If you are unable to pay your Business Rates please contact us immediately. We may be able to offer alternative payment arrangements and check you are getting any reductions you are entitled to. Do not ignore the debt - it will not go away!
Alternative payment arrangements can be made over weekly, fortnightly or four weekly plans. Monthly instalments can also be paid over 12 months, see Business Rates Payments for full details.
Failure to pay
- If you miss an instalment we will send you a reminder giving you seven days to bring your payments up to date
- If you make this payment but miss another instalment we will send you a final notice telling you to pay the full balance for the year
- If you do not make the payment requested in your reminder, we will start recovery action and further costs will be added
- We can apply to the Magistrates' court for a Liability Order. The court will send you a summons telling you the amount outstanding; including costs and the date the court will make a decision. If a summons is issued, additional court costs will be payable.
- If you cannot pay in full, including the costs, before the court hearing, contact us to discuss an arrangement. We will still have to obtain the court order.
- If you think the debt is wrong let us know straight away - do not wait until the court hearing.
- You have the right to attend court and give evidence if you think the debt is incorrect.
What happens at the court hearing?
We will ask the court to issue a Liability Order against you. The court will not consider offers of payment - you have to discuss those with us. You have the right to attend Court and give evidence if you believe you are not liable to pay the debt.
After the Liability Order has been granted
If you contact us we may still agree a payment arrangement. However, if there is a more efficient alternative available, we have a legal duty to enforce the order. Here are the range of options we can use:
- We can use Enforcement Agents to collect any money owed. If we have to refer your debt to an Enforcement Agent, you will incur an immediate fee of £75.00.
The Enforcement Agent may enter into a controlled goods agreement with you. This means they will make a list of goods in your property up to the value of the debt and their costs. You will have to sign the agreement and there will be additional fees to pay. If you break the agreement with the Enforcement Agent they will re-enter your property to take control of the goods. They will then be sold to help pay your outstanding debt - further costs will be added if this happens.
If the Enforcement Agent's action is unsuccessful, we can apply to make you bankrupt. This could mean your assets, including your home, being sold to pay your debts and the costs of this action.
- We can make an application for your committal to prison for 90 days, if this happens you will have all the court costs and the debt to pay.
- In certain in circumstances we can commence bankruptcy/insolvency proceedings.
The GOV.UK web site offers advice on avoiding business cash flow problems.