Business rates payment problems and the recovery process 

The law says you must pay Business Rates by the due date. We will usually take action to recover what you owe us if you get into arrears.

This means it's important to  contact the Business Rates team immediately if you can’t afford to pay your Business Rates bill. We might be able to help.

It's also important to pay attention to any reminder notices we sent you, because you might have to pay legal costs as well as the rates you owe if we take action against you.

It can take several days for payments to reach us, so you must allow enough time to make sure each payment is with us by the date it’s due. 

You must still pay the amount on the bill we have sent if you are waiting to hear from us about a rate relief application or are in discussion with the Valuation Office Agency about the Rateable Value for the property. Once the decision has been made, you'll get a new bill that takes into account any overpayment.  

To pay the amount due now, you can  pay your Business Rates online or call our 24 hour payment line on 0300 123 5039. You will need your debit or credit card and your Business Rates account number. 

Business Rates recovery process

The first time you are late with a Business Rates payment

We will send you a Reminder Notice if you don’t pay your Business Rates on time. You must pay the amount due within 7 days. You will lose the right to make future payments by instalments if you don’t pay within 7 days. This means you must then pay the full year’s balance within the next 7 days.

You should  contact the Business Rates team straight away if you get a reminder notice from us when you think you have already paid. 

To pay the amount due now, you can pay your Business Rates online or call our 24 hour payment line on 0300 123 5039. You will need your debit or credit card and your Business Rates account number. 

If you are late with a Business Rates payment more than once in the same financial year (1 April to 31 March)

If you have paid late once and then don't pay on time another time, you will get a Final Notice. This means you lose the right to make future payments by instalments. You must then pay the full year’s balance within the next 7 days.

If we say you must pay the full year’s balance and you don’t do so

We can serve a summons if you don’t pay the total amount shown on the reminder or Final Notice within 7 days. This means a date will be set for a court hearing. The cost of serving the summons will be added to your debt. You can stop the recovery proceedings by paying the full amount on the summons before the date of the hearing.

If we serve a summons on you 

The case will go to court if you don’t pay in full before the date of the hearing. If you can't pay in full you should contact us to make arrangements about paying the outstanding amount. The case will still go to court, but we won't take any further action against you if we have agreed a payment plan and you are making payments by the agreed dates. 

You don’t need to go to the court hearing if you accept that you owe the amount outstanding. The court can't take account of your financial situation or discuss payment with you.

If you believe you have already paid or that someone else is responsible for paying, you can contact us. If we agree with you, we will stop proceedings. It will save you time and money if you talk to us before this stage if you don't think you should be paying the amount.

When Business Rates cases go to court, we ask the court to make a Liability Order. The Liability Order allows us to take action to recover what you owe us. The cost of making the order is added to what you owe. You must still pay this extra cost even if you have made a payment arrangement. 

After the court hearing

If we have agreed a payment plan with you, we will only enforce the Liability Order if you miss a payment. We can enforce a Liability Order straightaway if we have not agreed a payment plan with you.

Actions we can take include bringing in enforcement agents (bailiffs), and starting bankruptcy or winding up (liquidation) proceedings.

Enforcement agents (bailiffs)

As soon as we pass your debt to enforcement agents, a Compliance Fee is added to what you owe. The agents will contact you directly to arrange payment or agree a payment plan. Enforcement agents can visit your premises and take goods to the value of what you owe if you don’t pay or agree a plan. You will then owe more money for their costs and they can take more goods to cover this amount.

You must make all payment arrangements directly with the enforcement agent. Don’t pay us at this stage, because the agents might not know you have paid and could still visit you to remove goods.

The agents will continue enforcement action until they have recovered enough money or property to cover your debt. 

You will also have to pay a further fee when your goods are sold or disposed of. 

To find out how much extra it will cost you if we need to instruct enforcement agents, see enforcement charges

Bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings

Where there is a Liability Order in place with an outstanding balance of £3,000 or more, we can start winding up (liquidation) proceedings. Where the outstanding balance is £5,000 or more, we can start bankruptcy proceedings.

Contact us

Contact Business Rates online

Business Rates Team available for telephone enquiries:
Monday - Friday, 9:00 - 17:00

0300 123 5013

Revenues Service 
Cheshire East Council
PO Box 622
Crewe
Cheshire
CW1 9JH

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