I need to dispute liability for Council Tax
If you have received a Reminder, Final Notice, Summons or any post Liability Order notices of action including 14 Day Notice (Pre-Enforcement Agent Notification), Attachment of Earnings, Deduction from Benefits, Bankruptcy, Charging Order or Committal, and you believe the liability is incorrect you need to tell us immediately. No changes will be made to an account until the dispute is investigated and all requested information is provided. Sandwell Council reserves the right to continue to collect any balances outstanding until an amendment is made to your account.
At any stage
If you believe you are being billed incorrectly, because of issues such as Valuation Banding, Discounts, Exemptions Etc. please follow the links from our main page to tell us accordingly
If you believe you have made a payment to us recently that may not have been taken into account please check your current balance at our payments page as your account may have been updated since the notice was issued to you.
Or check a history of all your payments using My Council Tax Online service to see your payment history, charges and details of your account as your account may have been updated since the notice was issued to you.
If you believe you should have Council Tax Reduction to cover the amount you are being asked to pay then you must tell us immediately. You can check your Benefit claim online, make a claim and obtain further information and advice. Please note that you still need to pay any Bill, Reminder or Summons as requested on the notice even if you are awaiting a review of your Benefit award and we will still take appropriate action on accounts with outstanding balances whilst a Council Tax Reduction claim or review is pending.
At Summons Stage:
Your Summons will state a court hearing date and time. Although you have a right to attend court to make a legal defence, it is not a requirement for you to be there. If you do attend, Sandwell Council will not reimburse loss of earnings or travel costs to get there. You will be summonsed for the full years balance not yet paid.
If you attend court you will always speak to a council officer first. Most will make an arrangement. As it is not a requirement to attend court you can make an arrangement online.
Please note that if you do not attend court and also fail to make a Special Arrangement we may take further action against you.
You may also lodge a dispute with the council officer at court, in writing to our offices, via our online service or by phone, if you are unable to resolve it through the options earlier in this page.
After Sandwell Council have obtained a Liability Order:
If you have received a Request for Financial Information along with your 14 Day Notice (Pre-Enforcement Agent Notification) you can either return the form to us or complete an online Request for Financial Information form.
Once you have submitted a Request for Financial Information you can make a Special Arrangement.
Once a Liability order has been obtained there are several courses of action open to Sandwell Council.
Please see the appropriate links for further information on these. You can still dispute liability whilst being subject to any of the forms of recovery. Please read the following and then, if appropriate, follow the steps at the start of this page.
• Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs)
• Attachment of Earnings Order - Your employer cannot deal with disputes regarding liability, you must inform the Authority if you wish to open a dispute. However, if you have questions regarding the amount taken from your wages/salary your employer will be best placed to explain how they have worked out the appropriate deduction.
• Attachment of Earnings Guide for Employers
• Deductions from Income Support/Job Seeker's Allowance/Pension Credit/Employment Support Allowance - The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) cannot deal with disputes regarding liability, you must tell Sandwell Council if you want to open a dispute. However, if you have questions regarding the amount taken from your benefits, the DWP will be best placed to explain how they have worked out the appropriate deduction.
• Other Recovery methods
Bankruptcy – Our Contact Centre and Counter staff are unable to assist you if you are currently being made bankrupt by the Council. You must contact the appropriate person who will be detailed on the last letter served to you by either Sandwell Council or our appointed solicitors.
Please note if you are looking to raise a dispute because you have been made Bankrupt by another party or have petitioned your own bankruptcy, Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) or Debt Relief Order (DRO) you must submit details of this to Sandwell Council in writing or in person immediately. This will then be investigated and you will be contacted accordingly.
Charging Order or Committal to Prison - Our Contact Centre and Counter staff are unable to assist you if you are currently under either of these forms of action by the Council. You must contact the appropriate person who will be detailed on the last letter served to you by either Sandwell Council or our appointed solicitors immediately.
Costs are added to cover the additional expense of taking action and recovering outstanding balances from you. They are also paid to Her Majesty’s Court Service to cover the costs incurred by them in awarding a Liability Order. These will not be removed if they have been incurred correctly.