Advice and information on what options are available if you can't pay your business rates bill

As soon as you realise you have a problem paying you should immediately contact the business rates team to discuss your situation as we may be able to reschedule your payments or advise you of a reduction you might be entitled to.

Offer to pay by instalments

If you need to make different arrangements to pay your business rates bill, because you're finding it hard to meet your scheduled payments, or as a result of a summons, please complete our online offer to pay form as soon as possible.

Offer to pay

What action can the local authority take to recover business rates?

It is never too late to talk to us – at any point during the following proceedings it is possible to come to a sensible payment arrangement with us that will suit your circumstances.

Reminder notice

Failure to pay your account by the instalment date will result in the issue of a reminder notice. If the reminder notice is not paid within 7 days of receipt, we will after a further 7 days issue a summons for non-payment at which time the full outstanding balance will become due.

Final notice

Only one reminder notice will be issued for business rates, and two for council tax, in a financial year. If a subsequent instalment is not received by the due date, the council will issue a final notice, demanding the total balance outstanding. You must pay this amount within seven days to avoid being sent a summons.

Save yourself hundreds of pounds!

The costs of issuing a summons, with additional enforcement agent costs, can quickly mount up to hundreds of pounds - on top of your debt.

Contacting us early about your debt problems can help avoid this.


If, after receiving one or both of the above notices, you do not make the payment demanded, the council will apply to the local magistrates' court for a summons to be issued against you and costs of £80 will be added to your account. At this stage you can still make an arrangement to pay the amount due by contacting the council tax or business rates teams.

Liability order

If you do not pay the balance shown on the summons before the court hearing, the matter will be taken to the magistrates' court and the council will apply for a liability order. You will have the opportunity of attending the court, but this is only to determine your liability, not your ability to pay. Any questions relating to the banding or rateable value of your property, or claims relating to council tax support, will not be dealt with by the court.

What powers does a liability order give the council?

A liability order gives us powers to collect your debt using different methods such as:

  • Instructing enforcement agents to visit your property with the intention of removing your goods and for those goods to be sold at public auction to pay off your outstanding debt. This action will incur further costs to your account.
  • Collecting what you owe directly from your employer or by deducting it from your benefits.
  • Taking out a charge against your property.
  • Starting bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings.

At each of the above stages you will be sent more detailed information about any action we are taking.

If you have trouble making payments

In certain circumstances, help and advice may be available from some to the agencies listed:

Independent financial advice

Payplan logoPayplan
Tel: 0800 280 2816

citizens_adviceCitizens Advice
Tel: 03444 111 444

Step change logoStep Change
Tel: 0800 138 1111

National DebtlineNational Debtline
Tel: 0808 808 4000

Money advice service logoMoney Advice Service
Tel: 0300 500 5000

Tel: 0800 731 4880

Advice logoAdvice UK
Tel: 0300 777 0107

Visit websiteUK Government online

CAP logoChristians Against Poverty
Tel: 01274 760720