Business rates recovery

If you are having difficulties making payments please contact us as soon as possible to let us know as we may be able to help you.

The majority of business rates payers pay their instalments on time each month. It is important to them and the Council that anyone who does not pay is pursued for payment quickly.

We don’t want to take action against you for non-payment of business rates unless we really have to - but if you don’t pay and you don’t contact us then recovery action will follow. It is possible that an alternative payment arrangement can be agreed with you, and formal recovery action can often be avoided.

Visit the eStore payment system to pay your business rates online

  • A bill will be issued advising you of how much is due and when to pay.
  • A first reminder notice will be issued if an instalment plan falls into arrears.
  • You now have 7 days to pay the amount shown on the first reminder notice.
    • If the amount on the reminder notice is paid and the account is brought up to date within 7 days, a second reminder will be issued if a future instalment is late or not paid.
    • If the account is brought up to date after a second reminder notice is issued but a further instalment is late or not paid, a final notice will be issues requiring payment of the financial year balance in full.
    • If the full financial year balance is not paid, a summons will be served, incurring court costs.
    • If the total amount due on the summons is not paid before the court hearing date, the Council will apply for a Liability Order, incurring further court costs. Once a Liability Order is issued, further recovery action can be taken.
  • If the amount shown on the reminder notice is not paid within 7 days, the right to pay by instalments is lost and the full balance for the financial year becomes due and must be paid within 7 days.
  • If the full financial year balance is not paid, a summons will be served incurring court costs.
  • If the total amount due on the summons is not paid before the court hearing date, the Council will apply for a Liability Order, incurring further court costs. Once a Liability Order is issued, further recovery action can be taken.

You can also download a flowchart detailing the steps above.

If you don't pay an instalment of your business rates by the date it is due, we will send you a reminder showing the amount you need to pay. If you make your payment within seven days, you can continue paying by instalments.

If you do not pay the full amount shown on the reminder notice within seven days, and you do not contact us, we will wait another seven days before we ask the magistrates' court to send you a summons to attend a court hearing.

Visit the eStore payment system to pay your business rates online

If you fail to make a payment after the issue of a reminder or final notice, or if you fail to maintain a payment arrangement, the council will request the Magistrates Court to issue a summons.

Our records show that you have ignored the advice on the previous reminders sent during the current financial year. A final notice explains that you have lost the right to pay by instalments. The balance for the financial year should now be paid in full.

Visit the eStore payment system to pay your business rates online

Depending on your circumstances, we may consider making a special arrangement for repayment of arrears, and you should contact us immediately if you are unable to pay the full amount. View contact details for the Business Rates team.

If you fail to make a payment after the issue of a reminder or final notice, or if you fail to maintain a payment arrangement, the Council will request the Magistrates Court to issue a summons.

If you don't pay your business rates or don't keep to an agreement to pay, we can issue you with a court summons.

We will ask the Magistrates' Court for a liability order. This is a demand for you to pay the full amount you owe, plus £70 costs. Once a liability order is granted this gives us the right to collect any monies owed using methods such as:

  • enforcement agents
  • bankruptcy and insolvency
  • committal to prison.

If you want to discuss a payment arrangement or believe that the summons has been issued in error, please contact the Business Rates team.

You have the right to attend the court and offer evidence why you think you shouldn’t have to pay. This could be instances such as we have not followed the correct rules for payment, or you have already paid what you owe.

However, if you want to discuss a payment arrangement or believe that the summons has been issued in error, you do not need to go to court. You must contact us immediately or seek independent financial advice.

Contact the Business Rates team.

A liability order has been issued by the Magistrates' Court and we have passed your details to an enforcement agent (otherwise known as bailiffs) to collect the amount you owe us, plus any extra charges.

If you receive a letter or a visit from an enforcement agent, you should contact them urgently to discuss your options for repayment as additional enforcement agents fees will now become payable.

If your account is with a enforcement agent you must make payments direct to them.

Telford & Wrekin Council employs three accredited enforcement/debt collection agents authorised to act on our behalf:

Any enforcement agency acting on our behalf should behave professionally, follow set procedures, have an internal complaints procedure and not take inappropriate action. 

If an enforcement agent has been instructed by us to collect unpaid business rates, you will incur extra charges as detailed in the table below. These charges are set by the government and are not negotiable.

This table shows the enforcement agent stages and charges.
Stage Charge Percentage fees if debt is greater than £1,500, in addition to charge
Compliance
This fee is added to your debt when your account is referred to an enforcement agent for collection.
£75 0%
Enforcement
If you do not arrange to pay the enforcement agent, or arrange to make payment and then do not pay as agreed, the enforcement agent will visit you and this fee will also be added to your debt.
£235 7.5%
Sale
If you do not sign a Controlled Goods Agreement when an  enforcement agent visits your property, or you do not pay as agreed after signing a Controlled Goods Agreement, the enforcement agent can remove and sell your goods and you will be charged this fee.
£110 7.5%

When an enforcement agent visits, you will have to pay a further fixed fee of £235 plus 7.5% for any debt due that is over £1500. Even if you pay in full at this stage, you will still have to pay all of these costs.

If you are unable to pay in full, the enforcement agent can make the decision to take control of your goods. 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. These will then be sold at public auction.

Obstructing an enforcement agent or interfering with controlled goods is now an offence for which you can be arrested and sent to prison.

Visit the GOV.UK website for more information about enforcement agent powers and removal of 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 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.

If your business rates debt is in excess of £5000 and a Liability Order has been obtained by the Magistrates' Court, we may start bankruptcy/insolvency proceedings against you if we have tried unsuccessfully at recovering the business rates debt.

Bankruptcy will be taken against a sole trader, whereas Insolvency action will be taken against a company. The outcome of this action may lead to your property and goods being taken away from you and closure of your business.

If we take this action, we will pass your account to our solicitors who will send you a statutory demand. If you receive a statutory demand, you should contact the Council immediately. An agreement to settle the debt can still be made before we present a petition to the County Court.

Visit the GOV.UK website for more information about bankruptcy.

Yes.

If all alternative methods of collection have been unsuccessful and you still owe us money we can apply to the Magistrates’ Court for a warrant to send you to prison.

You will be summonsed to appear before the Magistrates Court. At this hearing, the Council will outline the non-payment of business rates and we will ask the court to consider your committal to prison for a period of up to three months.

You (or your legal representative) will be asked to explain why you have not paid your business rates and your current and previous financial circumstances will be explored. The Magistrate will then make a decision regarding the matter.

The court may decide to postpone imprisonment on certain conditions, like you agreeing to repay the debt over time. The court can also cancel all or part of the debt.

Last updated: 06/05/2021 12:02

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