What if I do nothing?

Information about what happens if you don’t deal with your fine.

  • Warning


    If you get a fine, don’t ignore it. A fine will not go away if you try and avoid it. You have options for dealing with your fine.

    If your fine becomes overdue, you will have to pay additional costs and Revenue NSW will begin recovery action against you. 

If you get a fine, you must deal with it by the due date.

If you don’t, Revenue NSW will send you a fine reminder notice giving you a further 28 days to respond to it.

If you don’t do anything by the due date on the fine reminder notice, Revenue NSW will send you an overdue fine. The overdue fine will include enforcement costs of $65, or $25.00 if you are under 18 (as at July 2022).

If you don’t pay the overdue fine and enforcement costs, Revenue NSW can take recovery action against you at any time. They can do this even for an offence that was committed many years ago.

You can pay your overdue fine:

  • online
  • by phone
  • by BPAY
  • by cheque or money order
  • in person at an Australia Post Office or Service NSW Service Centre, or
  • using the Service NSW app.

These options will be explained on your fine.

You should keep a record of your payment and any receipts that you are given.

For more information, see Pay your fine

If you can’t pay the full amount all at once, you may be able to set up a payment plan to pay your fine off.

If you are on a Centrelink benefit, such as a pension or JobSeeker payment, you can apply to have fortnightly instalments deducted from your payments automatically through Centrepay. Go to servicesaustralia.gov.au/centrepay for more information.

If you already have a payment plan and you receive another fine, you can request for the new fine to be added to your payment plan. 

If your payment plan application is approved, Revenue NSW won’t take enforcement action against you as long as you make your payments.

For more information, see Pay your fine.

If you have received a fine, you may want to go to court if:

  • you don’t believe you broke the law, or
  • you did break the law, but you have an excuse, and you think the fine is too harsh.

You can do this even if you have paid your fine.

The fine you were given will be cancelled and the Court will decide what penalty you will receive, if any.

For more information, see Go to court.

To apply to have an overdue fine heard in court, you need to prove that you were prevented from paying or managing your fine before the due date - this is called hindrance. You will need to supply supporting evidence, such as medical or travel documents. 

You will also need to show that you took action to manage your fine within a reasonable time once you were no longer hindered from dealing with the fine.

For more information, see Step-by-step guide: Taking an overdue fine to court.

If you have an overdue fine for a traffic offence committed by someone else, you can still name the person responsible.

You must name the person responsible for an offence that carries demerit points.

If Revenue NSW accepts your nomination, the fine and demerit points will be transferred to the person responsible.

For more information, see Name the driver.

You can ask Revenue NSW to review a penalty notice if you believe that you should not have been fined or if you think the fine is unfair. 

Revenue NSW can review any fine. 

You can ask for a review even if you have paid the fine.

If you ask Revenue NSW to review your fine, it will be put on hold until the review is complete.

For more information, see Request a review.

If you can’t pay your fine, you may be able to complete a WDO. 

A WDO involves doing an activity as a way of paying off some or all of your fines. It may include:

  • doing unpaid work
  • completing a course
  • receiving treatment.

Your application for a ​WDO must be supported by an approved organisation or qualified health practitioner. Revenue NSW must approve your application before fines you can start completing activities to pay off your fines.

If you complete your WDO, your fine(s) will be paid. No further enforcement action will be taken against you. 

For more information, see Work and Development Orders.

If you can’t afford to pay your whole fine, you may be able to apply to have your fine reduced by 50%.

Revenue NSW will only reduce your fine if you can’t complete a payment plan or Work and Development Order (WDO).

For more information, see Request a fine reduction.

If you are unable to pay a fine and this is unlikely to change, you can ask Revenue NSW to write off your fine.

If Revenue NSW agrees, you won’t have to pay the fine.

For more information, see Ask to have your fine written-off.

Recovery action

If you don’t deal with your overdue fine, Revenue NSW will start enforcement action against you.

In most cases, Revenue NSW will charge you enforcement costs for every step that it takes during enforcement action.

If Revenue NSW directs the sheriff to take enforcement action against you, you will have to pay the sheriff’s costs.

To avoid recovery action, you should deal with your fine as soon as possible.

If Revenue NSW has started recovery action against you, you can stop it by paying your fine in full. If you can’t afford to pay your fine in full, you have other options for dealing with your fine.

If you have unpaid fines in NSW, Transport for NSW (TfNSW) can suspend your driver licence or visiting driver privilege, and/or cancel your motor vehicle registration.

TfNSW can suspend all types of NSW, interstate, and overseas licences.

Your motor vehicle insurance won’t be cancelled when your registration is.

If you pay your fines in full, your licence or visiting driver privileges suspension, and/or vehicle registration cancellation will be lifted.

You should confirm that Transport for NSW has lifted the suspension or cancellation before you start driving again.

If your licence or registration has expired, you must renew it before you drive.

It is an offence to drive with a suspended, cancelled, or expired licence. Serious penalties apply, including driver licence disqualification, large fines, and imprisonment. The police can also impound your vehicle or confiscate your number plates.

There are also large fines and demerit points for driving an unregistered vehicle.

If you have been caught driving with a suspended or cancelled licence or registration, you should get legal advice.

Revenue NSW can make a Property Seizure Order that allows the sheriff to seize your personal property and sell it to pay your fine.

Before the sheriff seizes your property, they will visit your home and demand you pay your fine. If you pay, the Property Seizure Order will be cancelled.

If you don’t pay, the sheriff will give you a Notice to custodian that lists the property they are going to seize and sell. The sheriff may also attach a notice of seizure to some of your property. You will then have seven days to pay the fine.

The sheriff won’t take your property on the first visit to your home unless they have good reason to believe you will remove the property. It is an offence to remove your property

If you don’t pay the fine, the sheriff will return to your home and seize and sell your property to pay your fine. The sheriff’s costs will be added to the money you owe.

A Property Seizure Order is valid for 12 months.

A garnishee order allows Revenue NSW to take money from your wages or bank accounts to pay your overdue fine(s).

If Revenue NSW garnishes your wages or bank accoun​t, you should get legal advice.

An Examination Notice requires you to provide details about your financial circumstances to Revenue NSW.

If you fail to provide your financial details on the Examination Notice, Revenue NSW can issue an Order for Examination. An Order for Examination requires you attend a Local Court so that a representative of Revenue NSW can ask you questions about your financial situation.

If you are served with an Examination Notice and don’t attend court, a warrant can be issued for your arrest.

If you have been served with an Examination Notice you should get legal advice.

If you own land in NSW, Revenue NSW can register an interest (charge) on your land. A charge on your land means that you can’t sell your land without paying the debt owed to Revenue NSW.

If Revenue NSW has registered a charge on your land, you should get legal advice.

Revenue NSW may send your overdue fine to a private debt collection company for enforcement.

If you receive a visit from a debt collector, you should get legal advice.