Why have I received a summons?
You would have been sent a Council Tax Summons because, according to Council 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 the Council will ask the magistrate to grant a Liability Order. This Order allows the Council 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 the Council 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 the Council on 01702 215001 if you are unable to make payment of the balance due in full and wish to discuss a payment arrangement. Need extra help? The Council 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 wish to contact Peabody or the Citizens Advice Bureau: www.peabodycareandsupport.org.uk/southend-floating-support/ Tel: 01702 445870 or 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 the Council 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, the Council 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 the Council since the Summons Notice was issued.
What is a valid defence against a liability order?
The Council will always strive to ensure that a summons is only issued when correct, however a defence against an Order would be: The Council has 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 wish to attend the Court Hearing?
Contact the Council 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 wish to dispute the granting of the order, you should attend the court to provide a defence to the Magistrates.
The Council 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 .