What happens if I don't pay my business rates?
If you are experiencing financial difficulties and cannot afford to pay your Business Rates, you should contact us immediately, so that we can check to make sure you receive the discounts and reliefs to which you may be entitled.
If you do not contact us, and continue to default on your payments, action will be taken to recover any money outstanding. This will involve the issue of a Magistrates' Court summons, and could result in enforcement agent action, insolvency or even committal to prison. (Enforcement agents or enforcement companies were previously known as bailiffs)
If you do not pay the full amount, or you fail to keep to the arrangement agreed, the Council will apply to the Court for a liability order against the account. This grants the Council further powers to collect any amounts outstanding. The account will then be issued to an enforcement agent, who will collect the money on our behalf.
Enforcement Agent action
Once your account has been issued to the enforcement agent, you should make any payments directly to them. They may be willing to make a short-term payment arrangement with you. If you still do not make payment, or default on an arrangement made with the enforcement agent, the enforcement agent may remove goods from your property. The goods will then be sold to cover the balance outstanding and the enforcement agent's costs.
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.
The Council employs four enforcement companies. They are:
PO Box 324
phone: 0844 701 3990
24 hour payment line: 0845 078 1194
phone: 0161 834 2460
Marston Group Ltd (formerly Drakes Group Ltd)
phone: 0845 076 6262
Bristow & Sutor Ltd
phone: 0871 677 0070
The Enforcement Agent process from April 2014
1. The enforcement agent administration stage is where the enforcement agent starts initial contact with the debtor. This results in administration fees, but allows the debtor a period of notice to come to a payment arrangement.
2. The next stage is the enforcement stage and involves visiting the debtor's property. This attracts a set fee to cover all work at enforcement stage plus a further percentage fee for debts over a certain value.
3. If goods are seized, the sale of goods stage attracts further costs including fees to cover the removal of goods and the costs of re-selling them, plus a further percentage fee for debts above a certain value.