How we recover your business rates

We follow a set process to recover business rates, starting with sending you a bill: Business rates recovery policy

Pay as instructed and make your payments on, or before the due date. Paying within the month they are due will not always avoid recovery action.

We will send you a reminder if you are behind with your payments.

If you don't pay as instructed, you could lose the right to pay by instalments and the full amount for the year would be due immediately.

If we have to send you a summons to the Magistrates Court, we will add costs for this action to your bill.

Liability orders

If you receive a liability order:

  • contact us immediately: Contact business rates
  • discuss your circumstances with us and agree a payment arrangement.

If you don't contact us, we can:

  • instruct enforcement agents (bailiffs) to visit your premises to seize your goods for sale at public auction
  • start bankruptcy proceedings in the County Court.
  • apply to the Magistrates' Court for you to be committed to prison for a maximum of 90 days
  • Add extra compliance costs
Adding costs to your bill

We add costs to your bill if we:

  • apply to the Magistrates' Court to raise a summons for your outstanding account
  • grant a liability order.

We may also add further costs if we issue a notice of enforcement (compliance) letter, or if we need to instruct Enforcement Agents to recover your debt.

Recovering business rates using enforcement agents (bailiffs)

Your liability order warns that enforcement agents may call after 14 days.

Enforcement agents can add costs for the action they have to take, including visiting your business. Details are on the back of your liability order.

Enforcement Officer's (Bailiff) Code of Conduct

When an enforcement agent visits your business

They cannot force entry, can only remove certain goods and can only remove enough to cover the amount of business rates you owe, plus their costs.

If no one is available when they visit, they will leave a letter in a sealed envelope addressed to you, with details of your debt and the amount due, along with their name and telephone number. If you are not availalbe they will speak to the person in apprarent charge of the business.

Possession of your goods

Rather than remove goods immediately, the enforcement agent may take control of your goods and offer you a payment agreement. This is a Controlled Goods Agreement:

  • It lists the goods the enforcement agent has taken control of. You keep your belongings but are prevented from removing or selling them.
  • It outlines the terms of the repayment agreement
  • It allows the Enforcement Agent to return at a later date to remove your belongings if you fail to pay as agreed. You will then be given 2 days notice of the Enforcement Agents intention to re-enter your premises.

If you are not at the premises when the enforcement agent calls to remove your belongings, they have the legal right to force entry.

Removal of your belongings

If you can't pay in full, don't make a payment arrangement, or fail to pay as agreed, the enforcement agent may remove and sell enough of your belongings to settle the debt you owe.

If you still haven't paid: Magistrates' Court

If we have exhausted all previous methods of recovering business rates, or if we think they will be unsuccessful we can apply to the Magistrates' Court for you to be committed to prison for a maximum of 90 days.

If we have to do this we will send you a committal summons.