Business ratepayers are entitled by statute to pay their rates by ten monthly instalments from April to January in each financial year. They are sent a bill on or before 17 March each year detailing the instalments due for the forthcoming financial year.

Each instalment is due on the 1st of each month and we must receive payment on or before that date. Failure to pay the amounts as billed will be subject to the following statutory recovery procedure...

Instalment reminder

First an instalment reminder notice is sent asking for any outstanding payments to be paid to bring the instalments back up to date. The notice will also state that failure to pay any future instalments on time will cancel the instalment facility and the full amount to the end of the financial year will become due and payable immediately.

Final notice

If the ratepayer continues to default or falls into arrears again, a final notice will be issued. The final notice will state that their instalment facility has now been cancelled and that the full balance to 31 March of the current financial year is due within 14 days from the date of the final notice.

Summons

Failure to pay the full balance outstanding by the date would trigger a summons to be issued to appear before the local Magistrates Court. This will incur costs of £20.

Liability order

At the Magistrates Court we will make an application for a liability order against the ratepayer for non-payment of business rates where a further £40 cost will be added on. If the we obtain a liability order and the ratepayer still does not pay or contact us within 14 days from the date of the court hearing, the liability order will be sent to enforcement agents for collection.

Arranging payment

The ratepayer can contact us to make an arrangement to pay at any point before a liability order is sent to the enforcement agents. However; recovery proceedings will only cease if the full balance outstanding, including costs is paid before the court date.

Taking control of goods

Once a Liability Order has been granted by the Magistrates Court, a letter is sent to the ratepayer as notification of this action and requesting contact within fourteen days to arrange for payment of the charge. After fourteen days have elapsed, the charge may then be passed on to an Enforcement Agent (bailiff) for collection.

Commitment to prison

Once the liability order has been returned to us from the enforcement agents, we will take "Commitment to Prison" proceedings against the ratepayer to recover the debt. If we pursue this option, the ratepayer will be summonsed to appear at the Magistrates Court to undergo a means test to establish their ability to pay the charge based on their financial circumstances. If the ratepayer fails to appear at the hearing, an arrest warrant with or without bail is granted instructing either the Police or a firm of enforcement agents to find the ratepayer and ensure they appear in Court at a predetermined later date. If the Magistrates find either "Wilful Refusal" or "Culpable Neglect", the Magistrates Court will commit the ratepayer to prison for a period of up to 90 days.

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