Methods of Recovery
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If on the date of the Hearing the TOTAL AMOUNT DUE, as shown on the summons, has not been paid in full, 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 additional costs of £180 will be added to the account.
Soon after the hearing the recovery team will send out a notification of liability order. This informs that unless payment is made in full within 14 days the council will commence one of the recovery options without further notice.
At all stages of recovery liable persons are encouraged to contact the council, or its agents, and make an offer of payment. We may be able to make a short-term arrangement but we may not accept your offer of payment if it will take too long to clear the amount owed. The council can be fairly flexible in that the arrangements can be weekly, fortnightly, monthly etc. If the arrangement is accepted by the recovery team and maintained by the liable person(s) no further action is required. If a payment arrangement is not maintained, the council will take recovery action as appropriate. Please note that if we agree an arrangement, we will still ask the court to grant a liability order (which will incur additional costs of £180), this is done to protect the council's interests and the costs will be included in any arrangement to pay.
A liability order gives the council the authority of the court to recover monies by the following methods:
This action would involve the council instructing a company 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 at Gov.uk/bankruptcy
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.