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Council tax – summonses and liability orders

If you do not respond to reminders to pay your council tax, you will get a court summons.

Receiving a court summons

If you get a summons, it will state:

  • the amount of debt you owe
  • the costs you have to pay so far
  • your court hearing date (due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you must not attend the Court or our council offices). 

Your summons comes with a leaflet which explains what you should do next.

Extra costs after you get a summons

You will have to pay part, or all, of our costs for issuing the summons.

If we issue a summons we will charge you £72.50. This cost will still apply if:

  • you cannot pay the full amount owed before your hearing date, or
  • you want to make a repayment proposal that goes on after the hearing date.

If you pay the amount shown on the summons in full before the hearing date, you will not have to pay further summons costs added on the hearing date.

Where we hold hearings

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we will be holding hearings remotely between Her Majesties Court Services (Bromley Magistrates Court) and the Councils offices. You do not need to attend either building. 

What happens at court – liability order

At your summons hearing, we will try to get a liability order. 

This gives us the right to take legal action against you to collect your debt. This might include:

  • using enforcement agents (bailiffs) to collect unpaid tax
  • taking the money you owe out of your benefits or earnings.

If we get a liability order on the hearing date, you will owe us an extra £50.

We will write to you after the hearing if the liability order is granted and you have not contacted us and agreed a solution. This letter will advise of the Magistrates’ Courts decision and will make a request for your information, the quickest way to return this information to us is to use the form below called Liability order- request for information.

How we can help you

We want to help you resolve any problems you have paying your council tax.

If you cannot pay the full amount (including costs), or you have another issue you’d like to discuss, you must contact us immediately to discuss your situation.

If you have received a court summons, you can make a repayment proposal now.

Summons surgeries

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic this service has been re-designed from a face to face walk in service to telephone call-back service. If you would like to speak to someone about your court summons you can book a telephone call with one of our officers.


By booking a telephone appointment between 9am and 4pm BEFORE the hearing date on your summons notice.

Please have your court summons to hand.


Our surgeries take place every Wednesday (except on public holidays) by telephone call. Please note the call back may be from a withheld number.