certain arrangements will be subject to the addition of costs but this will be avoided where possible. Council Tax staff are trained to deal with customers with financial difficulty and will treat you with courtesy and respect.

What happens if I don't pay?

If you do not contact us, and do not make payment, action will be taken to recover any money outstanding. This will involve the issue of a reminder and summons and the addition of costs. Further non payment can result in the use of Enforcement Agents (formerly known as bailiffs), an attachment to your earnings and certain benefits, an application for bankruptcy or a charging order on your home, and ultimately committal to prison.

I have received a Council Tax reminder

Why has this been sent to me?

If you have not paid your Council Tax by the due date shown on the Council Tax bill, a reminder will be sent. The purpose of the reminder is to inform you that your account must be brought up to date. Information on the reminder will also tell you about the actions which can be taken if the outstanding balance is not paid. If this is the third time in a year that you have received a reminder you will not be able to carry on paying by instalments and the remaining balance for the year must be paid in full.

What do I do now?

  • If you have paid the outstanding amount since the date of issue shown on the reminder you need take no further action
  •  You may be able to set up a direct debit, this is the most convenient way to pay your Council Tax and you can choose to pay over 10 or 12 months on the 1st, 7th, 15th or 25th. You can arrange to do this over the telephone.
  •  If you think you have already paid the amount by debit card, cheque, by Direct Debit or Standing Order, please check that the amount has been taken out of your bank account. If your payment has been sent please contact us on 01302 734454 with the details of how and when you made your payment and the account information. If you have paid by cash you will need to provide a receipt as proof of payment.
  •  Pay your outstanding balance in any of the following ways:

 By debit card over the phone or internet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0845 1305910 or at www.doncaster.gov.uk, simply look for, Pay for it, then select Council Tax and follow the instructions

 You can pay by cash or Debit card at any Post Office at no additional cost using the bar code on the correspondence.

 The bar code on any correspondence sent to you allows you to pay cash at any outlet where you see the paypoint sign. To find your nearest paypoint locations visit the Paypoint website. There is no cost for using this service.

 By cheque, made payable to Doncaster MBC.

 Please put your Council Tax account number on the back of the cheque and send your payment to:

The Chief Financial Officer
PO Box 443
Doncaster, DN1 1GG

Please note, a payment shows on your Council Tax account when the Council receives it. You should take this into account especially if you have paid by cheque, by Standing Order, at the Post Office or via paypoint.

What happens if I have an outstanding claim for Local Council Tax Support?

You still need to pay your current instalments while your claim is being considered. This is because your claim may not be successful. If you would like to check the progress of your claim please contact the Benefits office in the first instance on 01302 735336.

What should I do if I can`t pay?

  • Contact us at the earliest opportunity. Don`t wait until you receive a Summons to court, as this will add additional costs to your account. You may be able to pay over a longer period and at different intervals without the need for further action.
  •  If specific payment terms can`t be agreed then recovery action will continue. This means that a Summons and Liability Order will be obtained. This allows the council to take further action in the future if payments are not made or if you default on any agreement to pay including costs. If further action is necessary, as long as you keep in contact, Council Tax staff will work with you to find a solution and will treat you with courtesy and respect at all times.
  •  Please provide information about your income and expenditure. This helps Council Tax staff to make a payment arrangement that takes into account your ability to pay. Have you considered claiming Local Council Tax Support if you are on a low income? If you would like an estimate of how much housing benefit you might qualify for, please use one of the government`s recommended benefit calculators.
  •  It is in your best interests to keep in contact and adhere to any arrangement you have been given. You should be aware that once a summons and Liability order have been obtained, if it then becomes necessary to pass your account to an Enforcement Agent for further action, the following costs would be added to your account. It is therefore in your interests to make contact as early as possible:

  a) Notice of Enforcement (instruction to take action) £75.00 per Liability Order

  b) First visit by an Enforcement Agent – fixed fee of £235.00 plus 7.5% of any balance owed over £1,500.00

  c) Sale and removal of goods – fixed fee of £110.00 plus 7.5% of any balance owed over £1,500.00 plus reasonable storage and auctioneers fees.

What will happen if I don`t pay?

Doncaster Council is committed to helping Taxpayers in genuine financial difficulty but will pursue those who refuse to pay. Further action can include deducting amounts from your earnings or a visit from an Enforcement Agent. Don’t let this happen to you, contact Council Tax now on 01302 734454.

I have received a Council Tax Summons 

Why has this been sent to me?

