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What if you don't pay your business rates?

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7. Action taken after court

We can instruct an enforcement agent to collect an unpaid business rates debt from you if a liability order has been issued in your name and you :

  • have not made an agreed repayment plan
  • have made an agreed repayment plan but not kept to it

Before we pass your business rates debt to an enforcement agent we will send you a letter telling you of the costs that they can charge you. Once the Enforcement Agent has been instructed, you will have to deal with them directly. We will not intervene or be involved again.

We currently only use the following Enforcement Agents to act on our behalf to collect business rates following the issue of a liability order:

Bristow & Sutor, Bartfleet Road, Redditch, Worcestershire B98 0FL Tel : 0330 390 2010       

Dukes, Dukes Court, 7 Newcastle St, Stone, Staffordshire, ST15 8JT Tel : 01785 825 500. Auto Payment Line 01302 513 291

Jacobs. 6 Europa Boulevard, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41 4PE, Tel : 0151 650 4800, or local rate 0345 601 2692 

Ross & Roberts. PO Box 23 Somerton, Somerset, TA11 7YU Tel : 01458 550 480

Rossendales. PO Box 324, Rossendale, BB4 0GE, Tel : 0844 701 3980

These are the stages that enforcement agents will follow:

Compliance stage

If we pass your unpaid debt to an enforcement agent, you will have to pay a fixed fee of £75.00 that is legally due. This will apply to each liability order we send them. The enforcement agent will send you a Notice of Enforcement (this is a statutory letter) and you will have seven days to pay in full. Please respond immediately. If you are unable to pay in full the enforcement agent may agree for the debt to be repaid by instalments. Any payments or offers of payment should be made to the enforcement agent (not us).

In addition to the Notice of Enforcement, the enforcement agent may also contact you by email, text, letter or phone. It is important that you do not ignore these as once it goes to the enforcement stage an enforcement agent can visit. Then you risk losing your belongings and you will be charged additional costs.

Enforcement stage

When an enforcement agent visits, you will have to pay a further fixed fee of £235.00 plus 7.5% for any balance due over £1,500. If you pay in full at this stage, you will still have to pay all of the costs. This will be at least £310.00 (£235.00 plus £75.00).

If you are unable to pay in full, the enforcement agent can either take control of your goods or enter into an acceptable agreement for you to repay the money owed – including their costs. This means they will make a list of your goods that cover the amount of your debt. If your goods are included on a Controlled Goods Agreement you cannot dispose of or sell them without the enforcement agents permission.

There are certain goods that are exempt from being included on a controlled goods agreement. For example:

  • items necessary for the basic domestic needs of the debtor and members of the debtor’s household.
  • items or equipment which are necessary for use personally by the debtor or in the debtors employment, business, trade, study, up to the value of £1,350. Above this then the exemption does not apply.

Sale or disposal stage

If you:

  • refuse to sign the Controlled Goods Agreement the enforcement agent can take your goods whilst he/she is at your property.
  • do not pay as agreed and you have signed a Controlled Goods Agreement, the enforcement agent may enter your property to take the goods listed.

Either way, you will be charged a fixed fee of £110.00 plus 7.5% of any balance due. You may also have to pay additional costs for the sale of your goods.

It is an offence to stop an enforcement agent from carrying out his duties.

If the enforcement agent is unable to collect the amount due, the Council will begin insolvency proceedings to wind up your company or put you into bankruptcy. As a last resort, the Council retains the right to commence committal proceedings, which could result in a term of imprisonment.

Complaints about enforcement agents

Please direct any complaints firstly to the enforcement agent. If you are dissatisfied with their response then you can email us and we will deal with your complaint in line with our complaints procedure.