If you're having problems paying your business rates contact the Business Rates Team as soon as possible; we'll do our best to agree an affordable payment arrangement with you. We may be able to:
- change your payment plan to one that suits you better
- advise you about any business rates reliefs to which you may be entitled
- advise how to appeal against the rateable value of your property
How we deal with missed payments
If we've written to you about your debt, please contact the Business Rates Team so that we can discuss your circumstances and payment options.
By coming to an early agreement, you can help to avoid the unpleasant consequences of ignoring debt, such as:
- additional costs
- enforcement agents
- other court proceedings such as bankruptcy
We deal with missed payments using a step-by-step process, find out about:
- reminder notices
- court summons
- liability orders
- enforcement agents (bailiffs)
- prison sentences
Missed payment reminder notice
Issuing a reminder is the first action we'll take if you miss a business rates payment.
If you've received a reminder notice you should:
- bring your payments up to date
- continue paying your instalments by their due dates
Your reminder notice will have a set date by which you'll need to make the payment, or the right to pay by instalments will be removed.
Contact the Business Rates Team immediately if you're not able to make payments by their due dates.
If you receive a court summons
You may be issued a summons to Magistrates Court, and we'll add £100 costs to your account, if you do not make payments by their due dates following a reminder notice.
Contact the Business Rates Team immediately when you receive a summons, if you can't pay in full.
If a summons has been issued, you can still make an arrangement to pay. Any arrangement:
- would come into place after the court hearing
- would not stop the matter going to court
- would not prevent further costs from being added
You don't have to attend court if you're not disputing that you owe the debt. However, if you do go to the hearing, the magistrates will ask if you have a valid defence, as well as evidence, to stop a liability order being granted. Refer to the summons guidance notes included with your summons for more information.
If you receive a liability order
A liability order is a court demand for you to pay the full amount of business rates you owe, along with additional costs.
A liability order gives us the right to:
- make an arrangement with you
- pass the case to enforcement agents
- start bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings
- make an application to 'wind up' your company
- apply to the magistrates for you to go to prison
Enforcement agents (bailiffs)
If all other attempts to reach a payment arrangement fail, then the debt will be passed to an enforcement agency to collect.
Enforcement agents can take goods from your business to clear the arrears and will charge you extra costs for their services.
If the value of goods taken from your business does not clear your arrears we may start proceedings to close down your business (see 'Winding Up' on GOV.UK), or take direct insolvency action against you, such as bankruptcy (GOV.UK), and you may incur further costs if this action is taken.
For more detailed information, visit the Insolvency Service website.
We can apply to the Magistrates Court for a warrant to send you to prison for up to 3 months if:
- the debtor is an individual
- enforcement agent action has been unsuccessful
You may incur further costs if this action is taken.
Business rates reductions
Check if you qualify for a reduction in your payments through business rates reliefs.
Impartial financial advice
If you would like free and impartial debt, budgeting or financial advice you can contact: