Council Tax Debt Help

Council tax debt is just one of these expenses which seems to creep up on you. It’s common to think the lenders which demand payment the most are more important. However, miss payments on this and you could even be sent to prison. That’s why it’s important to resolve this debt as soon as possible.

What happens if I don’t pay my council tax?

Council tax debt is a priority debt and, as such, should be resolved as soon as possible. However, if money is tight, this is easier said than done. If you miss a payment, the collection process for this type of debt is more extreme compared with others and – Initially – you can expect:

  • A reminder letter instructing you to make the payment within seven days.
  • If you fail to do that, the authority can ask you to pay the whole council tax bill for the year.

This means, in theory, a bill for £100 can turn into an invoice for £1,200 in just over a week. You then have another seven days to pay this amount or else the council could take legal action against you.

What happens if I have council tax arrears?

If you can’t pay your council tax – and few would be able to pay a sudden bill for £1,000 or more – your authority will probably take legal action against you. The most common options are:

  • Taking the money from your benefits.
  • Taking payments for council tax straight out of your earnings.
  • Passing the debt to bailiffs.

Income deductions explained

Councils can take money from your income in two different ways. The first is through deductions from your benefits. This can include universal credit, income support, or employment and support allowance. It’s worth noting that authorities must leave you with enough money though to live off.

The second is through wage deductions. Using an ‘attachment of earnings order’, a council can request the money directly from your earnings. In this situation, your employer would make the necessary changes to your salary and send the money to the court.

Can bailiffs force entry for council tax debt?

Councils can employ bailiffs to collect council tax debt but these individuals can’t break in unless you’ve previously allowed them entry. They can also only force entry if collecting tax debts from HMRC or if they’ve been ordered to by a court.

Can council tax debt lead to prison?

Council tax debt can lead to imprisonment for a maximum sentence of three months. However, it’s important to note this only happens in extremely rare cases. Over almost a decade, less than 700 people have been jailed for not paying council tax.

Councils are often criticised for using ‘heavy handed’ tactics in their debt collection. Although prison is a last-resort for non-payment, it’s been claimed some authorities have used this as a threat to get people to pay quicker.

Can you get council tax debt written off?

You can get council tax debt written off but this depends on the authority and how they vote in a creditor meeting. Below is a list of councils which we’ve previously worked with:

Which authorities may write off council tax debt?

