Does A Council Tax Court Summons Affect Your Credit Rating?

If you want to know whether a council tax court summons will affect your credit rating or not, you will find guidance in the following blog post. In addition to the main point of discussion, we will also explore what can you do if you are unable to pay your council tax dues after a court summons and if you need to attend the court hearing regarding your council tax dues.

Does A Council Tax Court Summons Affect Your Credit Rating?

No, a council tax court summons does not affect your credit rating as it is a Liability Order issued by the local Magistrate’s Court. Had it been granted by the County Court Judgement, there was a possibility of your credit rating being affected as a result of council tax debt.

However, if you are unable to clear your council tax dues and the matter reaches a stage at which the debtor is sentenced to psion time as a result of council tax dues, then your credit rating can also be affected as a consequence.

If you find yourself in any of the below-listed situations, you can expect a council tax Court Summons to be issued in your name:

  • you haven’t paid the correct amount of council tax
  • you have missed your council tax payments more than once
  • your council tax payments have been late

That said, a council tax court summons should not be completely ignored. Even though your credit score will not be affected by it, failure to respond to it can lead to serious consequences.

Once you receive the court summons, the best plan of action is to pay your dues in full. If you are unable to do so, you should agree to a repayment plan via instalments. This means that your options before the due date for a court hearing are

  • to pay your council tax dues in full
  • make a partial payment of your dues and agree to a repayment plan for the remaining amount
  • mutually work out a repayment plan with the council authorities

If you have not been able to accomplish any of these options, you will have to appear in court or a Liability Order will be issued in your name which assigns more authority to local councils for debt recovery. This means that you can expect enforcement agents or bailiffs to come to your house, make certain valuables in their possession and sell them to recover the debt or have the dues deducted from your income or benefits. 

If you continue to miss council tax payments after a court summons and fail to provide a substantial reason for it, the court may sentence you to three months in prison.

What Should You Do If You Cannot Pay According To Your Court Summons?

If you cannot pay back your council tax dues according to your court summons, you can avail of either of these options:

  • you can opt to pay missed instalment(s) plus the cost of the court summons 
  • you can request an instalment-based payment plan for up to 6 months
  • you can request that the amount is deducted from your earnings or benefits 

Otherwise, if you are unable to pay the full amount now or in the near future, you can offer the amount that you can afford to pay as a settlement amount. However, the authorities will assess your financial situation before making a decision and can choose to refuse your offer.

If you are still unsure about how to proceed, you can seek advice from your local council office or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Do You Have To Attend The Court If You Are Issued Council Tax Court Summons?

No, you don’t have to attend the court if you are issued a court summons for council tax arrears. Magistrate Courts will not permit the discussion of a repayment plan or have time for you to explain your financial situation.

You should agree to a repayment plan with your local council authority once a court summons is issued and you can attend the court proceedings if you wish to.

On the other hand, if you have any reason to believe that the court summons has been issued in error, you have been billed incorrectly for your council tax bill or you are not liable for the council tax arrears that you are being summoned for, you should appear in court with evidence that can support your claim. 


The above discussion brings us to the conclusion that a council tax court summons does not affect your credit rating. However, it is still not a matter to be taken lightly. If you are responsible for council tax arrears, you must work with your local council office on a mutually agreed repayment plan or you may have to face severe consequences if you don’t clear your council tax dues even after being issued a court summons.


What happens if you don’t pay your council tax? – What happens at the court hearing? – Teignbridge District Council

council tax summons

Magistrates Court Summons | Sandwell Council