Why have I got a summons? I always pay my Council Tax

Council Tax is due to be paid on or before the 8th of the month and if you pay late your account is in arrears. Government law allows you to pay by monthly instalments. It also allows us to take action if you do not pay when the instalments are due. You will already have been sent reminders about unpaid instalments and a Final Notice, giving ample time to bring payments up to date, or raise any queries on your Council Tax account.

We collect Council Tax on behalf of East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police and East Sussex Fire Authority and for services provided directly by Rother District Council.

Non-payment and late payment costs those who do pay, more money.

I have received a Summons; I can pay the sum overdue will this stop further action?

At this stage, your right to pay by the instalments shown on your bill has been cancelled. The full sum, including costs, must be paid and receipted by the Council by the day before the court hearing date, to stop the application for a Liability Order. If you are paying through the bank, or by post you need to ensure that your payment has reached us by the date shown to stop further action. Sorry but we cannot allow for delays in the post.

I have received a summons but cannot pay the full sum before the hearing date – but I can pay shortly afterwards

If you can pay the full sum within 2 weeks of the hearing date, the application for a Liability Order will still be made before the Court, costs will be incurred but no further action will be taken provided the payment is received. If the payment is not then received, the Liability Order will be invoked.

I have paid some money in the last few days that is not showing on this notice

The summons is still valid and costs incurred but you will have less to pay.

Why do I have to pay costs?

It costs the Council money to issue reminders, Final Notices and to make applications for Liability Orders from the Magistrates Court. The cost of the summons action, currently £80.00 in each case, must be passed onto you, not to other Taxpayers who pay their Council Tax on time. Further costs of £20.00 will be incurred on the issue of a Liability Order.

I have received a summons and my circumstances have changed

If the change will not affect the monetary value of the account, such as your name has changed, you should still pay the summons. Let us know so we can amend our records.

If you have moved within Rother District Council area, and will continue to be liable, you should still pay the summons. Let us know so we can amend our records. Any overpayment will be offset against Council Tax due at your new address.

I have received a summons for non-payment of Council Tax but I am waiting to hear about Council Tax Reduction

Council Tax is payable as demanded until we have calculated what Council Tax Reduction you will get. Any sum overpaid after the Reduction is awarded would be refunded.

What will happen at the Magistrates Court?

The Council representative will request the issue of a Liability Order. If the Magistrates are satisfied that the amount claimed by the Council remains unpaid, the Order will be granted.

What powers do the council have once a Liability Order has been granted?

If a summons has been issued and the Court grants a liability order for the debt, Rother District Council can enforce the collection of this balance in a number of different ways. Initially the tax payer has 14 days to clear the full balance including added costs. If you have received a liability order then please make contact with the Recovery department at the earliest opportunity on 01424 787000

If payment is not received then the Council has the options listed below:

Recovery OptionDetails
Instalment planAn arrangement can be completed which re-instates an instalment plan. This will include summons and liability order costs. This is purely at the discretion of the Council and may not always be offered. If this arrangement is defaulted then further action will follow

Enforcement Agent referral


Enforcement Agents can be instructed to collect the debt on behalf of the Council. If this action is selected then further fees will be incurred by the debtor. For more information regarding these fees, please see the below document.Enforcement Agent Fee Structure If you have received a visit from Chandlers or Stanford and Green, then please contact them directly to discuss your account. Their website addresses are below;



Attachment of earnings orderYour employer will deduct a percentage of money from your wages to pay off the outstanding Council Tax on the liability order.
Attachment to BenefitA standard amount of your benefits are deducted from your entitlement to pay off the outstanding Council Tax on the liability order.
Charging orderA charging order can be placed on the tax payers property so that when the property is sold or re-mortgaged the value of the liability order will be settled from the proceeds. In some instances the Council can force the sale of the property.
Committal to PrisonWhere Enforcement Agents have been unable to secure payment and no other option is available the taxpayer will be summoned to appear at a Magistrates court hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to consider if the tax payer has shown neglect in paying or refused to pay their Council tax. The Magistrates will then consider the Council’s application for commitment to prison. The maximum term of imprisonment where culpable neglect of wilful refusal is found, is three months.


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