Business Rates collection policy

The bill shows the net amount due after deduction of any amounts you may be entitled to in respect of:

Transitional Relief

We shall amend the Non-Domestic Rating records where a change in liability occurs and send you an amended bill, normally within 28 days of receiving the relevant information.

Each bill will allow payment to be made by monthly instalments and at least 14 days will be allowed before the first instalment is due.

From April 2014 you can opt to pay your bill over twelve instalments (April – March) rather than ten (April –January). To arrange this please contact us as soon as you have received your annual bill (normally in the second week of March).

If you disagree with the bill which has been sent, please contact us to discuss what you object to and why. If your grievance is about a Valuation matter you will normally be expected to pay the instalments as and when they become due.

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. At this point costs start to become payable. The costs for the issue of a summons are currently £50.

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.

Bankruptcy / liquidation proceedings may be commenced.

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. 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.