You can pay your council tax by direct debit, online, by phone, by post, or in person.

You can now choose to pay over 12 monthly instalments instead of 10.

Your bill shows how much council tax you have to pay. Payments should be received on or before the date they are due. Please allow at least three working days for the payment to reach our account.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Ways to pay your council tax

By Direct Debit

You can choose to pay on the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th or 25th of each month.

You can sign up to Direct Debit online, or set it up by phone. Call 0345 302 2312 and we'll take your bank details and set your Direct Debit up there and then.

Once you have signed up we'll send you a confirmation letter that includes a copy of the Direct Debit guarantee. We'll also give you at least 10 working days notice of the amounts that will be debited from your bank account.

You must continue to make payments as shown on your bill until you are told the Direct Debit is set up.

Pay online

Pay your council tax online on our payments page.

By credit or debit card

Call 020 8290 2086. This automated service is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Full instructions on how to use this service is given when you call.

By internet or phone banking

All the information you need to pay is on the back of your bill.

In person

You can pay at any bank, Post Office or PayPoint outlet.

You can also pay by credit or debit card in person at our customer centres in Brixton and Streatham, open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Our cashiers offer a free service for payment by cash, cheque or credit and debit cards (not American Express).

You must take your payment slips or bill with you.

Please allow at least three working days for the payment to reach our account.

If paying at a Post Office you will have to pay their standard charge.

Banks may also make a charge for payment at their branches.

PayPoint outlets take cash payment only but the service is free.

By post

Send a cheque or postal order made payable to 'London Borough of Lambeth' to:

Lambeth Cashiers Service
PO Box 67060
18 Brixton Hill
London
SW2 9HQ

Please write your account number on the back and enclose a payment slip. Do not send cash. Post dated cheques are not accepted.

We will pursue all avenues to collect council tax from those who refuse to pay, and in some instances this has resulted in bankruptcy for people who have persistently refused to pay. While court action is always a last resort, we are mindful that every pound not paid is a pound we cannot spend on services.

2. Problems paying your council tax

If you do not pay your council tax instalments in full and on time, you will be sent a reminder.

If your account has reached this stage and you are having difficulty paying it is important that you email us at counciltax@lambeth.gov.uk or call us on 0345 302 2312, as soon as possible.

It may be that you should receive a discount or should apply for council tax support - if you contact us you will be advised accordingly. It may also be possible for you to make a different payment arrangement.

Received a council tax reminder?

The terms of a reminder are that you must bring your account up to date within seven days of receiving it. If in a further seven days your account is still in arrears, you will lose your right to pay by instalments.

This means that the whole balance of your account becomes due immediately. Any further delay in payment will result in a court summons being issued. As soon as the summons is issued, court costs of £122 are added to your account.

Possible court action

If you pay in full at this point, (including any costs), nothing further will happen. The court will be informed that you have paid and the case is automatically stopped. If any debt remains on your account on the hearing day, the case will go ahead.

In the vast majority of cases the district judge will issue a Liability Order. This confirms that you have to pay and grants us permission to take formal recovery action. We will also ask for a further amount of court costs, usually £5, to be added to your account.

Collecting outstanding council tax

We are legally obliged to collect all outstanding council tax. We have a rigorous approach to collection and will use all the methods of recovery that are available to us. We employ a team especially to do this.

We can use any of the following methods of recovery:

  • Attachment of benefit - job seekers allowance (JSA) or income support.
  • Attachment of earnings - an order will be served on your employer to deduct sums from your salary or wages and pay it directly to the council.
  • Bailiffs - who will write and call to enforce payment on you. If necessary the bailiff will seize your goods for sale at auction, sufficient to cover your debt. They will also add their own charges to your account.

If these prove unsuccessful, we can apply for you to be declared bankrupt or committed to prison, or we can obtain a charging order against your property.

Settling your arrears

If at any time you wish to settle your arrears (link to new how to pay page) you may do so.

You should email us at counciltax@lambeth.gov.uk or call us on 0345 302 2312 to advise us what you are doing so that any action we might be taking can be reconsidered.