Your Business Rates bill shows how much you need to pay and when your payments are due. You must pay in accordance with the bill and if you pay by post you should allow extra time for your payment to reach the Council.
- If you do not pay your instalments when they fall due, you will receive a reminder telling you to bring your account up to date.
- If you are having genuine difficulty in making your payments you should contact the Council straight away.
- If you pay the amount requested on the reminder within seven days no further action will be taken against you. If you fail to keep up your payments once again you will receive a further reminder.
- If you don’t pay the amount requested on the reminder, after a further seven days, legally a summons can be issued to you for the full balance due.
- If you pay the amount requested on the further reminder within seven days no further action will be taken against you. If you fail to keep up your payments once again you will receive a final notice.
- If you don’t pay the amount requested on the second reminder, after a further seven days, legally a summons can be issued to you for the full balance due.
- You should be aware that once a final notice has been issued you will lose the right to pay by instalments and you will have to pay the full outstanding balance on your account.
- If you do not pay the amount outstanding or make an acceptable payment arrangement, usually by direct debit, to clear the balance of your account, you will receive a summons.
- A magistrates’ court summons incurs costs of £50.00 for the issue of the summons, and this will be added to your account.
- If you do not pay the balance in full by the court hearing date, which will be stated on the summons, the magistrates will normally issue a liability order against you. A further £45.00 will then be added to your account for the issue of this order.
- You have the right to appear at the hearing and explain to the magistrates why a liability order should not be issued against you.
- Receipt of this liability order will then allow the Council to recover the debt from by passing your account to the Council's bailiff.
- Even at this stage of recovery an acceptable arrangement for you to pay is possible, preferably by direct debit.
Once the magistrates have granted a liability order, you will be notified in writing of the situation. You will again be asked to get in contact with the Business Rates office to discuss your account when every effort will be made to reach an acceptable payment arrangement to pay the outstanding liability. If this is not possible, or you fail to keep a previously agreed payment arrangement recovery action will continue.
A liability order, as stated earlier, gives the right to recover the debt from you in a number of ways, including:
- passing your account to the Council's appointed bailiff
- commencing liquidation / bankruptcy proceedings against you
If a suitable payment arrangement has not been made, the collection of your account may pass to an appointed bailiff. Once this action is taken you will have to contact the bailiff direct to discuss payment of your account. As well as the outstanding business rates you owe and court costs that will have been incurred, the bailiff will add his statutory fees to your account, further increasing your debt. If you do not pay the amount you owe in full to the bailiff, they may remove your goods and sell them at public auction to clear your debt.