What happens if I don't pay?

If you do not pay your business rates, or pay late, you may be subject to recovery proceedings.


If you do not pay your business rates as shown in your business rates demand we will send you a reminder notice.

The reminder notice will tell you the amount you have to pay in order to bring your account up to date. You must pay the amount shown on the notice within seven days of the date shown on the reminder.

If you do not pay the amount due you will lose your right to pay by instalments and further recovery proceeding will be issued.


If you do not pay the business rates demanded on a reminder notice you may be summonsed to appear before the Magistrates Court. This will incur costs of £150 to your account. The summons will include a court hearing date. If the amount due (including the summons cost) is fully paid before the court hearing date then there will be no further action.

If you cannot pay the full amount due before the court hearing date you do not need to attend court. We will ask the court to grant a liability order for the debt.

This will add further costs of £50 to your account. However you can contact the business rates recovery team to set up a special payment arrangement to pay. The court cannot agree payment terms with you.

Liability Order

If any balance on the summons remains unpaid at the hearing, we will ask the court for a liability order to be made with further costs of £50. You do not have to attend the court hearing however if you do attend please note that the following are not legal defences against the issue of a liability order:

  • you cannot afford to pay
  • the property should be exempt
  • you disagree with the rateable value

We only have to prove to the court that notices have been sent to you, not that they have been received by you.

The Liability Order gives us the right to recover the debt through the following ways:-

Enforcement agents

We can instruct an enforcement agent (formerly bailiff) to collect the debt. This will incur further fees

Recovery stage

Enforcement charges

Enforcement Notice


Enforcement Agent Visit to Take Control of Goods

£235 + if the debt is above £1500 7.5 per cent of the amount above £1500

Enforcement Visit to Remove Goods

£110 + if the debt is above £1500, 7.5 per cent of the amount above £1500

Where Removal and sale takes place


Storage Costs

Actual costs

Locksmiths Costs

Actual costs

Any relevant Court Application Fees

Actual costs

Auctioneers costs where the sale is held on the auctioneers premises


Auctioneers Commission

Not exceeding 15% of the sum realised

Auctioneers out of pocket expenses

Actual costs

Reasonable Advertising costs

Actual costs

Internet auction costs

Actual costs

In some circumstances exceptional costs will apply

Agreed by Court


Our appointed enforcement agents are:

  • Newlyn: 01604 633 001
  • CDER Group (formerly known as Phoenix): 0330 460 5295
  • Rundle: 08456 585 040
  • Equita: 01604 628 360

Insolvency Proceedings

We may commence bankruptcy proceeding against you or winding up proceeding against your company. This is a serious matter and you will have to give up any possessions of value or assets.

Committal to Prison

We may, in certain circumstances, apply to the Magistrates Court for a means enquiry. This may result in a prison sentence.

Advice from the Business Debt Line

If you are struggling with your business you can get further advice from the Business Debt Line.

Business Debtline
Tricorn House
51-53 Hagley Road
B16 8TP

0800 197 6026

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm

For more information on how to deal with business debt visit the Business debt line website.

The London Business Hub Wayfinder

For free and impartial advice we have partnered with the Mayor’s London Business Hub to bring The London Business Hub Wayfinder scheme.

They can help match businesses with unbiased expert support on a range of issues including:

  • Business planning
  • Financial planning, loans and grants
  • Sales and marketing support
  • Employee hiring, retention and development
  • Technology adoption
  • Exporting and more