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Council Tax - Summons for non-payment

Information for people who have received a Summons for Non-Payment of your Council Tax

If you receive a Summons for Non-Payment of your Council Tax then please take time to read this information about what you need to do.

You should then contact the Credit Control Team on 01205 314353 and they will be able to help you.


Please note that you will not be allowed to enter the court building unless you have a pre-booked time slot with Boston Borough Council.

Subject: Council Tax - Application for a Liability Order to be granted against you

Boston Borough Council has summonsed you to court for unpaid council tax.

It means that we will ask the court to grant a liability order for unpaid council tax. A liability order means that the court agrees that you owe the money and that the council can take steps to collect it. These steps could include taking control of goods, or taking the money out of your wages or benefit.

You have five options:

  1. Pay off the amount on the summons in full. That will end the case.
  2. Do nothing. The council will ask the court to make the liability order in your absence.
  3. If you accept that you owe the money, you can make an agreement with the council about how to pay it (usually by instalments). If you make an agreement to pay with the council, we will still ask the court for a liability order. If you keep to the agreement we will not take any other steps (taking control of goods etc). To make an agreement you should contact us immediately to talk about it, rather than waiting for the court hearing. If you do that, you will probably not need to attend the court hearing as the Council will ask the court to make the liability order in your absence. Then we will collect the money as you and the Council have agreed. You can speak to us by calling Credit Control on 01205 314353.
  4. Explain to us why you believe you are not liable, you might be able to reach an agreement. If that's not possible then talk to the officer and they will arrange a time when you can go to the court. Please contact Credit Control on 01205 314353.
  5. If, after reading the guidance notes, you believe you have a good defence and want to go to court, you must contact us on 01205 314353. We will contact the Court on your behalf to book an appropriate time to attend. We can only allow a few people in the building at a time, due to the risk of COVID-19. Please note, you will not be allowed to enter the court building unless you have pre-booked a time slot with Boston Borough Council first. This is a safety precaution for you and other court users.

Challenging a Council Tax Liability Order

What the council must prove

To make a liability order the council must show that:

  • Your property is shown in the Council Tax Banding List. It is not a valid defence to a liability order to say you do not agree with your council tax band. But, you can appeal against your band to the Valuation Office.  If you are successful, you will receive a refund on your payment.
  • The council has advertised the council tax in a local newspaper.
  • A bill and a reminder have been posted to the correct address. It is not a defence to say that you did not receive it. The council just have to prove that they sent it to the right address.
  • You have not paid the tax, or part of it. If you have paid the tax, but not the costs, the council can still ask for a liability order and use it to collect the costs.

If the magistrates decide that it is likely that these things are true, they must make a liability order.

Defences to a liability order

There are only two reasons why a court will not issue a liability order. These are:

  • The council has not done the things they are supposed to in the top three bullet points above; or
  • You have paid the amount in full, including costs.

Things which are not defences to a liability order

The Magistrates cannot take into account the following:

  • Whether the council was right to order you to pay council tax on your house;
  • Whether you should pay the tax;
  • Whether the amount claimed is wrong;
  • Whether you should get council tax support
  • Whether your council tax support has been worked out correctly.

You can appeal against these questions to the Billing Authority or a Tribunal. But you can't raise them in a liability order hearing.