What happens if I don't pay on time?

The Council is committed to ensuring that Council Tax bills are kept as low as possible. Prompt collection means that the Council has to spend less on sending reminders and final notices and if the cash is collected promptly the Council benefits from improved cash flow. If you have any problems paying then please contact us.

Your Council Tax bill shows you how much you need to pay and when your payments are due. Unless you pay by Direct Debit (where there is a choice of 4 payment dates) monthly instalments will be payable on the first of the month. If you pay by post, through the post office, or through the bank you should allow extra time for your payment to reach us.

Reminder and Final Notices

If you do not pay instalments when they fall due you will receive a Reminder notice telling you to bring your account up to date.

If you do not make a payment the next notice you receive will be a Summons. This is because by paying nothing the right to pay by monthly instalments is lost and the whole year becomes payable in advance.

If you pay the instalment shown on the Reminder but then fail to pay the next one you will receive another Reminder notice. If you then fail to pay the next one you will receive a Final Notice cancelling the instalment facility.

If you are having genuine difficulty in making payments you should contact us straight away and we will do our best to help you.

Do not ignore the Reminder notice because if we have to continue with recovery action against you, you may have to pay extra costs.

Please note that if you pay nothing or pay late resulting in a Final Notice your right to pay by instalments is lost and the full outstanding balance becomes payable in advance. If you do not pay the amount outstanding or make an acceptable payment arrangement with us, usually by Direct Debit, to clear the balance of your account we will continue with recovery action.

Court Summons

If after the issue of a Final Notice payment is not received or an acceptable payment arrangement made within 14 days, you will receive a Magistrates Court Summons incurring costs, which are currently £60.00, added to your account.

Liability Order

If full payment, including costs, is not made on the Summons, we will ask the Magistrates for a Liability Order which will add a further £30.00 costs which you will have to pay.

A Liability Order gives Milton Keynes Council the power to recover the debt from you in a number of ways including:

  • By Attachment of Earnings order. We can order your employer to deduct a regular amount from your wages toward your unpaid Council Tax. The amounts to be deducted are provided by Government order.
  • By passing your account to an Enforcement Agent which will incur charges. Learn more about Enforcement charges.
  • By commencing bankruptcy proceedings against you.
  • Deduction from benefits. We may be able to apply for deductions if you are receiving Jobseekers’ Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit.
  • Committal to prison. If we have tried using Enforcement Agents but your Council Tax still isn’t paid in full, we may apply to the Magistrate’s Court for a warrant committing you to prison. We will only take this step when other efforts have failed.

A leaflet detailing Collection and Enforcement is downloadable here: Collection and Enforcement leaflet (PDF, 25KB)

Last Updated: 8 August 2019