Accessibility Statement
Chat icon Chat with us live

Unable to pay your Council Tax


Get back on track with your Council Tax | Debt Advice | What can happen if you don’t pay? | Court Summons | Liability order | Debt Recovery Policy | Council Tax and Freeman of the Land | Online Budget Planner

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax but are not yet in arrears, please contact us on 0161 342 2015 to discuss the support available.

Get back on track with your Council Tax

Need help to get back on track with your council tax bill?

If you have Council Tax arrears or are worried you might fall into arrears, then get in touch with us.

We may be able to change or extend your payment plan, check if you’re entitled to benefits, Council Tax Support or other discounts or exemptions. We can stop things escalating and leading to unpleasant actions and costs.

You can call us on 0161 342 2045 or alternatively complete a budget planner here budget planner and we will use this information to set up an affordable repayment arrangement with you. 

If you require help completing the form please contact the Revenues Service using 0161 342 2045.

Debt Advice

Here are other agencies which offer free advice if you are experiencing financial difficulties:

Citizens Advice Bureau
Tel: 0300 330 9076

National Debt line
Tel: 0808 808 4000

Welfare Rights Debt Advice Service
Tel: 0161 342 3494 if you are experiencing rent or mortgage difficulties.

What can happen if you don’t pay?

If payments are not made in accordance with your bill and you do not pay the instalments that are due, you will be sent a Reminder Notice asking you to bring your payments up to date within 7 days. The full year’s charge will become due if the payments are not brought up to date.

If you pay nothing or continue to pay late and receive a Final Notice, your right to pay by instalments is lost and you will be expected to pay the outstanding balance in full.

If you do not pay the amount outstanding or fail to make an acceptable payment arrangement, we will continue with recovery action.

The Council will apply for a Court Order, called a Liability Order, against anyone who fails to pay following a Reminder or Final Notice.


Court Summons

If you have received a Court Summons you should pay the full amount demanded before the Court date. If full payment is not received the Court will be asked to grant a Liability Order against you.

If you are having difficult paying the full amount, you must contact us immediately using 0161 342 2045 to make an arrangement. Alternatively, you can accept the provisional arrangement included in the summons letter by emailing

If an arrangement is accepted a Liability Order will still be applied for but we won’t take any further action against you if you make payments as agreed.

If you dispute that you owe the amount due, please contact the Council before the Court hearing date.

You do not have to attend court:

  • If you do not dispute that you owe the amount due
  • If a payment arrangement or the full amount is agreed
  • If full payment has been made


Liability Order

A Liability Order allows the Council to deduct money from certain benefits or your wages, or to ask enforcement agency (bailiff) to collect the money from you.

We could also obtain a charging order, take bankruptcy proceedings or committal proceedings.

Debt Recovery Policy

You can find our Debt Recovery Policy here Debt-Recovery-Policy.pdf (

Council Tax and Freeman of the Land

The Freeman of the Land movement and similar groups, commonly believe that they are bound only by statute laws they consent to.

Being a ‘freeman’ does not exempt any person from paying Council Tax. Council Tax is not optional and not something you consent to. If you are liable to pay Council Tax, you must make your payments.

The liability to pay Council Tax falls under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. This is a statute created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown.
For more information see: 

Local Government Finance Act 1992 (

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 (

Your liability for Council Tax is not dependent on, and does not require, your consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the Council. There is no legal basis to make an argument against this. Freeman of the land arguments have been considered and ruled against by the courts and anyone who withholds payment, will have recovery action taken against them.

For more information see: ‘Freeman on the Land’ jailed for failure to pay council tax (

On occasion a liable person is convinced that using archaic law/s means they don’t have to pay Council Tax and there are many misleading and factually incorrect articles and templates on the internet regarding the legality of Council Tax. Anyone drawing on these for advice should exercise caution and seek their own independent legal advice before using them as a defence in a Magistrates Court against Council Tax liability based on contract, consent and common law.

If you have any concerns regarding the charging of Council Tax, please seek your own independent legal advice, rather than relying on internet sources or forum statements which may be incorrect or misleading.

While we do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about Council Tax, we reserve the right to refuse to respond to lengthy spurious enquiries that focus on hypothetical arguments that have no basis in statute which use significant resources at the expense of other Council Tax payers. This includes Freeman of the Land letters and notices served on the Council’s Chief Executive, Executive Leader or Director of Resources with the same misleading reasoning.

Your Council Tax payments support the funding of vital services delivered by the Council used daily by its residents.