Business Rates arrears

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The Business Rates enquiries number 020 8496 3000 is available from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.

If you’re struggling to pay your Business Rates, contact us as soon as possible. We may be able to spread your payments out over a longer time or you may qualify for a Business Rates reduction.

The longer you ignore a debt problem, the worse the situation becomes.

Instalments for Business Rates are due on the first day of each month. If you don’t pay your instalment or your payment arrives after the first day of each month, you will receive a reminder.

If you continually pay late or do not pay at all, you will receive a final notice or court summons. Once you have received either of these, you will lose your right to pay by instalments, and you will also need to pay the full balance for the year in one payment

Set up a Direct Debit to avoid late payments. Paying by this method will stop the need for us to send you reminders, final notices or summonses, which will add to the amount you owe.

As soon as you miss a payment, we will send you a reminder. If you do not bring your account up to date within seven days of receiving the reminder you will lose the right to pay the rest of the year’s rates by instalments. This means you will have to pay the rest of the year’s rates in one lump sum.

If you do bring your account up to date, but then miss another payment, we will send you a final notice and you will lose your right to pay by instalments. You will only receive a maximum of two notices in any one year – a reminder and a final notice. If you do not pay after receiving these notices, a summons with costs of up to £195 will be issued to you.

If you receive a final notice for Business Rates, you have lost your legal right to pay by instalments. The remaining balance is due in full. If you do not pay the full balance shown on the final notice, we will send you a summons and you will be charged additional costs of up to £195.

If you receive a summons because you have not paid your Business Rates, costs of £175 will be added to your account. At the court hearing, we will ask the magistrates to issue a liability order against you and further costs of £20. The £20 will be added to your account after the hearing, making the total costs payable £195.

A liability order is the court’s agreement that you are liable to pay Business Rates for the premises in question. Your ability to pay is not a matter that the magistrates will take into account when issuing a liability order. The liability order gives the Council extra powers to collect the money that you owe. If you are liable for this debt and wish to avoid further recovery action being taken, you must have either paid the amount shown on the summons or have agreed a payment arrangement plan with the revenues and benefits service before the court hearing date.

If you are disputing your liability to pay, please contact us immediately. We will aim to resolve your query before the court hearing.

If you would like to make a payment arrangement to clear your outstanding Business Rates and any costs that you owe, please call us on 020 8496 3000 or email businessrates@walthamforest.gov.uk

Please note that the arrangement balance will include the costs of £20, which will be added to your account if the summons balance is not paid in full by the hearing date.

You have the right to attend the magistrates’ court. The hearing to which you have been summonsed to appear is known as a ‘bulk hearing’. This means that the Council has issued a large number of summonses for the same date and time as yours.

All of these will be dealt with at the same time. The court will only hear individual cases if you have a valid defence against the issue of a summons. It is for the courts to decide what is a valid defence.

To help you, we have listed the main defences:

  • we have been notified of an amendment to your rateable value and your account has not yet been updated
  • Small Business Rates, mandatory or empty relief has not been awarded, although you have applied for it.

In all other cases full payment must be made before the court hearing date. You also have the opportunity to accept the arrangement offered to you on the back of your summons. In all cases the liability order along with the court costs will remain on your account and be included in any arrangement made.

If you do not make full payment including the costs, or you do not have a payment arrangement, we will recover the debt in one of the following ways:

Bankruptcy proceedings

We will apply to the high court to have you made bankrupt. This is extremely serious action and will badly affect your ability to get credit for a long period of time. Once made bankrupt you cannot be concerned or involved in forming or managing a company without the court’s permission. You will also incur substantial additional costs of between £1,500 and in excess of £40,000 and any properties you own can be sold to pay your debt.

Compulsory liquidation

If you run a limited company we may petition for winding up proceedings against your company. This will result in your company being dissolved and you may be disqualified as a director.

Bailiffs/enforcement agents (Business Rates)

We will instruct enforcement agents to collect the debt on our behalf. Any payments that you make will then have to be paid direct to the enforcement agents.

The enforcement agents will charge fees of £75 when your account is passed to them. If you fail to make contact with them within seven days an enforcement fee of £235 will be charged. If you owe more than £1,500 an additional 7.5 per cent will be charged. Some of your company or personal possessions could be sold at public auction. The money collected from the auction will be used to pay the enforcement fees and the Business Rates that you owe.

Contact Click to get info

Revenues and Benefits Service
London Borough of Waltham Forest
PO Box 856 
London  E17 9PN 
 
Phone: 020 8496 3000 (9am-1pm, Monday-Friday)