Business rates - collection and enforcement

Business rates summons

A summons will be sent to you, to appear at the magistrates' court* if one of the following applies:

  • You have been sent a first reminder, and you have not made full payment on or before the date stated on the reminder
  • You have been sent a final notice and the requested amount has not been paid on time

If a summons is sent, you will have to pay an additional £53.50 in court costs. If your payment in full (including £53.50 is received and cleared by the council before the date of the court hearing, we will withdraw our application. You do not have to attend the court hearing.

*If you wish to attend the court hearing because you are disputing the business rates liability, you must arrange an appointment in advance, even though the summons sets a date to attend.

To avoid attending court

If you do not have a valid defence, you can:

  • Pay in full: pay online or call 01455 238141
  • Phone 01455 265450
    • To discuss a repayment agreement of the outstanding balance
    • If you have a dispute against liability

Court attendance

If you dispute the liability, you can do so for two reasons:

  1. You paid your business rates in full before the issue of the summons
  2. You have been billed incorrectly. for example, you are not the liable person/business. (This does not include the fact that you have appealed against the rateable value of the property)

If you wish to attend the hearing, you must call us on 01455 265450 (option three) to book an appointment in advance. If you have an appointment, we will send confirmation of the appointment which must be shown when attending court. If you do not have an appointment or the confirmation available, you will not be able to attend.

If we can, we will try to resolve the matter with you ahead of the hearing:

  • We may agree to adjourn the hearing while we look at your case
  • If we can’t help, we will arrange for a specific time for the magistrates to hear your defence

If payment is not received in full before the court date, at the hearing we will ask the magistrates to grant a liability order, which will cost you an additional £29. Once the liability order is granted by the court, it allows the council to pursue your debt through various different means such as:

  • A referral to one of our external enforcement agents who may 'take control of goods' (the seizure of someone's property) in order to obtain payment
  • Committal to prison (sole traders and partnerships only)
  • Petition to the court for a declaration of bankruptcy
  • Petition to the court for a winding up order
  • Application for a charging order. The order will be secured against the same property on which the liability order has already been obtained for the outstanding

All of the above options may be used in any order, however, not more than one at the same time.

If you do not make a voluntary payment arrangement at this point, or you fail to keep to an arrangement made, we will take action to enforce payment without further notice.

Last updated:‎ 27/02/2024 14:12