If you pay the full amount, including the costs, before the Court hearing the proceedings will stop. You can make a payment now by using our secure Online Payments system – simply click on the button below:
Alternatively, please call our telephone payments line on 01473 433777 (available 24 hours a day).
If you receive a Summons and do not pay the full amount, including Court costs before the Court hearing, the Council will apply for a Liability Order to be issued, which gives the Council further powers to recover the debt outstanding. If you cannot pay in full you must contact us as we may still be able to make a payment arrangement with you. If we can reach an agreement the matter will still go to Court, but no action will be taken on the Liability Order issued whilst you pay as arranged. (The costs incurred will remain payable, but these will be included in the arrangement).
You do not need to attend Court, but if you do not attend and you have not contacted the office regarding the Summons, the case may be dealt with in your absence.
No, the Court is only concerned with establishing that the correct process of advising you of your liability has been followed and that you have not paid. Associated matters such as your financial position or an unresolved dispute with the Valuation Officer have no bearing upon the proceedings. It is, therefore, important that you discuss any point of concern with us before the Court Hearing.
What happens if the Court grants a Liability Order?
Once a Liability Order is granted the Council can employ Enforcement Agents (previously known as bailiffs) to collect the debt. This will result in you having to pay additional fees, which have been set by Central Government:
• Fee at 'Compliance' stage £75 (a written notice will be sent by the Enforcement Agent)
• Fee at 'Enforcement' stage £235 ( plus percentage fee 7.5% on excess of debts over £1,500)
• Fee at 'Sale' stage £110 (plus percentage fee 7.5% on excess of debts over £1,500)
The Council may also commence Bankruptcy or Liquidation proceedings against you or your company or consider making an application to the Magistrates for your committal to prison for non-payment. We will only take these steps when other efforts have failed and when Enforcement Agents have been unsuccessful.
These are very serious matters and you should contact the Business Rates team immediately using the Contact Details shown, to discuss your account. Failure to do so will result in further action being taken which will incur you considerable costs, and could result in a term of imprisonment.
You can get independent advice and help from various organisations. Please visit our Debt page for further information.