You will have received a Council Tax Summons if you have not paid your Council Tax by the due date shown on your Council Tax bill. Before receiving a Council Tax Summons, you will have already received a Council Tax reminder, informing you to bring your account up to date. Doncaster Council must send you a Summons as your account is still overdue, and to inform you that further action will be taken to collect the outstanding amount. Summons costs will be added to the amount you owe.

What do I do now?

  • If you have paid the outstanding amount in full including the costs since the date of issue shown on the Summons you need take no further action
  • You may be able to set up a direct debit and have the Summons and the costs cancelled. This does depend on how much you owe, your previous payment history and the month in which the Summons has been issued. Direct Debit is the most convenient way to pay your Council Tax and you can choose to pay over 10 or 12 months on the 1st, 7th, 15th or 25th. You can arrange to do this over the telephone.
  • If you think you have already paid the amount by debit card, cheque, by Direct Debit or Standing Order, please check that the amount has been taken out of your bank account. If your payment has been sent please contact us on 01302 734454 with the details of how and when you made your payment and the account information. If you have paid by cash you will need to provide a receipt as proof of payment.
  • Pay your outstanding balance in any of the following ways:

By debit card over the phone or internet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0845 1305910 or at www.doncaster.gov.uk, simply look for, Pay for it, then select Council Tax and follow the instructions.

 You can pay by cash or Debit card at any Post Office at no additional cost using the bar code on the correspondence.

The bar code on any correspondence sent to you allows you to pay cash at any outlet where you see the paypoint sign. To find your nearest paypoint locations visit the Paypoint website. There is no cost for using this service.

By cheque, made payable to;

Doncaster MBC.

Please put your Council Tax account number on the back of the cheque and send your payment to: The Chief Financial Officer PO Box 443 Doncaster, DN1 1GG Please note, a payment shows on your Council Tax account when the Council receives it. You should take this into account especially if you have paid by cheque, by Standing Order, at the Post Office or via paypoint.

What happens if I have an outstanding claim for Local Council Tax Support?

You still need to pay your current instalments while your claim is being considered. This is because your claim may not be successful. If you would like to check the progress of your claim please contact the Benefits office in the first instance on 01302 735336.

Do I have to attend Court?

No. Contact Council Tax first on 01302 734454. A member of staff will discuss your options with you, or rectify any problems if you feel your Council Tax is wrong

You should attend Court only if you wish to speak to a Magistrate and have a valid defence against a Liability Order. For further information about this please see the Fact Sheet – Defences against a Liability Order 

What should I do if I can`t pay?

  • Contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss your options. You may be able to make a payment arrangement including Summons and Liability Order costs at a frequency that suits your needs and over a longer period of time.

 Doncaster Council will still apply for a Liability Order. This allows the Council to take further action in the future if payments are not made or you default on any agreement to pay your Council Tax including the costs.

 If specific payment terms can`t be agreed then recovery action will continue. This means that the following options may be used to clear your debts once a Liability Order has been obtained:

 Automatic deduction from your earnings

Automatic deductions from certain types of benefits

A visit by an enforcement Agent who can seize certain goods that you own and sell them at auction. Please note substantial costs will be incurred for any Enforcement Agent visit.

An application for bankruptcy or liquidation

An application for your committal to prison if you refuse to pay or make no attempts to resolve the issue with a member of staff.

 You must complete an Income and Expenditure Form. This will be sent to you once the Liability Order has been obtained. Your income and expenditure is needed to help the Council Tax staff to make a payment arrangement that takes into account your ability to pay.

 It is a criminal offence not to provide this information at that point. You can provide these details in advance of the court date if you wish, by going to doncaster.gov.uk, simply go to Council Tax, Are you having difficulty paying? You can then print off a copy of this form at any time. Council Tax staff will always work with you to find the best solution to pay what you owe.

 Have you considered claiming Local Council Tax Support if you are on a low income? If you would like an estimate of how much housing benefit you might qualify for, please use one of the government`s recommended benefit calculators

 It is in your best interests to keep in contact and adhere to any arrangement you have been given. You should be aware that once a Summons and Liability Order have been obtained, if it then becomes necessary to pass your account to an Enforcement Agent for further action, the following costs would be added to your account. It is therefore in your interests to make contact as early as possible:

a)  Notice of Enforcement (instruction to take action) £75.00 per Liability Order

b) First visit by an Enforcement Agent – fixed fee of £235.00 plus 7.5% of any balance owed over £1,500.00

c) Sale and removal of goods – fixed fee of £110.00 plus 7.5% of any balance owed over £1,500.00 plus reasonable storage and auctioneers fees.

