Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Some of our services have temporarily stopped or changed. See our Changes to Council services page for services’ status and our Coronavirus updates section for latest information.

Problems Paying?

Business Rates are a yearly charge that is paid over 10 months starting in April.

If you’re having problems paying you should contact us and we may be able to come up with a payment plan you can afford.

If you don’t pay you will be sent a reminder. If you pay within seven days of the reminder your Business Rates bill will continue as normal. If you don’t pay after the reminder you will get a summons which will incur court costs.

If you receive two reminders in one financial year and don’t pay the next instalment on time you will lose your right to pay by instalments and will be sent a final notice.

Please view the 'Recovery Action' tab to see what further action may be taken against you to recover unpaid Business Rates.

Final Notice

A final notice will ask you to pay the whole balance in one lump sum within 7 days.

If this is not paid or a payment plan isn’t set up you will get a summons which will incur costs.

Summons

If you get a summons you will have to pay extra costs. If you pay the amount you owe in full together with the costs before the court date the hearing will not go ahead.

You can contact us before the hearing, to make a repayment plan. However the hearing will still go ahead and additional costs will be applied for as detailed below.

If you agree to a payment plan you must make the payments on time, otherwise we will have to take further action to collect the debt.

Court

If your case goes to court because you haven’t paid the full amount, the council will apply for a liability order. Applying for a liability order will mean you have to pay extra costs. The liability order means the council can recover the money you owe in a number of different ways.

We will try to accept any offer to repay any amount outstanding. A liability order will continue to be applied for, which will incur extra costs, as security against you not making the payments. If you agree to a payment plan you must make the payments on time, otherwise we will have to take further recovery action.

Liability Order

If a liability order has been granted by the magistrates court we will send you a letter to tell you. If you do not pay in response to this letter, or contact us to agree a payment plan your case will be passed to the council’s Enforcement Agent.

Enforcement Agents

The Enforcement Agent employed by the council may call at your property to make a list of goods which can be sold to pay the outstanding Business Rates. You should try to make a payment plan with the Enforcement Agent. If you fail to keep to the payment plan the Enforcement Agent could return later to remove and sell your goods. This will include additional costs for the removal of the goods, auctioneer's fees and the cost of storage.

New enforcement rules came into effect from 6 April 2014. Bailiffs are now called Enforcement Agents.

There will be 2 fees they are able to charge:

  1. Compliance fee £75.00. This will be charged by the Enforcement Agents on receipt of a Liability Order from the council.
  2. Enforcement fee £235.00. This will be applied when the Enforcement Agent has attended the property for the 1st time.

Total fees that will be applied are £310.

If an arrangement is made, the bailiff will take the Compliance Fee of £75 with the first payment.

If the debtor does not respond to the first letter an Enforcement Agency sends, the Enforcement Agent will attend the debtors address to take control of goods. This is when an additional £235 will be payable.

The Enforcement Agent can take control of debtor’s goods if they are located on a highway, or on premises that he has a power to enter. The Enforcement Agent may enter premises without a warrant in order to search for and take control of goods where he believes it is the place where the debtor usually lives or carries on a trade or business.

To avoid having to pay additional costs, please contact the council before your account gets to this stage.

If the Enforcement Agent calls and you don’t have enough goods which can be removed, the Enforcement Agent will return the liability order to the council for further enforcement action.

Bankruptcy and liquidation

If you are a company, the liability order gives us the power to wind up your company if you do not pay the Business Rates. If you are an individual, the council can apply for a bankruptcy order. If you are having difficulties paying you need to tell us.

Prison

If all other options fail, a summons may be issued for you to attend Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court for a committal hearing. If the outcome of this hearing considers you should have paid your business rates, a warrant of commitment may be issued which will mean you have to go to prison for up to three months. Again this will mean you have to pay extra costs.

< previous next >
A - Z of council services