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How we recover council tax debt

If we cannot agree a payment plan and we have obtained a liability order we have more powers to recover the debt.
Haven't had your council tax bill?

If you've got a MyLewisham account and have registered to view your council tax account online, you won't get a paper copy of your annual bill – it'll be available to view online instead.

If you don't have MyLewisham account, you'll get a paper copy in the post as normal.

Benefit deductions

If you receive Universal Credit, Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support or Employment Support Allowance we can ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to deduct money from your benefit. We can also request deductions from your Guaranteed Pension Credit.

We will make a request directly to the DWP who will then contact you to tell you the deductions are being made.

A  fixed amount depending on your circumstances will be deducted from your benefits and sent to us. These deductions continue until your outstanding council tax is paid in full or your entitlement to the relevant benefit ends.

Attachment to earnings

If your council tax is overdue, we can contact your employer and ask them to deduct it directly from your salary. This is called an ‘attachment of earnings order’. Your employer will receive an attachment of earnings order if we decide recover the unpaid amount from your wages. The amount taken from your salary will depend on how much you earn.

Net earnings on daily pay  Net earnings on weekly pay  Net earnings on monthly pay Deductions 
 £11 or less  £75 or less  £300 or less 0% 
 £12–£20  £76-£135  £301–£550 3% 
 £21–£27  £136-£185  £551–£740 5% 
 £28–£33  £186–£225  £741–£900 7% 
 £34–£52  £226–£355  £901–£1,420 12% 
 £53–£72  £356–£505  £1421–£2,020 17% 
 More than £72  More than £505  More than £2020 17% of the first £72 for daily, first £505 for weekly, first £2,020 for monthly and then 50%

of the remainder

Your employer must comply with the order and make deductions from your net earnings as soon as possible, or they could be fined. You must tell us if you change your employment within 14 days of the change or you may be fined.

I am an employer who has received an order for an employee

The Department for Work and Pensions has produced a guide that covers all of the points that an employer may raise regarding any Attachment Order.

Enforcement agents (bailiffs)

If other attempts to reach a payment agreement fail, we will pass the debt on to our enforcement agents (bailiffs).

The enforcement agents may take some of your belongings and sell them at a public auction to pay off the debt. You will be charged further costs if your debit is passed to the enforcement agents.

To respond to enforcement agents you will need to log into your My Lewisham account and complete an online form. You will not stop the enforcement action being taken against you. We will contact you after we have reviewed your enquiry.

Enforcement agent actions

An enforcement agent’s actions follow three stages:

  1. The compliance stage - a cost of £75 is charged for each liability order we pass to the enforcement agent. If you have multiple debts outstanding for which several liability orders have been issued significant costs will be added to the amount you owe.
  2. Enforcement stage - a further cost of £235 plus 7.5% of any debt above £1,500 is added to the amount you owe once your account moves to the enforcement stage. An agent will visit your property to take control of your goods.
  3. Sale or disposal - a further of £110 plus another 7.5% fee of any debt outstanding above £1,500 is added to the amount you owe, together with any sale or disbursement costs.

If the enforcement agents do not manage to get back all the money you owe us, the court may decide to send you to prison for up to three months.