What will happen if I don`t pay?

Doncaster Council is committed to helping Taxpayers in genuine financial difficulty but will pursue those who refuse to pay. Further action can include deducting amounts from your earnings or a visit from an Enforcement  Agent. Don’t let this happen to you, contact Council Tax now on 01302 734454

 I have received a Council Tax Liability Order Questionnaire 

Why has this been sent to me?

A Liability Order is granted to Doncaster Council by a Magistrates Court after a summons has been sent to you for non-payment of your Council Tax. It gives Doncaster Council the legal power to take further action to recover the amount owed. The actions that can be taken to recover the unpaid amount are included in this fact sheet. The Liability Order Questionnaire allows Doncaster Council to obtain information from you about your income and expenditure. You can challenge the Liability Order in certain circumstances, please see the section – Defences against a Liability Order below.

What do I do now?

If you have paid the outstanding amount in full including the Summons and Liability Order costs since this was received you need take no further action.

You may be able to set up a direct debit, this is the most convenient way to pay your Council Tax and you can choose to pay over 10 or 12 months on the 1st, 7th, 15th or 25th. You can arrange to do this over the telephone.

If you think you have already paid the amount by debit card, cheque, by Direct Debit or Standing Order, please check that the amount has been taken out of your bank account. If your payment has been sent please contact us on 01302 734454 with the details of how and when you made your payment and the account information. If you have paid by cash you will need to provide a receipt as proof of payment.

Pay your outstanding balance in any of the following ways:

By debit card over the phone or internet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0845 1305910 or at www.doncaster.gov.uk, simply look for, Pay for it?, then select Council Tax and follow the instructions

You can pay by cash or Debit card at any Post Office at no additional cost using the bar code on the correspondence.

The bar code on any correspondence sent to you allows you to pay cash at any outlet where you see the paypoint sign. To find your nearest paypoint locations visit the Paypoint website. There is no cost for using this service.

 By cheque, made payable to Doncaster MBC.

Please put your Council Tax account number on the back of the cheque and send your payment to:

The Chief Financial Officer

PO Box 443

Doncaster, DN1 1GG

 Please note, a payment shows on your Council Tax account when the Council receives it. You should take this into account especially if you have paid by cheque, by Standing Order, at the Post Office or via paypoint.

What happens if I have an outstanding claim for Local Council Tax Support?

You still need to pay your current instalments while your claim is being considered. This is because your claim may not be successful. If you would like to check the progress of your claim please contact the Benefits office in the first instance on 01302 735336.

 

What should I do if I can`t pay?

Contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss your options. You may be able to make a payment arrangement including Summons and Liability Order costs at a frequency that suits your needs and over a longer period of time.

You must complete the Income and Expenditure Form. It is a criminal offence not to provide this information. Your income and expenditure is needed to help the Council Tax staff to make a payment arrangement that takes into account your ability to pay.

Have you considered claiming Local Council Tax Support if you are on a low income? If you would like an estimate of how much housing benefit you might qualify for, please use one of the government`s recommended benefit calculators

If specific payment terms can`t be agreed then recovery action will continue. This means that the following options may be used to clear your debts:

Automatic deductions from your earnings

Automatic deductions from certain types of Benefits

A visit by an Enforcement Agent who can seize certain goods that you own and sell them at auction (Please note substantial costs will be incurred for any Enforcement Agent visit).

An application for bankruptcy or liquidation

An application for your committal to prison if you refuse to pay or make no attempts to resolve the issue with a member of staff. 

If further action is necessary Council Tax staff will always work with you to find the best solution to pay what you owe.

It is in your best interests to keep in contact and adhere to any arrangement you have been given. You should be aware that once a Summons and Liability Order have been obtained, if it then becomes necessary to pass your account to an Enforcement Agent for further action, the following costs would be added to your account. It is therefore in your interests to make contact as early as possible:

a) Notice of Enforcement (instruction to take action) £75.00 per Liability Order

b) First visit by an Enforcement Agent – fixed fee of £235.00 plus 7.5% of any balance owed over £1,500.00

c) Sale and removal of goods – fixed fee of £110.00 plus 7.5% of any balance owed over £1,500.00 plus reasonable storage and auctioneers fees.

 What will happen if I don`t pay?

Doncaster Council is committed to helping Taxpayers in genuine financial difficulty but will pursue those who refuse to pay. Further action can include deducting amounts from your earnings or a visit from an Enforcement  Agent. Don’t let this happen to you, contact Council Tax now on 01302 734454.

