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What happens if you don't pay your Non-Domestic Rates (Business Rates), the recovery action we may take and the help and support available.

Problems paying your billWhat happens if Business Rates bills are not paidLiability OrdersDownloads

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 short term assistance either partial or full relief for non-domestic rate payments. Our Non-Domestic Rating Discretionary Rate Relief and Hardship Policy 455KB PDF (pages 48 -51), details the actions you need to take before being considered for a discretionary reduction.

Liability Orders

At the video/telephone court hearing the Council will request a Liability Order to be awarded against you. You can contest this in a personal video/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.

Last reviewed: March 21, 2024 by Ian

Next review due: September 21, 2024

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