Check If You Qualify

Council Tax Arrears and Sheriff Summary Warrants Explained

Sharon McDougall - Updated - 22nd April 2024 - 3 minutes to read

Understanding Sheriff Summary Warrants

Set procedures exist for the recovery of council tax arrears in Scotland. If the initial and final council tax reminders are not paid, or you do not respond to the communication, it is likely that a Summary Warrant will be received from the sheriff’s office.

A Summary Warrant is a formal statement detailing how much money you owe, and informing that this amount is now due to the sheriff’s office rather than your local council. To help you understand your situation, below is a short timeline of possible communications and reminders.

When do you receive an initial reminder?

Missing one of your council tax instalments will result in a reminder, giving you seven days in which to pay. Should you fail to make payment in this timescale, the entire amount becomes due. Defaulting on three payments within a financial year will lead to the automatic removal of your right to pay by instalments.

Scotland Debt Calculator

Get a rough indication of what your repayments might be under each of our different debt solutions.

Your Total Debt

£0 - £5,000

£5,000 - £10,000

£10,000 - £20,000


Your Employment Status

I am employed

I am self-employed

I am unemployed

I am a student

I am retired

Your Total Monthly Income

£0 - £1,000

£1,000 - £2,000

£2,000 - £3,000


What can you pay monthly towards your debt?

£0 - £100

£100 - £200

£200 - £300


What happens when you receive a final notice for payment?

Should you fail to pay an instalment, even after a reminder, a final notice will be received for the total annual amount. This gives you 14 days to either pay what is due, or to arrange a new repayment schedule by contacting the council directly. The original instalment scheme is now no longer available to you.

What is a Summary Warrant?

A Summary Warrant is essentially a certificate that confirms how much you owe in council tax. The sheriff’s office increases the total amount by 10% to reflect the fact that they have taken over responsibility for chasing the debt. The Summary Warrant will tell you who to pay, as well as how much.

On receipt of a Summary Warrant, it is highly advisable to contact the sheriff’s office noted on the document as soon as possible, to arrange a new repayment schedule. Failure to do so will mean enforcement action being taken against you.

When considering how much to offer by way of repayment, it is better to pay a smaller amount over an extended period of time if possible, so that you do not get into further financial difficulty.

What happens if you receive a charge for payment?

A charge for payment will be sent out if you fail to contact the sheriff office noted on your Summary Warrant. You have 14 days to pay, after which time enforcement action may be taken against you. This could potentially include arrestment of your earnings, or money in your bank account.

Sheriff officers may also be entitled to seize non-essential goods from your home if they are granted an Exceptional Attachment Order. You can apply for extra time to pay, however, which could postpone any planned enforcement action and give you valuable time to seek professional debt advice.

We can help if you have received a Summary Warrant and are unsure about how to proceed. Scotland Debt Solutions provides guidance on how to deal with debt, and can let you know the extent of sheriff officer powers in Scotland. We have offices throughout the country, and offer a free initial meeting.

facebook colour icon twitter colour icon linkedin colour icon messenger colour icon whatsapp colour icon email colour icon
Sharon McDougall Square

Sharon McDougall


Other Articles

Can I borrow money whilst I’m in a Trust Deed? Can I Borrow Money

Can I borrow money whilst I’m in a Trust Deed?

Borrowing money when you’re already deeply in debt requires careful consideration, and consultation with your trustee, as there are various factors associated with further borrowing in this situatio...

Your guide to getting a mortgage after a Trust Deed Guide to get a mortgage

Your guide to getting a mortgage after a Trust Deed

If you’re about to be discharged from a Trust Deed, you may be wondering to what extent your ability to obtain a mortgage has been affected.

What is an inhibition court order in Scotland? Court Order

What is an inhibition court order in Scotland?

If you’ve lost your job, state benefits and tax credits can provide vital financial support to see you through this tough time and help you avoid taking on too much debt while you look for more work...


Why Choose Us

Usp Discussion

Speak Direct With

A Qualified Adviser


We Don't Operate

Call Centres

Usp Location

5 Offices in Scotland

National Coverage

Usp House

Ask us About

Home Visits

Usp Award

Fully Regulated Advisors

From a Reputable Firm

Usp Hand Heart

Helping Scots Get

Out of Debt Since 1989

We'll give you a call

Our Scottish based team can help advise you on your debt problems.

Here at Scotland Debt Solutions we take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to contact you with regards to your enquiry. We will not use your information for marketing purposes. See our Privacy Policy.


Useful Tools

Personalised Debt Report
Usp Planner

Personalised Debt Report

Our personalised debt report will help you better understand your financial position and see where your money is going.

Debt Report
Instant Scheduled Call & WhatsApp

Instant Scheduled Call & WhatsApp

Arrange a call with an expert advisor at a time to suit you or contact our team via WhatsApp for immediate help and advice.

Arrange Callback
Find a Local Office
Usp Signpost

Find a Local Office

We have five offices located across Scotland. Find your nearest one here.

Find an Office


We can help you with...



Sequestration is the Scottish version of bankruptcy and may be suitable for you if you do not have the money to pay back your debts

Find out More
Trust Deeds in Scotland

Trust Deeds in Scotland

A Trust Deed involves making a monthly contribution to your debts for up to four years. After this time any remaining debt included in the Trust Deed will not need to be paid.

Find out More
Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

A Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) lets you pay off your debt through a series of manageable instalments over a reasonable length of time.

Find out More
Business Debts
Icon Briefcase

Business Debts

Whether you are a sole trader or a limited company director, we can help you work through your current financial problems including money owed to HMRC

Business Debts

Our Insolvency Practitioners are regulated by ICAS or the IPA and our firm is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Fees and Information: There are fees associated with our services. These will be fully explained before entering into any of the personal debt solutions referred to on this website. Full details of our fees and how these are charged are fully explained to you prior to you committing to any particular service.

ICAS Insolvency Practitioners