Business rates arrears and debt recovery

If you are having difficulty or think you may have difficulty paying your business rates, please contact us for advice as soon as possible. 

Your business rates bill tells you how much you have to pay for the year and the dates you have to pay it.

If you haven’t spoken to us about a problem paying your bill and you miss an instalment, we will ask you for payment. We do not know whether you have made a payment until it actually arrives on your account.

Reminder notice

When you don't pay an instalment of business rates by the date it is due, we will send you a reminder, asking for payment within seven days.

If you still don’t pay, you will lose the right to pay by instalments and you will have to pay the rest of the year's business rates in one go. 

If you pay the amount you owe but you fall behind with your instalments again we will send a final notice.

Final notice

The final notice gives you seven days to pay the full amount of business rates for the rest of the year. The final notice will tell you how much this will be.

If the business rates are not paid after a reminder or final notice have been sent, we will make a complaint to the Magistrates Court and a summons will be issued, which will add costs to your account.

If you have difficulty paying your business rates at any time, please contact us straight away. We are here to help, but once a summons has been issued the options are limited, and payment arrangements will include costs.

Summons

If you don’t pay your business rates after you have been sent a reminder notice or final notice, we make a complaint to the Magistrates Court, and a summons is issued.

A summons is a court document telling you the date and time that the magistrates will consider whether they should issue a liability order against you, and where the hearing will take place.

It will also tell you the total amount that you owe, the financial years it relates to, and the costs you will have to pay. If you make payment of the full amount shown on the summonses, including costs before the court hearing, we will not proceed with the application for a liability order.

A liability order is a demand for you to pay the full amount you owe, plus total costs of £100. It gives the council greater powers to collect the money you owe using a range of methods.

If a liability order is made, or if you set up a payment arrangement and don’t keep to it, we will take further action to recover the amount you owe. This could include enforcement agent action, committal proceedings or bankruptcy proceedings.

Do you owe business rates?

If you owe business rates, you can ask for a payment arrangement to clear the amount you owe.

Enforcement agents

If you have not contacted us by the time the magistrates issue a liability order, we will ask enforcement agents to collect the outstanding sum of money. We will also instruct enforcement agents if other arrangements to collect the money fail, for example if you make an arrangement to pay but don’t keep to it.

The enforcement agents will add the costs of doing this to the total they collect from you. The more action they have to take, the more the costs will be.

As soon as we refer your liability order to enforcement agents, £75 costs will be added to the amount due. Additional fees will be added, based on the action the Enforcement Agents take and the amount of money owed. The amounts of fees the enforcement agent can charge are prescribed in legislation and are not at the discretion of the enforcement agents or the council. 

Once the enforcement agent has been instructed, you will have to deal with him or her direct. Any payments or requests for an arrangement must be made directly with the enforcement agent. 

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