What happens if I don't pay my business rates?

If, for any reason, you don't pay your Business Rates on time we are legally obliged to issue documents advising you of this and warning you what could happen next.  What document you get depends on how many times you have missed your payment. It could be a reminder, final notice or a summons.

If you have problems paying your business rates please contact us - we may be able to make a special arrangement with you.

Reminder and Final Notice

Business rates payments should reach us on the day the instalment is due at the latest. This will be the 1st or 15th of the month.

If you receive a reminder, you must bring your account up to date within seven days. If you fall behind a second time you will not be sent a second reminder.

If you have problems paying your business rates please contact us - we may be able to make a special arrangement with you.

Final Notice

If you fall behind a second time you will receive a final notice. This confirms that you have lost the right to pay by instalments and all of your business rates for the year must be paid immediately.

If you have problems paying your business rates please contact us - we may be able to make a special arrangement with

Summons and Court

Summons

If you have received a final notice and your business rates remains unpaid, we will take further recovery action to obtain the money due. This is done through the Magistrates Court.

You will be sent a summons that will tell you how much money you owe and when the hearing will be. You will be charged costs for the issue of the summons.

If you have problems paying your business rates please contact us- we may be able to make a special arrangement with you.

Court

You can attend court on the date given on the summons and speak to the Magistrates. You do not have to go to court if you don't want to - the decision is yours.

Please Note: The court cannot agree a payment plan with you. If you want to do this, please contact us.

At the court hearing we will ask the Magistrates to issue a liability order against you. This can be done even if you are not present.

Liability Order

If you receive a summons then the matter is likely to go to court  where we will be applying for a liability order.  A liability order gives us various powers to help us recover the money you owe: These are:

  • Taking control of goods to pay a debt. We employ Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) to collect the debt.  More costs will be added to your debt.  In some circumstances your goods will be removed and sold.

We employ Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) to collect the debt. More costs will be added to your debt. In some circumstances your goods may be removed and sold.

Enforcement Agents are authorised with a certificate from the Courts. They are instructed to collect both Council Tax and Business Rates by the Council and act under a formal code of conduct. They make visits to properties to collect the unpaid Council Tax or Business Rates. They can accept payments in a wide range of forms including cash, bankers draft, credit cards etc. Where they do not receive payment they can remove goods which can be sold at public auction. They can in certain circumstances take possession of goods but leave them on the premises while an arrangement is agreed and paid.

If your debt is passed to the Enforcement Agents then you will immediately incur a £75 fixed fee for each liability order. This fee has been set by The Ministry of Justice, not the council, and is non-negotiable.  Before an Enforcement Agent visits your property, you will receive at least one letter by post giving you the opportunity to agree a repayment plan with them  to avoid an Enforcement Agent visiting you. At this stage the £75 fixed fee is already in place on your account and will need to be included in the repayment plan.

Enforcement  Agent visits

 If you do not contact the Enforcement Agents Office  to agree a repayment plan, or you fail to pay the plan you agreed, then you will be visited at your home by an Enforcement Agent.  As soon as an agent is instructed to visit, a £235.00 fixed fee (plus 7.5% if the debt is over £1500) will be applied to the outstanding amount. This  fee has been set by The Ministry of Justice, not the council, and is non-negotiable. During the visit, you will be asked to make payment in full (including the £235.00 fee), enter into a controlled goods agreement or goods can be removed from your property.

Controlled goods agreement

You may be given the opportunity to set up a repayment plan by entering into a controlled goods agreement. This involves the Enforcement Agent making a list of your goods equal in value to the debt outstanding to secure the payment arrangement. You must not dispose of or sell any goods on the controlled goods agreement until your debt is paid in full.

Removal of goods

If you do not sign the controlled goods agreement, or you fail to pay the plan you agreed, then the Enforcement Agent can enter your property  and remove goods. There is an additional £110 fee (plus 7.5% for any balance over £1500) if goods are removed for sale.

Goods that are removed will be sold at auction. If a debt still remains after this, then the Enforcement Agent will contact you and further enforcement action can take place. If the goods are sold for more than the outstanding debt, then the credit can be returned to you.

The Council instructs a company called Dukes Bailiffs who can be contacted as follows:

Dukes Bailiffs Ltd
Dukes Court
7/8 Newcastle street
Stone
Staffs
ST15 8JT                             

Telephone: 01785 825500
Website: http://www.dukeslimited.co.uk/

  • Bankruptcy/Winding Up - We can start proceedings against you through the County Court.
  • Committal to Prison - Unlike almost every other debt, you can be sent to prison for up to three months for not paying your business rates. Even if you have other debts where you are being pressed for payment, it is vital that you make payment of your business rates a priority.

Please Note: committal to prison applies to individuals not to limited companies.