Problems paying?

We want to help you to pay your council tax, this could mean supporting you in claiming Council Tax Support, offering you 12 installments instead of 10 and working with you to make an arrangement that you can afford in order to pay your bill.

If you are having any difficulty paying or think you may have difficulty paying in the future please contact us as soon as possible so we may discuss ways of helping you. Or complete the problems paying council tax form and send it to: Slough Borough Council, Benefits Service, PO Box 1032, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 3YT.

We can make an agreement at any time during the year on the way that you pay us in order to ensure that your Council Tax is paid. It is best to contact us and to discuss ways of paying before we issue a summons as this will cost you more money, (please see 'What happens if I don't pay' below).

You can make a formal arrangement after a Summons has been issued. We may ask for details of your income and outgoings to help us assess an arrangement you can afford and keep to.

Remember that paying by direct debit ensures that your payments are made on time every month. There is a choice of three dates: the 1st, 15th and the 25th of the month.

What happens if you don't pay

If you pay late we will send you a reminder, advising you to bring your instalments up to date, if you fail to do this, you will lose your right to pay by instalments and the full balance will fall due.

We will only send you two reminders in the year, if you fail to pay on time a third time, you will lose your right to pay by instalments immediately.

You must then pay the full balance outstanding and if you do not pay this we will send you a summons to appear in the Magistrates Court, for which you will incur additional costs.

The magistrate will grant a liability order if the full amount on the summons including costs remains unpaid.

The magistrate cannot decide whether you are the correct liable person or make any decisions about your council tax benefit or your entitlement to a discount or exemption.

These are matters which must be dealt with via the appeal process and you must continue to pay pending resolution.

A liability order enables us to collect the unpaid council tax from you via:

  • deductions from your benefit: Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Pension Credit
  • deductions direct from your salary from your employer
  • Appointing bailiffs to remove and sell your possessions (this may lead to additional fees being incurred)
  • commencing insolvency proceedings through the County Court to make you bankrupt
  • applying 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
  • as a method of last resort, we may apply for a warrant of commitment to send you to prison.

If you're having difficulty paying

Council tax hardship

The council has a discretionary power to allow extra help with your council tax to relieve hardship.

The fund for extra help is limited and is a completely separate fund to the Discretionary Housing Payment for Housing Benefit.

All requests for hardship relief will be considered on an individual basis and decisions will be made in accordance with the policy where the council is satisfied that:

  • the ratepayer will suffer hardship if the relief is not granted
  • there is a direct benefit to the ratepayer, or the community, and there is no adverse impact to other ratepayers or the community as a result of awarding relief
  • the cost to local taxpayers is proportional to the benefits to the community.

How to apply

If you are experiencing exceptional hardship and would like to apply please complete the problems paying council tax form.

Applications must be made in writing by the person liable for council tax and you may be asked to provide all/some of the following information:

  • evidence of hardship or personal circumstances that justifies a reduction in council tax liability
  • evidence that you have taken reasonable steps to resolve the situation prior to the application
  • you can show you do not have access to other assets that could be used to pay council tax
  • all other eligible discounts/reliefs have been awarded to you
  • if you are liable for council tax on a long term unoccupied domestic property, you must show you have made your best efforts to sell or let the property and to impose a council tax charge would cause you exceptional financial hardship
  • the council’s finances allow for a reduction to be made and it is reasonable to do so in light of the impact on other council tax payers.