Website maintenance on Friday and Sunday

We will be doing maintenance to our website systems on Friday, 17 and Sunday, 19 May. more »

Business Rates collection policy

Your Business Rates bill shows the net amount due for the billing year. Payment can be made by monthly instalments.

Standard instalments for payment of the bill are set over 10 months (April to January). However, you can opt to pay over 12 months (April to March). To arrange this please contact us after you receive your annual bill (normally mid-March).

If you disagree with the content of the bill, please contact us to discuss what you object to and why. If your disagreement is about a valuation matter you will need to speak to the Valuation Office Agency directly about this.

When we receive notice of a change in liability / occupancy we aim to process that change and send out bills within 28 days (assuming that all necessary information is received).

Please note that you are expected to continue to pay instalments while you engage in any queries or appeals.

If you have difficulty in paying

When you receive your bill, if you think you will have difficulty in paying your instalments, please contact us to discuss an alternative arrangement for payment.

If you do not pay your instalments as they become due, we will send you a Reminder Notice to advise you of the amount of arrears. If you bring your payments up to date within 7 days, you will be allowed to continue paying by instalments. However, if your instalments are not brought up to date, the full balance on your account will become payable and we can take Court action to enforce payment of the debt.

In circumstances where you have brought your payments up to date but later miss an instalment, you will be sent either a 2nd Reminder Notice or a Final Notice. Again, if your payments are not brought up to date, we can take Court action to enforce payment of the debt.

You can contact us to discuss an arrangement for payment, even when the full balance has become payable on your account. However, you should get in touch as soon as possible after the Reminder or Final Notice has been sent if Court action is to be avoided.

Taking court action

We will take Court action to enforce payment of the debt if you either do not make an arrangement for payment or fail to keep to an arrangement made. When a summons is issued, costs are added to the account.

If the amount, including costs, shown on the summons is paid in full before the Court Hearing, no further action will be taken and proceedings will be halted.

If you are unable to pay the full amount immediately, you can contact us to discuss an arrangement for payment on the understanding that the application for a Liability Order and additional costs will proceed. In these cases, we will not take any enforcement action on the Liability Order if the arrangement is maintained.

The Liability Order

If a Liability Order is granted, we can immediately take action to enforce payment of the outstanding amount. Even at this late stage, unless instructions to take enforcement action have been issued, you will still have the opportunity to make an arrangement for payment.

If you do not make an arrangement for payment, or fail to keep to an arrangement made, we will take action to enforce payment of the debt without further notice.

How we can enforce payment

Under the terms of Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 the Council will add a compliance fee of £75 after having obtained a Liability Order. It will still be possible for you to make an arrangement at this stage to clear the debt. However, if you fail to make or keep an arrangement, the debt will be passed to an Enforcement Agent for collection.

Enforcement Agents are instructed to remove and sell your goods to the value of the outstanding Business Rates and costs incurred. The Enforcement Agent will give you the opportunity to make a satisfactory arrangement for payment before considering removing your goods. If an Enforcement Agent is instructed, you may incur a significant amount in associated costs. You should be aware that the costs are calculated as a percentage of the outstanding debt.

If the Enforcement Agent is unable to recover the debt, and you are a person whose business is no longer operational, we will still continue to pursue the debt. 

Bankruptcy / liquidation proceedings may be commenced.

In certain cases we may decide that the instruction of Enforcement Agents is not appropriate and instead commence liquidation or bankruptcy proceedings. Alternatively we may decide it is more appropriate to seek a charging order to secure the debt against the property and then consider whether an application should be made to the Courts for an order for sale. Where we have instructed Enforcement Agents and they have been unable to recover the entire debt we will then consider alternative action (including those actions listed previously).

If you fail to keep to an arrangement made, and another way of enforcing payment is not appropriate, we will make an application to the Magistrates' Court for your commitment to prison. Even at this late stage, we can still be contacted and we may be able to agree an arrangement for payment with you. The commencement of Committal proceedings can result in additional costs in excess of £150.00 being incurred and the Magistrates can send you to prison for a period up to 3 months.

At any stage of the enforcement process you make contact to make an arrangement for payment, we will, wherever possible, take into consideration any difficulties you may be having and deal with you in a reasonable manner. In doing this, we will seek to ensure that you are able to meet your ongoing Business Rate liability. This will mean that, in order to help you, we may sometimes need to ask for full details of your financial position. There may also be occasions when we will advise you to seek help from a firm of Insolvency Practitioners who should be able to give you specialist advice on how best to resolve any difficulties.

We can be contacted to discuss your Business Rates at any stage.