Council tax recovery and use of enforcement agents

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – financial support for businesses and the self-employed

For information on assistance with business rates and government cash grants for businesses, go to our business rates pages  For those who are self-employed, we are providing financial assistance for the self-employed in the form of deferred council tax payments.

Eligible businesses can apply for support from the Discretionary Business Grant Scheme.

The government is providing a range of measures to support businesses through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19. For details, go to GOV.UK: business support and GOV.UK: financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Getting our costs back

We can arrange for recovery action to continue. This includes the summons costs and the liability order. We can also take action to get the money you owe.

Enforcement agents

Enforcement agents will write to you, telling you the action they intend to take. This will include visiting your premises if the debt remains unpaid. You would have to pay additional charges at this stage.

The enforcement agent can seize your property to sell, if you still don't pay.

What you must do

You can contact us and the enforcement agent to agree a payment plan. If the enforcement agent visits you, we could add their costs to your bill.


After the enforcement agent's visit, if you still don't pay, we can apply to the court for a warrant to send you to prison. The court will hold an enquiry and invite you to find out if you can afford to pay the bill.

What the court can do

If the court doesn't think you have a valid reason for not paying, it can send you to prison for up to 3 months. The court can decide to postpone imprisonment, if you agree to repay the debt over time.

The court can also cancel all or part of the debt.

Other action we can take

If an enforcement agent is not used we can:

  • order your employer to deduct a regular amount from your salary to pay your unpaid council tax
  • apply for money to be deducted from your benefits, eg Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit