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Problems paying your business rates

Help if you're having problems paying, and the process we follow if you don't pay your business rates

Problems paying

If you're having problems paying your business rates, it's important you tell us. We may be able to help. Your bill will usually be spread over 10 months within the financial year. We can stretch the bill over the full 12 months on request, reducing your instalments.  

If you don't keep up with your payments, we follow a set recovery process, outlined below.


If you don't pay your business rates on time, we'll send you a reminder notice. The reminder will ask you to pay within 7 days. If you can't pay the reminder, you'll get a summons.

If you make the payment by the date requested, but miss another payment in the same financial year, you'll be sent a second reminder notice.

We only send two reminders within a financial year. If you miss a third payment, you'll get a summons.

Please note, we can't set up a payment plan on a reminder notice, the notice must be paid in full.


If you don't pay following a reminder, a summons will be sent to you. You'll be summoned to court and we'll add £70 in court costs to the unpaid bill.

You don't have to go to the court hearing if you pay in full, including costs, or arrange a payment plan with us before the court date.

Please contact us on 01553 616200 to set up a payment plan.

If you're unable to pay in full before the court date we'll ask the court to grant a Liability Order. This allows us to recover outstanding debts in other ways.

If you do attend court the magistrate will ask you if you have a valid defence which should stop the Liability Order being granted.

14 Day or 48 Hour Notices

If you have set up a payment plan with us before, but have fallen behind with it, you may receive a 14 Day or 48 Hour Notice. These demand urgent payment of your bill.

You can still set up a payment plan to pay the notice by instalments. It's important you keep up with payments. If you miss a payment, the debt will be passed to an enforcement agency to recover.

Please contact us on 01553 616200 to set up a payment plan.

Enforcement action

If you've been unable to come to an arrangement to pay, we can instruct enforcement agents to recover the debt. 

If you're unable to pay the outstanding debt in full, the enforcement agent may remove possessions. They will sell the goods to cover the costs of your bill.

Other options for enforcement action include:

  • bankruptcy proceedings or the liquidation of a company
  • applying a charging order against a property you own; the amount you owe will be paid when the property is sold

Further action

If you're still unable to pay, you can go to prison. We'll only take this step when other efforts have failed. A warrant will only be issued if the failure to pay is the result of wilful refusal or culpable neglect. The maximum period of imprisonment is three months.