Business Rates is a priority debt. This means that you should prioritise payment of your Business Rates over unsecured loans or credit card repayments. You must pay on time as per your Annual Demand Notice. If you fail to pay, we will take steps to recover the money due. You will also forfeit your right to instalments.
Let us know if you're struggling to pay
If you're struggling to pay your Business Rates, please contact us on 01733 452252 to discuss before your account gets into arrears. We may be able to spread your instalments over 12 months. We can also check to see that you are getting any reliefs or exemptions that you may be entitled to. This may prevent additional charges accruing.
To see if you're entitled to any reliefs or exemptions, please visit our Business Rates Relief page.
Money advice and debt help
If you have debt problems or need help with your finances, please view one of the following websites for information and support:
- Business and finance support on the GOV.UK website
- Business debts factsheet on the National Debtline website
Process and procedures for recovering Business Rates debt
Below is the process and procedures we use for recovering Business Rates debt.
If you receive a reminder, you have not paid your instalment on or before the day it is due.
If we don't receive the requested payment within seven days of the date of the reminder, you will lose your right to pay by instalments. The full amount becomes due within a further seven days. If the full amount remains unpaid, a summons will be issued for the entire year's bill without any further notice.
If you receive a second reminder, you have not paid another instalment within seven days on or before the day it is due.
If we don't receive the requested payment within seven days of the date of the reminder, after a further seven days you will forfeit your right to instalments. A summons will be issued for the entire year's bill without any further notice.
No further reminders will be issued throughout the Business Rates year.
A final notice is sent when you have received and paid two reminders and have fallen into arrears for the third time. The final notice requires payment of the entire balance for the year.
If the entire year's balance is not paid within seven days, a summons will be issued.
A summons is a legal notice to start official debt recovery proceedings against you. Once a summons has been issued to you, if you wish to avoid the Council obtaining a Liability Order against you, you will need to pay your Business Rates in full, including the £81.50 court costs.
If you are unable to make payment in full, please contact us on 01733 452252 to discuss. You do not need to attend the Magistrates Court. If you believe that you have a valid dispute to the Liability Order being made, please contact the council BEFORE the hearing on the telephone number detailed above. The following are not legal disputes against the issue of a liability order:
- Cannot afford to pay
- Have applied for Business Rates Relief
- Have appealed to the Valuation Office against your Business Rates Valuation
Once we have obtained a Liability Order and if the debt has not been paid in full or an arrangement been agreed, then we have the right to recover debt in any of the following ways:
- Enforcement Agents
- Changing Order and Order of Sale
If a payment arrangement is not made and the balance of your debt remains due, then we may pass your account to an Enforcement Agent for collection. The Enforcement Agents will issue a Notice of Enforcement to you giving you a set period of time to make contact. This carries a statutory fee of £75 which is added to the balance that the Enforcement Agent Team have been instructed to collect. To avoid escalating costs, we strongly recommend that you contact the Enforcement Agents as a matter of urgency to discuss a mutually acceptable resolution. If you ignore the notice of enforcement sent to you, an Enforcement Agent will attend your property to collect payment in full, set an arrangement, or remove goods. This visit will add a further £235 (plus 7.5% of the sum being recovered which exceeds £1,500). *Fees as at January 2024.
The Council can instigate bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings against individuals and companies that owe debts of more than £5,000. This will commence by the Council issuing a Statutory Demand which gives you 21 days to pay in full.
Charging Order and Order of Sale
If you are a homeowner, it is possible that we will place a charging order against your property. This means that when your property is sold, the Council is paid back the money you owe before you receive the money from the sale. The Council can force sale on the property to collect the debt.
The Council can apply for you to be committed to prison for non-payment of Business Rates. Upon a finding of Wilful Refusal or Culpable Neglect, the Court can imprison you for up to three months for non-payment of a Business Rates debt. It is important to note that the Business Rates debt is not written off if a sentence is imposed.