Methods of Recovery
The summons will provide a total amount due and this should be paid in full. If this is not done before the hearing then an officer from the recovery team will attend the court to present the council’s case.
If the magistrates are satisfied that the ratepayer is liable to pay the charge they will grant a liability order and an additional £180 will be added to the account. A liability order gives the council the authority of the court to recover monies.
If you are liable then we encourage you to contact us, or our agents, at any stage of recovery to make an offer of payment.
As a result, we may be able to make a short-term arrangement. But we may not accept your offer if it will take too long to clear the amount owed.
If an arrangement is accepted by the recovery team and payments are maintained by the liable person then no further action is needed. If payments are missed then we will take appropriate recovery action without further notice.
This action would involve the council instructing an Enforcement Agent to secure payment from you. You will have heard these companies referred to as bailiffs. However, as of 6 April 2014, under Government changes, they are known as Enforcement Agents.
We can consider action against you if you owe £5000 or more. More information is available on the government website.
Committal to prison
There are significant costs involved and a minimum of £300 will be added to the debt. The court officer will ask that the magistrates find that the liable person is guilty of wilful refusal or culpable neglect in not paying the business rates and that they be given a term of imprisonment for a period of three months.
What help is available?
There are lots of agencies that offer advice on managing money, budgeting and debt management. It is important that people who need help seek it from reputable organisations who offer free, impartial and accurate advice. Please take this opportunity to seek advice and assistance for your particular needs now.