Council Tax Recovery

Council Tax payments are due to be paid by the first of each month. The only exception is for customers paying by direct debit who can choose to pay on either the 1st, 15th or 25th of each month. If you would like to pay by direct debit, please contact us on 020 8489 3557 or you can download a Direct Debit Instruction (PDF, 82KB) complete and return to the Shared Service Centre | Revenues, PO Box 10505, Wood Green, London, N22 7WJ.

What to do if you have difficulty paying

If you are having difficulties meeting your monthly instalments, it is important to contact us as soon as possible. Do not ignore the debt, as the sooner you get in touch, the more help and advice we will be able to offer. We will be able to review your account and check whether you are entitled to any reductions based on your circumstances.

If your monthly instalments are not paid or you fail to contact us and agree a suitable repayment plan, recovery action may be taken against you.

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

Confidential debt counselling is available from the CAB.

The CAB hold regular drop-in sessions across Haringey - see the Citizens Advice Bureau website (external link) for details.

Alternatively, you can also obtain further information regarding managing your debts at GOV.UK - Court claims, debt and bankruptcy (external link) or National Debtline (external link).

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How we recover Council Tax payments

Haringey Council's recovery policy has been drawn up in accordance with the current regulations governing Council Tax collection.

There are different stages of recovery for Council Tax.

Recovery Process:

Once a liability order has been obtained, the following methods of recovery are available to the council:

The council allow special arrangements following the granting of a liability order. This is an arrangement agreed with the taxpayer inclusive of costs.

Bill (Demand Notice)

The first notice you receive regarding payment of your Council Tax is a bill. The bill advises you how your Council Tax was calculated, any balance due and any instalments you need to pay.

The back of the bill details the payment methods available and our contact details.

If you think there may be an error on your bill, please contact us as soon as possible.

Failure to make payment of the instalments as advised on your bill will cause recovery action to commence.

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Reminder Notice

A reminder notice is issued if you fail to make payment of an instalment by the date due. The notice will advise you of the amount you need to pay to bring your account up to date.

If you have received a reminder notice, you need to bring your account up to date within 7 days, if payment is not received as requested on the reminder notice, recovery action may continue and a summons issued. If you are unable to pay the amount requested on a reminder notice, please contact us as soon as possible.

If you make payment of the sum requested on the reminder notice, no further action will be taken as long as you continue to make payment of the remaining monthly instalments on time.

The council will only issue two reminder notices to you during one financial year. If you are late paying for a third time in a year, you will be issued with a final notice which will cancel your monthly instalments.

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Final Notice

If on a third occasion in a financial year your monthly instalments are not received on time, you may be issued with a final notice.

If you receive a final notice, your instalments are cancelled and the full balance remaining on the account to the end of the financial year becomes due within 7 days. If you are unable to make full payment as requested, please contact us as soon as possible.

Please do not ignore the final notice, if the amount requested is not paid or you fail to contact us and agree a suitable repayment plan, recovery action may continue and a summons issued.

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If payment is not received or a suitable arrangement agreed following the issue of a reminder or final notice, the council will apply to Haringey Magistrates' Court to issue a summons for non-payment of Council Tax. If a summons is issued to you, you will be liable for costs which will be added to your council tax account.

A summons requests payment of the full balance plus the additional summons costs to be made to the council before the hearing date.

If you are unable to pay the amount requested on the summons, please contact us to discuss your account and a possible payment plan.

You do not need to attend the hearing, however, the council will seek to obtain a liability order which allows further recovery action to be taken to collect any outstanding Council Tax.

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You do not have to attend the Court hearing, please contact us to discuss your account and agree a payment plan to clear your outstanding Council Tax. Please be aware, although your presence is not required at the hearing, the council will seek to obtain a liability order at the hearing to enable us to take further recovery action if necessary at a later date and the full Court costs of £115 will be payable.