Adur & Worthing Councils
Angus Council
Arun District Council
Ashfield District Council
Ashford Borough Council
Aylesbury Vale District Council
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Basildon Council
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
Bay of Colwyn Town Council
Bedford Borough Council
Belfast City Council
Birmingham City Council
Blaby District Council
Blackburn and Darwen Council
Blackpool Council
Bolton Council
Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk
Borough Council of Wellingborough
Boston Borough Council
Bournemouth Borough Council
Bracknell Forest Council
Bradford District Council
Braintree District Council
Breckland Council
Brent Council
Bridgend County Borough Council
Brighton and Hove City Council
Bristol City Council
Broadland District Council
Broadland District Council
Bromsgrove District Council
Broxbourne Council
Broxtowe Borough Council
Burnley Council
Bury Council
Calderdale Council
Cambridgeshire County Council
Cambridgeshire County Council
Cannock Chase Council
Canterbury City Council
Canterbury City Council
Central Bedfordshire Council
Ceredigion County Council
Charnwood Council
Chelmsford City Council
Cherwell Council
Cheshire East Council
Cheshire West & Chester Council
Chichester District Council
Chorley Borough Council
City of Lincoln Council
Colchester Borough Council
Colchester Borough Council
Conwy Borough Council
Corby Borough Council
Coventry City Council
Cumbria County Council
Dacorum Borough Council
Daventry District Council
Denbighshire County Council
Derby City Council
Devon County Council
Doncaster County Council
Dorset County Council
Dorset District Council
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
Durham City Council
Durham County Council
East Cambridgeshire District Council
East Dorset Council
East Hampshire District Council
East Herts Council
East Lindsey District Council
East Riding of Yorkshire Council
East Riding Yorkshire Council
East Staffordshire Borough Council
East Suffolk Council
East Sussex County Council
Eastleigh Borough Council
Elmbridge Borough Council
Epping Forest District Council
Erewash Borough Council
Exeter City Council
Fareham Borough Council
Fenland County Council
Fife Council
Folkestone & Hythe District Council
Gedling Borough Council
Glasgow Council
Gloucester City Council
Gloucester City Council
Gloucestershire County Council
Gosport Council
Gravesham Borough Council
Great Yarmouth Borough Council
Guildford Borough Council
Gwynedd Council
Halton Council
Hammersmith & Fulham Council
Hampshire County Council
Harborough District Council
Harrow Council
Hart District Council
Hastings Borough Council
Havant Borough Council
Horsham District Council
Huntingdonshire District Council
Ipswich Borough Council
Isle of Wight Council
Islington Council
Kettering Borough Council
Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Council
Kirklees Council
Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Lambeth Borough Council
Lancashire County Council
Lancaster City Council
Leeds City Council
Leicester City Council
Leighton Linslade Council
Lewes District Council
Lincoln County Council
Lincolnshire County Council
Liverpool City Council
London Borough of Waltham Forest Council
Luton Borough Council
Maidstone Borough Council
Maldon District Council
Malvern Hills District Council
Manchester City Council
Manchester CIty Council (Penalty Charges)
Melton Borough Council
Mendip District Council
Merthyr Tydfil Council
Mid Devon District Council
Mid Suffolk District Council
Mid Sussex District Council
Milton Keynes County Council
Neath Port Talbot Council
Newark and Sherwood District Council
Newcastle City Council
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
North Devon Council
North Devon Council Housing Benefits
North East Derbyshire District Council
North Hertfordshire District Council
North Kesteven District Council
North Lincolnshire Council
North Somerset Council
North Tyneside Council
North West Leicestershire District Council
North Yorkshire County Council
Northamptonshire County Council
Northwest Leicestershire District Council
Norwich City Council
Nottinghamshire County Council
Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council
Oadby & Wigston Borough Council
Oldham County Council
Pembrokeshire County Council
Plymouth City Council
Preston City Council
Purbeck District Council
Reading Borough Council
Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council
Redditch Borough Council
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
Richmondshire District Council
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Rochford District Council
Rossendale Borough Council
Rugby Borough Council
Rugby Borough Council
Rushcliffe Borough Council
Rushmoor Borough Council
Ryedale District Council
Salisbury City Council
Sandwell Council
Scarborough Borough Council
Sefton Council
Sheffield City Council
Shropshire County Council
Slough Borough Council
Somerset County Council
Somerset West and Taunton Council
South Bucks District Council
South Derbyshire District Council
South Gloucestershire Council
South Hams District Council
South Holland District Council
South Kesteven District Council
South Lakeland District Council
South Norfolk District Council
South Northamptonshire Council
South Ribble Borough Council
South Somerset District Council
Southampton City Council
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
Southwark Council
Spelthorne Borough Council
St Edmundsbury Borough Council
St Helens Council
Staffordshire County Council
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council
Stevenage Borough Council
Stevenage Borough Council
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
Stoke- On- Trent Council
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Suffolk Coastal District Council
Suffolk County Council
Sunderland City Council
Sunderland Council
Surrey County Council
Sutton Council
Swale Borough Council
Swindon Borough Council
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
Tamworth Borough Council
Taunton Deane Borough Council
Teignbridge District Council
Teignmouth Council
Test Valley Borough Council
Tewkesbury Borough Council
Thanet County Council
Thanet District Council
Three Rivers District Council
Tonbridge & Malling Council
Torbay Council
Tower Hamlets Council
Trafford Council
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Vale of Glamorgan Council
Wakefield Council Regeneration
Wandsworth Council Business Rates Service
Warwick District Council
Warwickshire County Council
Watford Borough Council
Waveney District Council
Waverley Borough Council
West Berkshire Council
West Dorset District Council
West Lancashire Borough Council
West Oxfordshire District Council
West Suffolk Council
West Sussex County Council
Westminster City Council
Weymouth & Portland Borough Council
Wigan Council
Wiltshire Council (Council Tax)
Winchester City Council
Wirral Borough Council
Wirral Council
Woking Borough Council
Wokingham Borough Council
Wolverhampton City Council
Worcester Council
Wychavon District Council
Wycombe District Council
Wyre Council

I don’t see my council here – what should I do?

If your authority isn’t listed above, don’t panic. We may still be able to work with them to secure a solution to your council tax debt. Get in touch with us today and we’ll do our best to help.

An estimated 2.2 million households were behind with their council tax between 2017 and 2018 – that’s almost ten per cent of all households.

How we can help with council tax debt

Council tax debt is something we hear about very often. People often mistakenly feel it’s a non-priority debt as, when you miss a payment, you usually won’t hear anything about it for several days. In contrast, with something similar to credit card debt, it’s common for creditors to start chasing for payment within a few hours of missing a deadline.

Fortunately, we could help resolve council tax debt through a solution known as an IVA:


An IVA is a formal debt solution which freezes interest and charges and allows you to make affordable monthly repayments over usually at least five years. When this agreement ends, any remaining debt is written off.

Debt Relief Order

A Debt Relief Order is another solution which could help resolve council tax arrears. Although we don’t offer this option – suitable if you owe £20,000 or less and don’t have assets over £1,000 – most of your debts are written off if your financial situation doesn’t improve in a year.


Under Bankruptcy, council tax debts will be written off. However, this isn’t without cost. While often viewed as a fresh start, many of your assets will be repossessed to reclaim as much money for your creditors as possible. Although we can’t help you set up Bankruptcy, we could still determine if it might be the most option for you.

Struggling with council tax debt? Get in touch

Council tax debt can become unmanageable very quickly which is why it’s important to seek debt help as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could face a bill which is just impossible for you to repay.

Just get in touch through the button below and we’ll let you know if a debt solution could help you.


Why choose us?

  • More than 15 years’ experience across our companies in dealing with debt.
  • We've helped 15 328* people in the UK start their journey towards financial freedom.
  • On average, we write off £10,500** per client.
  • 120 staff members are here and ready to support you.

* as of 02/02/21.
**Average debt anticipated to be written off for IVAs approved between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020 is £10,568, based upon successful completion.