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Problems paying your business rates

What to do if you can’t pay your business rates.

Problems paying

If you cannot pay your business rates please contact us immediately. We may be able to help by amending your monthly payments or making other suggestions to help.

What happens if you don’t pay?

As soon as you miss a payment we will send you a reminder. If you do not bring your account up to date within 7 days of the date of the reminder letter you will lose your right to pay by instalments. That means that you will have to pay the rest of the years rates in one lump sum.

If you do bring your account up to date, but then miss another payment we will send you a final notice. You will receive a maximum of 2 notices in any one financial year (reminder and final). If you do not pay or do not contact us after receiving these notices we will send you a summons of which costs of £55.00 are payable by you.

What happens after a summons is issued?

If you receive a summons for non-payment of business rates and have a query regarding your bill or the summons please contact us before the date of the hearing so we can advise you further.

If you do not pay the full balance including costs before the hearing then the Council will apply to the Magistrates’ Court for a liability order. This gives us the power to start proceedings to recover the debt, however, we will give you the opportunity to make an arrangement first. Once the liability order is granted a further £27.50 costs are payable by you.

What happens after the Liability Order is granted by the Court?

We will ask you to make an arrangement to repay the arrears as quickly as possible. If you do not do this one of the following methods may be used to recover the arrears.


An authorised bailiff will be instructed to take goods from either the business or your personal possession to clear the arrears , they will charge you fees to cover their administration costs which are payable by you. The costs are charged in line with legislation.


If you owe more than £750 in business rates and you are a sole trader we may start bankruptcy proceedings against you. Your home could be sold if we have to take this action.

If your business is a company we may start liquidation proceedings against you. This will result in your company being dissolved and may result in your disqualification as a director.

The costs of both these actions are considerable and therefore if you receive a letter from us regarding this you should either contact the  Recovery Team or seek independent advice as a matter of urgency.

Committal to prison

We can apply to the magistrates’ court for a committal summons.  This is the first stage towards you possibly going to prison. If you receive a committal summons please contact the Recovery Team immediately or seek independent advice as a matter of urgency.

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