There are only 8 valid defences against the council obtaining a liability order at the hearing:

  • the property is not listed with the Valuation Office Agency for the period Council Tax is being charged
  • that the tax had not been properly set
  • that a bill and subsequent recovery notices were not issued correctly
  • that the amount demanded has been paid
  • that more that six years have passed since the day the bill was issued
  • that the billing authority was in breach of the duty to serve notices 'as soon as practicable 'in the relevant year
  • that the amount outstanding is for a penalty which is being appealed
  • that bankruptcy or winding up proceedings have been initiated.

If you feel your circumstances meet one of the above valid defences, please contact us to discuss your account as we may be able to resolve the matter before the Court hearing.

If your circumstances do not meet any of the above valid defences, there is no need to attend Court. If you do attend Court, you will be asked which defence you are using and you must satisfy the Magistrates that the defence applies in your case. If you cannot identify a defence, the Court will issue a liability order against you without further discussion.

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Liability Order

If a liability order is obtained at Haringey Magistrates' Court, a letter will be sent to you to confirm. The notice of liability order also advises of the recovery action that may be taken to recovery the outstanding Council Tax .

Enclosed with the letter is a Financial Statement (PDF, 21KB) which you are required to complete and return to the address below. Once the completed form is returned the recovery team can assess your income and outgoings and make an arrangement with you to clear your council tax based on your personal circumstances.

  • Shared Service Centre | Revenues
    PO Box 10505
    N22 7WJ

If you receive a notice of liability order please contact us to discuss repayment, do not ignore the notice. Failure to contact us will result in the council taking one of the following methods of recovery to collect the outstanding Council Tax:

If you receive a letter or notice advising one of these recovery actions is being taken against you, do not ignore it, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your account.

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Enforcement Agents (previously known as bailiffs)

The Ministry of Justice have changed the way debts are administered by Enforcement Agents. In the main these relate to management and collection of debt by Enforcement Agents. These changes became effective from 6 April 2014. The regulations apply to most types of debt referred by the council to an Enforcement Agent for collection. This includes Council Tax, Business Rates and penalty charge notices.

Your account may be passed to one of the five Enforcement Agencies used by the Council Tax recovery team.

Once your account has been passed to an Enforcement Agent, you will incur further costs. You will then need to contact the Enforcement Agent directly to arrange a payment plan to avoid the agent visiting your property with the intention of removing your belongings for sale at auction to clear your outstanding Council Tax.

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Attachment of earnings

An order may be sent to your employer to make deductions directly from your wages to pay your Council Tax. The amount deducted is a percentage of your daily / weekly / monthly wages and differs depending on the amount you earn. The percentages are set by Central Government and are detailed in the Deductions to be made under attachment of earning tables (PDF, 12KB). Further information is available within the Attachment of Earnings guide for employers (PDF, 55KB)

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Attachment of Benefit

If you are in receipt of Income Support, Job Seeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit, an Attachment of Benefit Order may be issued to the Department for Work and Pensions requesting they make deductions to clear your Council Tax balance.

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If you owe Council Tax of £750 or more, Insolvency proceedings may be commenced against you in accordance with the Insolvency Act 1986 as amended.

These proceedings may be either bankruptcy proceedings against an individual or winding up proceedings against a limited company.

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Charging Orders

If you owe Council Tax of £1,000 or more and own a property, the council may apply to the County Court for a charging order. Once the order is granted the council will be able to enforce the sale of the property in order to clear the Council Tax owed.

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Committal to Prison

If your Council Tax remains outstanding after Enforcement Agents have tried to recover the debt, the council may apply to the Magistrates' Court for a warrant committing you to prison. If the Court determines the outstanding debt is due to wilful refusal or culpable neglect, they may commit you to prison for a maximum of three months. The Court may decide to postpone the period of imprisonment on certain conditions, normally relating to payment of the debt over a period of time.

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Enforcement Agencies used by Shared Service Centre | Revenues

Table: Enforcement Agencies contact details

NameReventus Limited (external link)Equita Ltd (external link)Newlyn (external link)Phoenix (external link)Ross & Roberts (external link)
Tel0344 800 330301604 628 36001604 633 0010844 824 38840870 167 0707

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Page Last Updated:

22 October 2018

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