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Information regarding the summons

Summons Payment Proposal e-form [e-form opens in a new window]

Why have I received a summons?

A Council Tax bill was sent asking you to pay instalments on set dates or pay an amount by a specific date.

Reminders were sent before the summons advising you to make payment.

As you have not paid as requested we have issued the summons.

How can I stop this process?

You can only stop the proceedings by paying the balance due (including costs) in full.

We must receive cleared payment before the date of the court hearing.

There are a number of ways to pay your Council Tax

What if I cannot pay in full?

You should pay as much as possible to help reduce the balance due before the Court date.

After the Court date the council will write to you to notify you of the outcome of the hearing.

At this time the council will allow you to make a payment arrangement to clear your balance.

A payment plan will be sent to you in the post.

You can also make a payment proposal by completing our Summons Payment Proposal e-form [e-form opens in a new window].

Please note that a Liability Order will still be granted at the Magistrates Court hearing.

What happens next?

We will ask the Magistrates Court to grant a Liability Order.

This order gives legal powers to collect the debt in different ways, these include:

  • Money being deducted from certain benefits
  • The debt being passed to an Enforcement Agent to collect

However, once the Liability Order has been granted, we will write to you and offer the opportunity of a payment arrangement.

If you cannot make the payments as we ask, you need to complete a payment proposal form for us to consider your offer to repay the debt.

Should I go to Court?

No, you do not need to go to court.

You do have a right to attend court if you feel you are not legally responsible for paying the Council Tax.

However the only legal reasons why a Liability Order will not be granted are

  • The Council has not followed the procedures set down in law in relation to your Council Tax
  • The amount has been paid in full 

If you think that your charge is incorrect you should contact the council straight away so we can look into your enquiry.

Please note the magistrates cannot make a payment arrangement with you or resolve any disputes regarding your liability or council tax support decisions.

What if I have recently paid?

If you have made the payments in accordance with your bill, please call us on 01325 405555 to discuss the situation further.

These notes have been prepared by Darlington Borough Council with the approval of the court.

They are not a detailed statement of the law but are intended to help you understand the proceedings being taken against you.

Liability order

A notice of liability order and request for information will be sent to you if you have not paid the summons in full before the court date.

A liability order is made by the court and confirms the amount of debt for which enforcement action may be taken (this will include additional costs).

Once a liability order has been made, the request for information form will ask for details about you, including your employer, earnings, other income and your proposals to pay off the arrears.

You must provide this information within 14 days, unless you make full payment.

Enforcement

The next stage is enforcement. Before we take action we will let you know and tell you how much you owe.

You will be able to stop the enforcement action by making full payment within 14 days.

If you can't pay the full amount, we may be able to agree a payment arrangement (you will need to fill in the request for information form first).

Any of the following can be done by us to recover the debt:

  • attachment of earnings order
  • deduction from Income Support/Job Seekers Allowance/Pension Credit
  • bankruptcy
  • charging Order
  • bailiff
  • committal to Prison

Attachment of earnings order

Once a liability order has been obtained through the Magistrates' Court, we have the power to instruct your employer to make deductions from your earnings.

The deductions are set by legislation and are based on net pay after deductions for income tax, class 1 National Insurance contributions and superannuation contributions.

Weekly earnings

  • not exceeding £75 - 0%
  • exceeding £75 but not exceeding £135 - 3%
  • exceeding £135 but not exceeding £185 - 5%
  • exceeding £185 but not exceeding £225 - 7%
  • exceeding £225 but not exceeding £355 - 12%
  • exceeding £355 but not exceeding £505 - 17%
  • exceeding £505 - 17% in respect of the first £505 and 50% in respect of the remainder

Monthly earnings

  • not exceeding £300 - 0%
  • exceeding £300 but not exceeding £550 - 3%
  • exceeding £550 but not exceeding £740 - 5%
  • exceeding £740 but not exceeding £900 - 7%
  • exceeding £900 but not exceeding £1,420 - 12%
  • exceeding £1,420 but not exceeding £2,020 - 17%
  • exceeding £2,020 - 17% in respect of the first £2,020 and 50% in respect of the remainder.

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