Defences against a Liability Order

 A Liability Order

A Liability Order is granted to Doncaster Council by a Magistrates Court after a Summons has been sent to you for non-payment of your Council Tax and gives Doncaster Council the legal power to take further action to recover this payment.

 What should I do now?

Please look at the following list of defences, and if you think any one of these apply in your case, you can attend court on the date given on the Summons and ask to speak to the Magistrate.

You should always contact the Council Tax Office on 01302 734454 prior to the court date to discuss your case – for example, if your defence is that you have paid your Council Tax, staff may be able to trace any missing payments or advise you further without any need to attend court.

 Defences

The property does not appear on the Valuation List as a dwelling for which Council Tax can be charged for the period in question

 The Council Tax has not been properly set by the Council

 The Council Tax has not been demanded properly please see below:

 It has not been demanded properly if you have not been given 14 days` notice on your bill of any new instalments.

 You have not been sent a reminder giving you 7 days to bring your account up to date

 You have not been sent a Summons after the full balance became payable – Please note Doncaster Council must show that a bill has been sent by post, not that a taxpayer has received it.

 The amount outstanding has been paid – if you think the amount has been paid please contact the Council Tax Office in the first instance with the details of when and where you made your payment, how the payment was made with details of your bank account where necessary. A receipt must support any cash payments.

 This is the first time that you have been summoned to court and more than six years have passed since your first payment became due.

 The Council did not serve you with a bill for payment as soon as they were able to in accordance with Council Tax legislation.

 The sum that you owe is for a Penalty which is the subject of appeal or arbitration

 Bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings have commenced.

 

 

None of the above applies to me and I want to make an arrangement to pay

There is no need to attend court, contact us on 01302 734454, or visit us at The Civic Office to discuss your options. You may be able to make a payment arrangement including Summons and Liability Order costs at a frequency that suits your needs and over a longer period of time.

 If further action is necessary Council Tax staff will always work with you to find the best solution to pay what you owe. If specific payment terms cannot be agreed then recovery action will continue. This means that the following options may be used to clear your debts once the Liability Order has been obtained:

 Automatic deduction from your earnings

Automatic deductions from certain types of benefits

A visit by an enforcement Agent who can seize certain goods that you own and sell them at auction. Please note substantial costs will be incurred for any Enforcement Agent visit.

An application for bankruptcy or liquidation

An application for your committal to prison if you refuse to pay or make no attempts to resolve the issue with a member of staff.

  • You must complete an Income and Expenditure Form. This will be sent to you once the Liability Order has been obtained. It is a criminal offence not to provide this information at that point. You can provide these details in advance of the court date if you wish, by going to www.doncaster.gov.uk, simply go to Council Tax, Are you having difficulty paying. You can then print off a copy of this form at any time.

Please be aware that once a Summons and Liability Order have been obtained, if it then becomes necessary to pass your account to an Enforcement Agent for further action, the following costs would be added to your account. It is therefore in your interests to make contact as early as possible.

a) Notice of Enforcement (instruction to take action) £75.00 per Liability Order

b) First visit by an Enforcement Agent – fixed fee of £235.00 plus 7.5% of any balance owed over £1,500.00

c) Sale and removal of goods – fixed fee of £110.00 plus 7.5% of any balance owed over £1,500.00 plus reasonable storage and auctioneer fees.

Refusing to pay?

The billing and collection of Council Tax is covered by legislation set by the government. We will tackle any avoidance tactics used to avoid payment of Council Tax, which will have repercussions for the individual concerned. Ultimately you can be sent to prison for refusing or knowingly avoiding payment and we will not hesitate to use such powers where it is absolutely necessary. Providing false information to avoid Council Tax registration and payment will also be dealt with seriously and action to prosecute individuals concerned will be taken.

Enforcement

We can instruct an Enforcement Agent to collect outstanding Council Tax debt. We will only do this if:

  • you have not completed and returned the personal information form sent to you
  • you have not made or maintained a repayment plan
  • other methods of recovery such as an attachment to earnings or benefits are not successful

If your debt is passed to an Enforcement Agent, you will incur a fixed fee of £75 for each liability order outstanding when they issue a Notice of Enforcement to you. Any payments or offers of repayment should then be made to the Enforcement Agent.

If you do not arrange to pay the Enforcement Agent or do not pay as per an agreed arrangement, they will visit you. This will result in an additional fee of £235 plus a further 7.5% of any balance owed over £1500. Your goods may be seized for sale and an additional fixed fee of £110.00 plus a further 7.5% of any balance owed over £1500.00 will be charged plus reasonable storage and auctioneers fees.

