The Recovery Process
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Reminders are sent addressed to all liable persons named on the bill. Please note that the council does not have to send you a reminder each time you miss an instalment, as the law only requires us to send a maximum of one reminder in any financial year.
If after receiving the reminder the overdue amount is paid by the date specified in the reminder, the liable person may continue to pay by monthly instalments.
If the overdue amount isn't paid by the date specified the next stage is to issue a summons to court.
A final notice explains to the liable person that they have lost the right to pay by instalments and that the balance for the financial year should now be paid in full. If the full amount is not paid within seven days, the liable person will be sent a summons. We may, however, be willing to suspend the final notice and reinstate your instalments if you contact the council to arrange to bring your account up to date and set up a direct debit instruction for future instalments.
At this stage the council has decided to take recovery action against the liable person(s) to ensure that the business rates are paid in full.
A complaint is made to the magistrates court which allows a summons to be issued with the authority of the court, which gives the liable person(s) at least 14 days notice of the date of the court hearing. The summons explains to the liable person(s) that the council intend to ask the magistrates to grant a liability order for the amount of business rates outstanding plus the costs incurred (the amount of the costs is agreed beforehand by the magistrates and the council).
The liable person(s) does not have to attend court. You are only required to attend if you wish to dispute the granting of the liability order. Please note the magistrates will not consider any proposals for payment. The purpose of the hearing is to consider the actual liability for payment of the rates. The court cannot consider your financial circumstances, your reasons for not paying or disputes about the rateable value of your premises. If you choose not to attend, the hearing will continue in your absence and your case will be dealt with in accordance to law. If you feel you have a valid dispute against the issue of a liability order please contact a business rates officer before the hearing date. If payment of the full amount including costs is made before the day of the court hearing, the application for a liability order will not proceed.
When a summons is sent we include some explanatory notes. Visit our non domestic rates summons page for more information.