If you are having difficulty paying your business rates, please contact us as soon as possible. We may be able to help you. Do not leave the matter until court action has been taken, as this will result in you paying additional costs. It is possible that an alternative payment arrangement can be agreed with you, and formal recovery action can often be avoided.
If you don’t pay your business rates you will be sent a reminder notice. A final notice may be issued if your account falls into arrears during the financial year, where you have already been sent a reminder. At this stage you lose the right to pay by instalments and the remaining balance for the year becomes due.
Where the reminder notice is not paid in full within seven days, the account will be subject to formal recovery action and a court summons for non-payment will be issued. This will also happen if the balance on any final notice issued is not paid in full by the due date.
Where the summons is not paid in full, including any costs, before the court hearing, the Council will apply for a liability order. A liability order gives the Council certain powers that include:
- instructing bailiffs to seize goods to the value of the debt
- instigating insolvency proceedings
- making a further application to the court for committal to prison
Enforcement Agency (formerly known as bailiff company)
Once the debt is passed to an Enforcement Agency (formerly known as a bailiff company), you will incur fees of £75 which will be added to your debt. At this stage, the Enforcement Agency will try and engage in an early attempt at repayment of your debt. Any payments or offers of repayment should be made directly to the Enforcement Agency rather than the Council.
If you don’t make either payment in full, or make a payment arrangement with the Enforcement Agency an Enforcement Agent will visit you. Additional fees of £235 will be added at this stage, plus an additional 7.5% where the balance is above £1500.
The Enforcement Agent will normally ask you for payment in full, however if you cannot meet this request, the Enforcement Agent will try to agree a repayment arrangement with you. The Enforcement Agent may enter into a Controlled Goods Agreement, where the agent makes a list of your possessions that is equal in value to your debt. This means that you cannot dispose or sell them without the Enforcement Agents permission.
If you do not pay as agreed, you may then be charged for the removal and sale of your goods.
If the Enforcement Agent does not collect all the money that you owe the Council, we will consider other options to recover the debt which may include bankruptcy, a charging order against your property, or asking the court to assist in the recovery of the debt which may result in sending you to prison for up to three months.
The Council employs two Enforcement Agencies:
0844 701 3990
4 Europa Boulevard
0345 601 2692/0151 6504800