If you still fail to pay you could face bankruptcy proceedings, or even a prison sentence.

Enforcement Agents

 My debt has been passed to an Enforcement Agent

An Enforcement Agent (previously known as a ‘bailiff’) may visit your home if you do not pay your Council Tax. This will happen if you ignore letters that say that Enforcement Agents will be used.

 Pay what you owe before an Enforcement Agent visits

If you think an Enforcement Agent might visit you to collect your Council Tax, you can stop this by paying the money you owe. Get advice about how to pay your debt from Doncaster Council or the Enforcement Agent as soon as possible.

 Check the Enforcement Agent’s identity

Enforcement Agents from 5 companies (Bristow & Sutor, Equita, Jacobs, CDER and Rundles) work on behalf of Doncaster Council to collect unpaid Council Tax and Business Rates and can provide evidence.

Before you let an Enforcement Agent in to take your things or pay them, ask to see:

• proof of their identity, such as a badge, ID card or enforcement agent certificate

• which company they’re from

• a telephone contact number

• details of the amount owed

You can ask for proof of an Enforcement Agent’s identity and authorisation even if they have visited before - for example, ask them to put it through the letterbox or show it at the window. All Enforcement Agents must have a certificate unless they are exempt or they are with someone who does have a certificate.

 Contacting the Enforcement Agent Company

Bristow & Sutor: https://www.bristowsutor.co.uk/

Tel. 0871 6770070 or 0845 6081237 (local rate)

Equita: https://www.equita.co.uk/

Tel. 01604 628360

Jacobs: https://www.jacobsenforcement.co.uk

Tel. 0345 6012692 or 0151 6504800

CDER Group: http://www.cdergroup.co.uk/

Tel. 0330 1070023

Rundles: https://www.rundles.org.uk/

Tel. 08456 585030

 Paying an Enforcement Agent

Make sure you get a receipt to prove you have paid.

If you cannot pay all the money right away, speak to the Enforcement Agent about how you could pay the money back.

Offer to pay what you can afford in weekly or monthly payments.

Payment must be made directly to the Enforcement Agency.

If you do make payments to Doncaster Council after your case has been passed to the Enforcement Agency, your case will remain open with them and they will continue to collect the remaining balance, including their fees.

The Enforcement Agent does not have to accept your offer.

Once your case has been passed to an Enforcement Agent, it will remain with them until the full debt is cleared.

What Enforcement Agents can and cannot take

An Enforcement Agent may take some of your belongings to sell.

They can take luxury items, for example, a TV or games console.

They cannot take:

  • Things you need, such as your clothes, cooker or fridge
  • Work tools and equipment which together are worth less than £1,350
  • Someone else’s belongings, such as your partner’s computer
  • You will have to prove that someone else’s goods do not belong to you.

What Enforcement Agents can charge

The fees Enforcement Agents can charge are set by Government in accordance with the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014.

  • When a Notice of Enforcement is sent - £75.00 per Liability Order
  • If it becomes necessary for an Enforcement Agent to visit – fixed fee of £235.00 plus 7.5% of any balance owed over £1,500.00
  • Sale and removal of goods – fixed fee of £110.00 plus 7.5% of any balance owed over £1,500.00 plus reasonable storage and auctioneers fees.

How to complain about an Enforcement Agent

You can complain about an Enforcement Agent if you think that they have broken the rules, for example if they:

  • threaten or harass you
  • try to break into your home
  • try to charge you incorrect fees
  • take goods belonging to someone else

You should first complain to the company the Enforcement Agent works for and advise Doncaster Council if necessary. Once the complaint has been fully investigated by the Enforcement Agency, if you still disagree with their decision you can ask Doncaster Council to review the complaint through our complaints procedure.  If you remain dissatisfied with the decision, you can refer your case to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) at https://www.lgo.org.uk/  

Help or advice

You can get free help or advice on dealing with bailiffs from:

National Debtline:               https://www.nationaldebtline.org or phone 0808 808 4000

Money Advice Service:      https://www.moneyadvicetrust.org or phone 0800 138 7777

Citizens Advice:                  https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk or phone 0345 404 0506/0344 411 1444                                                                   

Stepchange Debt Charity: https://www.stepchange.org/ or phone 0800 138 1111

Contact us

Please use the contact details on this page Contact Us - Council Tax to get in touch with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated: 15 October 2021 15:04:04