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Failure to pay your council tax


Please contact us as soon as possible if you have difficulty making payments. We will try to help if we can. Please do not ignore the notices we send you, as it will only make matters worse.

If you are on a low income you may be able to get Council Tax Support to help pay your council tax. There are also organisations that can help you with your financial management.

See also

What happens if you do not pay your council tax

  • If you do not pay your instalments when they are due, we will send you a reminder which states that you must pay all instalments you owe within seven days. If you do not, you will lose the right to pay by instalments and you will have to pay the full amount on your account immediately.
  • If you do not pay this amount we will take further action. We will apply to the magistrates court for a summons to be issued against you. This will incur you costs of £115.00, which will be added to the amount you owe us. If we do not receive payment in full we will apply for a liability order against you at the court hearing.
  • Following the court hearing, if a balance of council tax including the court costs remains outstanding, we will instruct our enforcement agents (bailiffs) to collect the debt and this will mean you have additional statutory fees to pay. These enforcement fees can be quite considerable.
  • If your debt is not paid in full, then the costs will increase depending on the action the enforcement agents take.
  • We will only instruct our enforcement agents to collect a debt as a last resort and all other attempts to make an arrangement for payment have failed. We do not want to use the enforcement agents as you will incur additional costs that need to be paid directly to the enforcement agents, on top of your original debt.

Alternative options for recovery of unpaid council tax


We can initiate bankruptcy proceedings through the county court. This will result in all your financial affairs being examined by the court and may result in the control of them being taken out of your own hands.

Charging order on your property

To apply to the county court for a charging order on your property that enables us to force its sale or repay your council tax out of the proceeds of any future sale. This will also result in you paying additional fees. If we have tried all these ways to collect unpaid council tax, and you still have not paid, we can return to court and they may decide to send you to prison.

Related websites

Contact us

Local Taxation Section
London Borough of Merton
PO Box No 559

Account or billing enquiry: 020 8274 4904
Summons enquiry: 020 8274 4905 or 8545 3468
Fax:020 8545 3960

We are no longer able to attend to personal visitors at the Civic Centre. You can email us anytime or telephone between 9am and 5pm.