What happens if I don't pay my Business Rates?

What happens or what should I do if I am unable to pay my rates?

Please contact the business rates office by calling on 023 8083 3002 if you have any concerns regarding your ability to pay.

What happens if I do not pay on time? 

You will receive a reminder for the first instalment that is late. If you want to carry on paying by instalments, you must pay the reminder amount in full within seven days. 

If you do not pay this amount within seven days, you will lose the right to pay by instalments and the remaining business rates charge will be payable in full. If the full balance remains outstanding, we will apply for a summons to be issued against you.

Why have I received a Summons? 

Summonses are issued as part of the process to recover unpaid business rates - please contact the office to discuss a payment arrangement.

What is a liability order? What powers does it give the council? 

A Liability Order is issued by the Magistrates Court confirming liability for the debt – this enables the council to pursue the debt further.

Do I have to attend court? 

No. Only if you wish to put forward a defence against the issue of a liability order. You should contact the council in the first instance to discuss any issues regarding your business rates. Telephone business rates on 023 8083 3002.

The following defences have been accepted by the courts as being valid:

  • You are not liable for the period as stated on the demand notice
  • The amount demanded has been paid
  • Insolvency proceedings have commenced
  • Six years have passed since the debt became due
  • The Business Rates has not been properly demanded.

Will my credit rating be affected if I receive a summons? 


What do I do if I receive a letter or a visit from a Debt Enforcement Agent? 

If you are unable to pay the debt in full you will have to contact the bailiffs direct to make an arrangement to clear the balance outstanding.

The council uses two Debt Enforcement Agents (bailiff): Equita and Ross and Roberts. As soon as the Enforcement Agent visits you will incur additional costs.

Fees recoverable by enforcement agents

Fees stage Fixed fee Percentage fee
(Percentage of sum to be recovered exceeding £1,500)
Compliance stage £75.00 0%
Enforcement stage £235.00 7.5%
Sale or disposal stage £110.00 7.5%