Problems paying your bill
If you are having difficulties in paying your Business Rates, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can discuss payment options with you.
If you delay contacting us, things are likely to get worse and we can normally help to overcome temporary difficulties.
If your business needs further help or support, please visit these websites:
What we can do to help you:
- we can look to spread future years over 12 months from April to March. Or discuss a payment arrangement with more suitable payment dates and frequency
- we can check your bill is correct and that you are receiving all relevant reliefs and exemptions
- we can consider a temporary hold on our recovery actions or those of our Enforcement Agents
- if you are suffering exceptional hardship Section 49 of the Local Government Finance Act 1998 allows the Council to provide either partial or full relief for non-domestic rate payments. Our Non-Domestic Rating Discretionary Rate Relief and Hardship Policy (pages 48 -51), details the actions you need to take before being considered for a discretionary reduction.
What happens if Business Rates bills are not paid
Reminder or Final Notice
Your business rate bill has specified amounts and due date(s) that you must pay promptly. Our recovery process is automated, therefore, if you fail to pay on time, you will be automatically sent a reminder or final notice. The law does not require us to send any further reminders if you remain in arrears.
If you do not keep future instalments up to date as detailed on the reminder or pay the full amount, if you receive a final notice, we will arrange for a summons to be issued.
Upon issue you will immediately incur court costs of £76. These are the costs incurred by us for taking recovery action. If you pay the full balance (including costs) before the date of the court hearing the magistrates will be informed of this. If you do not dispute the debt or make a special payment arrangement there is no need to attend the court hearing.
It may be possible to set up a ‘Special Payment Arrangement’ or temporarily hold your account from further recovery actions at any stage, however, it is important that you contact us as soon as possible to discuss your case.
At the telephone court hearing the Council will request a Liability Order to be awarded against you. You can contest this in a personal telephone hearing but to must contact the Council to arrange this. The Council/Magistrates Court would expect you to discuss your cases before the hearing, but you could argue any of the following as a valid defence:
- you have paid the amount in full including costs and you can evidence this
- your property has no rateable value in the Local Rating List
- the demand notice (bill) has not been correctly calculated
- the Council has not followed statutes or regulations
- you can prove your Bill/Reminders and Summons have not been served correctly
- the Council Officer is not duly authorised to carry out the court proceedings
- more than 6 years have elapsed since the original bill was issued
- you are subject to insolvency proceedings
- you can evidence your payment(s) have been allocated elsewhere
- someone else either owned/occupied the premises for the period in question.
It is not a valid court defence if:
- you are applying for or appealing against the assessment or Rateable Value to the Valuation Office Agency
- you say you simply cannot afford to pay or have made a partial payment
- you are holding onto your payment due to a grievance with the Council.
Once granted the Liability Order gives the Council additional powers to:
- use external Enforcement Agents (bailiffs) – who will charge you a £75 compliance fee and if they must visit additional charges of at least £235 will be added to your account. These amounts are statutory and cannot be refunded once charged
- instigate bankruptcy/insolvency proceedings
- make an application back to the Magistrates Court for your committal to prison – sole traders only.