Why have I received a summons?
You would have been sent a Council Tax Summons because, according to our records, the account is in arrears and at least one bill and a reminder have been sent to you previously. If the sum shown on the Summons (including costs) is received in full on your Council Tax account by the day preceding the court hearing, no further action will be taken.
What is a summons?
A summons is an order to attend the magistrate's court, where we will ask the magistrate to grant a Liability Order. This Order allows us to take further action to recover the balance if you do not pay.
What if I disagree with the amount?
Please do not wait until the court date to resolve this. You are encouraged to contact us immediately on 01702 215001 to discuss your account details.
Are you entitled to a Council Tax discount or exemption?
To find out if you may qualify for additional support, please see our website www.southend.gov.uk
What if I am struggling to pay?
Please contact us on 01702 215001 if you are unable to make payment of the balance due in full and want to discuss a payment arrangement. Need extra help? We regularly works with independent bodies that offer our residents financial help and support with matters such as Council Tax. If you further support you may want to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau - www.citizensadvicesouthend.org.uk Tel: 0300 3302103
What happens if I do not pay?
If you cannot make full payment (including costs) listed above by the court date, please contact us between 8.45 and 13.00 Monday to Friday on 01702 215001 to discuss a suitable payment arrangement to prevent these actions being taken. Please note that any arrangement made will not halt action, we will proceed with the hearing to request a Liability Order and the arrangement will be inclusive of the additional £30.00 costs that will be incurred.
Do I need to attend the hearing?
If you do not intend to dispute liability for payment of the amount on the Summons, there is no need to attend the hearing. The Court will not make a financial arrangement with you.
You only need to attend court if you believe you are not liable for the Council Tax charged, or you have a valid defence against a Liability Order, and you have been unable to resolve the matter with us since the Summons Notice was issued.
What is a valid defence against a liability order?
We will always strive to ensure that a summons is only issued when correct, however a defence against an Order would be: We have not asked for the tax due in the correct way, as set out in legislation or the amount on the summons has been paid in full including costs (and a receipt is shown).
It is not a valid defence if: You cannot afford to pay, You have applied for Council Tax Reduction and await an outcome, You have appealed against your council tax band or a discount has not been granted or The balance on the summons has since been reduced, but not cleared, by way of a reduction being awarded, your liability being reduced, or part payment being received
What should I do if I want to attend the Court Hearing?
Contact us first to attempt to resolve the matter, the majority of issues are resolved without the requirement for you to attend a hearing. If for any reason you are unsuccessful in finding a resolution and want to dispute the granting of the order, you should attend the court to provide a defence to the Magistrates.
We may send you a text message if your account falls into arrears, or to assess Council Tax liability. For further information or to opt out please visit www.southend.gov.uk. We will use your information to work out and collect Council Tax, to prepare statistics and for research. We may check your information with other sources. We will only share your information where data protection law allows it. For further information please see our privacy notice at www.southend.gov.uk/dataprotection .