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What happens when we cannot recover your council tax charges

In cases where none of our standard options to recover the money are successful or practical, we may seek charging orders, bankruptcy or a committal.
Council tax Direct Debits taken late

The Direct Debit council tax instalments for 1 July 2024 have been collected from bank accounts on 2 July 2024 in error.

We apologise for any inconvenience. If you've incurred bank charges as a result, please provide proof from the bank and submit it to us for reimbursement.

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.

Charging orders

If you own your home, a charge may be placed on your property so that when the property is sold, the council tax debt (including costs) will be paid from the proceeds of the sale.

Charging orders are a potential method of securing a council tax debt which is in excess of £1,000. The order must be secured against the same property to which the liability order has already been obtained for the outstanding debt. Charging orders can be considered as an alternative to bankruptcy in some cases. 

To prevent this happening, you can pay the debt in full, or agree a payment arrangement with us.

Bankruptcy

We can apply to the High Court to petition for you to be made bankrupt if your debt exceeds £5,000.

Bankruptcy is a serious matter. If you become bankrupt:

  • you will have to give up any possessions of value and interest in your home
  • your credit rating will be affected
  • you will find it hard to get a loan or credit cards
  • any business that you run will almost certainly be closed, and your employees will be dismissed
  • certain restrictions will be imposed on you

To prevent this happening, you can pay the debt in full, or agree a payment arrangement with us.

Committal 

If we can't collect the debt you owe us using the methods we've listed (for example, deducting it from your salary or benefits, or enforcement agents), we will start committal proceedings against you. This means you will be summoned to attend the magistrates’ court and further costs will be added to your account.

You will be ordered to pay a set amount, for example £30 a month, and told that if you do not keep up the payments you will go to prison for a set amount of time for a period of up to three months.

If the magistrates think that you have the money to pay but are deliberately not paying, they may decide to send you to prison for up to 90 days.

To prevent this happening, you can pay the debt in full, or agree a payment arrangement with us.

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Council tax enforcement

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Council tax enforcement

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