Last updated: 24 April 2024

Next review: 24 April 2025

If you have received a summons and you would like to discuss or query it, please complete the Recovery Query form.

For the avoidance of doubt, if you decide to attend court on the day court security may not be able to grant you access to the Court Building and you may be turned away. You would then be unable to appear by video link on the day or in person and your hearing is likely to continue without you. All hearings will be over the live link. 

Please do not attend Thames Magistrates’ in person on the Hearing Date, as neither Council Staff or Court staff will be available to assist you.

If you wish to challenge the liability order please contact our offices in advance so suitable arrangements can be made for you to appear by remote link.

If you receive a summons because you haven't paid your Council Tax, costs of £87.50 will be added to your account. 

At the court hearing, we'll ask the magistrates to issue a liability order against you. This means that the court agrees that you're liable to pay Council Tax at the property in question. A liability order gives us extra powers to collect the money that you owe. We'll also ask the magistrate to add further costs of £12.00. This means the total costs you will incur will be £99.50.

You can avoid a court hearing if, before the court date, you:

  • pay your debt in full (including the £87.50 costs)
  • accept the arrangement to pay, which is offered on the back of your summons (including the £87.50 and £12.00 costs - if the arrangement goes past the hearing date).
  • check whether you can save money on your Council Tax bill on our discounts, exemptions and reductions webpage
  •  If you have any questions about your account you can call us on 020 8496 3000 or email at you email us, please ensure you quote your Council Tax reference number and the Summons number

If you would like to make an arrangement, you can request this online via Council Tax Connect.

Once you're logged in:

  • click "show details"
  • choose the "make an arrangement" option
  • follow the steps

You have the right to attend the magistrates’ court on the hearing date, for a ‘bulk hearing’. This means we've issued a large number of summonses for the same date and time as yours. The court will only hear individual cases if you have a valid defence against the issue of a summons. The courts decide what is a valid defence.

To help you, we have listed the main defences:

  • the property named on your summons is not shown as an entry in the valuation list
  • the tax has not been properly set
  • the amount has not been demanded in accordance with the statutory provisions
  • the amount demanded has been paid in full
  • more than six years have elapsed since the day on which the sum became due
  • bankruptcy or winding up proceedings have been initiated

The magistrates won't take into account if you are able, or not able, to pay.