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What happens if I don't pay?

Direct Debit ensures that your payments are made on time every month without you having to remember to pay, you can also choose different payment dates with Direct Debit.  If you would like to make payment by Direct Debit, please contact us.

Your Council Tax is due as detailed on the latest bill you have been sent. if you make payment late or miss any payments we will take action against you and you may incur additional costs. So, if you are having difficulty making payment and you can't afford your instalments, please contact us immediately to see if we can help you.

If your payments are not kept up to date or paid late, we will send you a reminder or final notice. We normally send only one reminder and if you do not make payment as requested, you will lose your right to pay by instalments and you must then pay the full amount due until the end of the year.

If you still do not pay, we will send you a summons to appear in the Magistrates Court and charge you costs.  If the Court decides you are responsible for paying and you have not paid in full, they can issue a Liability Order. This gives us the power to collect the money by:

If you still do not pay we can return to court and ask the Magistrate to order you to pay.  Fareham Borough Council will collect unpaid Council Tax.

On the 4th May 2021, new regulations came into effect to help people in problem debt to better manage their finances. If you would like further information or would like to find out if you are eligible, please see our Breathing Space webpage

Freeman of the Land and Similar Groups and Challenges to the legality of Council Tax

On occasions we are contacted by residents who refer to themselves as "Freeman of the Land" and similar groups, these groups wrongly believe that using an archaic law means they don't have to pay Council Tax, this belief originates from the many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding the legality of Council Tax. If you have any concerns over the charging of Council Tax, please seek proper legal advice, rather than relying on internet sources or forum statements which are incorrect or misleading. 

The groups are under the misapprehension that they are only bound by contracts and laws which they have consented to.  However, they should not confuse law relating to contracts and alleged rights under common law with the Legislation relating to the administration and collection of Council Tax.

You do not have a choice as to whether you are liable for Council Tax and being a 'freeman' does not exempt anyone from paying council tax.   Council Tax is exactly that – a tax that is legally due and enforceable and not a charge for a service nor a request for a contribution to be made to help fund services. In the same way that Income Tax or VAT is non-negotiable, Council Tax is due as billed and in fairness to the majority of our residents who pay, we will take action against those who do not.

Anyone who withholds payment will have recovery action taken against them, in extreme cases this could even lead to committal proceedings, or even a prison sentence, as in the Manchester Magistrates' court vs McKenzie (2015) case, where an individual who attempted to use similar 'freeman on the land' defences in court ended up in prison for 40 days.  Freeman on the Land' jailed for failure to pay Council Tax External Hyperlink

We are here to help all residents, but we reserve the right to refuse to respond to lengthy vexatious and spurious enquires that focus on hypothetical arguments that have no legal basis which use our resources at the expense of the taxpayer. 

Liability for Council Tax is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and the subsequent regulations. An Act of Parliament is a law approved by the House of Commons and the House of Lords and given Royal Assent by the Monarch.  

The Legislation that covers Council Tax is freely available from the Government's website:

Local Government Finance Act 1992   External Hyperlink
The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992   External Hyperlink
The Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011 External Hyperlink 

This is a guide to the types of Legislation Understanding Legislation External Hyperlink 

Freeman on the land arguments have been considered and ruled against by the Courts. For more information see: Freeman on the Land' jailed for failure to pay Council Tax   External Hyperlink

Contact Us

For further information please contact the Council Tax office on Tel: 01329 824651, or e-mail

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Fareham Borough Council, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Hampshire, PO16 7AZ
Tel: +44 (0) 1329 236100 | Mobile Text/Photo: 07860 098627
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