Manchester City Council

Council tax What happens if you don't pay your council tax?

A court summons

If you don't pay your council tax or don't keep to an agreement to pay, we can issue you with a court summons.

We will ask the magistrates' court for a Liability Order. This is a demand for you to pay the full amount you owe, plus £82 costs.

You have the right to attend the court and offer evidence why you aren't liable for the debt.

If you decide not to attend court, contact us anyway. We will try to come to a reasonable arrangement with you for payment:

Or speak to your local Citizens Advice if you prefer.

If you go to the court hearing, the magistrates will ask if you have a valid defence which will stop a liability order being granted. Valid defences are:

  • we have not followed the rules when we asked for payment, for example if we didn't keep to the correct time periods when we sent bills or reminders
  • you have paid what you owe 
  • you are not the person named on the summons.

If you don't have a valid defence the court will grant a Liability Order.

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