Dacorum Borough Council collected almost £2 million in two years by referring thousands of people to bailiffs, new figures show.
Figures obtained by the Money Advice Service say the authority issued 3,890 bailiff instructions against residential properties and consumers and 181 against businesses in the last 12 months.
The instructions covered 6.33 per cent of the council’s 61,424 residential properties and 4.07 per cent of its 4,451 commercial properties, the figures state.
The authority now says it has only made 1,740 bailiff referrals in the past 12 months, down from 2,702 between March 2011 and February 2012.
But it has confirmed using bailiffs to collect £199,000 in business rates and £679,000 in council tax payments in the 2012 to 2013 financial year.
The figures are down from the £264,000 in business rates and £821,000 in council tax taken using bailiffs during the previous financial year, the authority says.
Group manager for revenues, benefits and fraud Chris Baker said a taxpayer will receive up to six warning letters before a bailiff is called in.
He said: “We don’t want to use bailiffs and only involve them as a last resort when all our attempts to contact the tax-payer have been ignored.
“We have a duty to our citizens to recover taxes owed to us, in order to fund important local services, and to keep tax levels lower across the borough.”
He said each warning letter urges taxpayers to get in touch to discuss support and benefits they may be entitled to before bailiffs are contacted.
Anyone who is struggling to pay council tax, rent or business rates is asked to ring the council on 01442 228000.