Paying your council tax

What happens if I don't pay?

If you’re struggling to pay your council tax or facing financial difficulties, we’d like to help you. The sooner you contact us the more options we will have to make payment arrangements.

Council tax is normally payable in 10 monthly instalments between April to January - currently due on the 1st, 8th, 15th, 21st and 28th of the month by direct debit. 

If paying by cash or cheque then payment should be made on the 1st.

The vast majority of people pay on time, mostly using a direct debit. 

If you wish to request instalments over 12 months, please contact us within seven days of receipt of your new bill. In some circumstances where your account is in arrears we may not be able to offer this option immediately.

Pay your council tax

You can also set up a direct debit for next year. See Paying your council tax.

Reminders and final notices

If you miss an instalment and haven't contacted us about it, we will send you a reminder notice, asking for payment in seven days.

If you pay the amount you owe but fall behind with your instalments again we will send a second reminder. 

We can only send two reminder notices in any one financial year.

So if you pay late a third time you will be sent a final notice for the full amount for the rest of the year, and you will lose your right to pay in instalments.

Court action - a summons

If you don’t pay after we’ve sent a final notice or contact us to agree payment, we’ll apply to the Magistrates’ Court for a summons to be issued against you for the full amount of council tax owed by you. This costs us £93 which we’ll add to your council tax bill.

summons is a document issued by the Magistrates Court. It summons you to appear before the Magistrates for a hearing at a time and place given on the summons. This is called the liability order hearing.

The summons will include details of the person liable for the charge, the amount and date of the charge and the amount of costs that will be requested at the hearing.

If you’ve received a summons and want to pay, make a payment today.

Pay your council tax

You can also set up a direct debit for next year. See Paying your council tax.

Liability orders

A liability order is issued to us by the Magistrates Court following a court hearing on the date specified on the court summons and where the council tax hasn’t been paid in full. At the hearing, further costs of £22.00 will be allowed by the court bringing the total court costs to £115.00, these will be added to your council tax debt.

A liability order from court allows us to choose any of the following methods to recover the money you owe.

1, Attachment to benefits

We can ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to make deductions of money from certain benefits such as income support and job seekers allowance and to pay this amount towards your council tax debt until this is paid.

  • If you are on Job seekers allowance, £4.25 will be deducted every week from your allowance.
  • If you are on  contribution-based employment support allowance, a deduction of one third will be made from your weekly allowance
  • For income-based employment support allowance, a five per cent deduction will be deducted and paid onto your council tax account.

2, Attachment to earnings

If you’re employed, we can ‘attach to your earnings’. This means that we can order your employer to make deductions from your from your salary and pay it directly to us. The table shows these percentages, which are set by the government and are not negotiable.

Deduction rates
Weekly earnings Monthly earnings Amount taken
Up to £75 Up to £300 0%
£75 to £135 £300 to £550 3%
£135 to £185 £550 to £740 5%
£185 to £225 £740 to £900 7%
£225 to £335 £900 to £1,420 12%
£335 to £505 £1,420 to £2,020 17%
Over £505 Over £2,020 17% on the first £505 (weekly) or £2,020 (monthly) then 50% on the rest

Your employer can also deduct an extra £1 each time to cover their administrative costs.

The deductions will continue until the amount on the liability order is paid.

3, Bankruptcy and liquidation

If you owe more than £5,000 in total including council tax and we have a liability order, we may start bankruptcy proceedings to recover your council tax arrears.

Please visit this government link for further information When you can be made bankrupt - GOV.UK

If you are a Ltd company and owe £750.00, we can apply for a winding up order to recover our debts. Please seek legal advice about this process or visit the Government website.

4, A charging order on your property

Where we can’t agree a payment plan to pay your council tax debts and you own the property where you are liable for the payment of council tax, we will register a charge on the land registry title in respect of Hammersmith & Fulham council.

You could lose your home as we may ask the court to allow an order for sale and we will sell your property to pay your council tax debt and any legal fees added during this process.

Difficulties paying your bill?

If you’re struggling to pay your council tax or facing financial difficulties, we’d like to help you. Once a summons has been issued, there are limited options for making payment arrangements.

If you don’t contact us, we’ll ask the court to issue a liability order. This gives us authority to take recovery action. We don’t want to do that, so please get in touch.

See Contact us about council tax

Translate this website