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If you are having problems paying business rates

Council Tax and Business Rates system update

Our Council Tax and Business Rates system will be unavailable on the morning of Tuesday 25 June until approximately 1pm. This is due to essential updates.

Our phone lines will remain open during this time, but we will not be able to update or amend any accounts.

If you manage your Council Tax account online, you will not be able to access this service during this time.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

We understand that some people genuinely struggle to pay their Business Rates and we will do all we can to help. Please contact us straight away if you are having difficulty paying and we will do our best to help you.

If you are having problems paying your Business Rates, there are a number of options you can take to manage your payments:

Set up a Direct Debit

If you’ve received a Reminder Notice, this is a good opportunity to ensure your Business Rates are paid on time each month. Visit the payments page to complete a Direct Debit form.

Spread your instalments over 12 months

You have the option to ask us to spread your annual payments over 12 months instead of 10. If you wish to take up the option of 12 monthly instalments, please contact us

Enquire about Business Rates relief or reductions

We will ask you about your circumstances to see if you could claim a discount or reduction to your Business Rates bill. To enquire, please contact us using our online form.

Seek debt advice

If you’re struggling with your payments or other financial commitments and would like free, impartial advice, you could contact the following organisations:

Access budgeting tools

Online budgeting tools can help you understand what you’re earning and spending, and where you might be able to cut costs:

If you are struggling to pay your Business Rates bill, please use one of the resources above, or contact us to discuss your options.

Contact us

If you fail to pay your bill

Please contact us if you think you will not be able to make an upcoming Business Rates payment. It is easier for us to help if you get in touch before the payment is due. You can email us at businessrates@bathnes.gov.uk or contact us using our online form.

WarningIf you have not paid your bill, and have not let us know, we may use recovery actions to get the money you owe.

Select the appropriate item below to understand the process and the consequences for you. Some of these actions mean that you will lose your right to pay your Business Rates by instalments, and you may have to cover additional costs.

Missed payment

If you have missed a payment, pay it as soon as possible using our online payments system. Set up a Direct Debit to pay your Business Rates to avoid missing future payments.

If you are unable to pay the missed payment, please contact us as soon as possible.

Reminder notice

Reminder Notices are issued when our records show that you have not made payment in line with the instalments stated on your Business Rates bill.

If you are issued a Reminder Notice, you have 7 days to pay the amount on the notice. If you pay the amount on the notice within 7 days of the reminder being issued, you can continue to pay by instalments. If you do not pay the amount on the notice within 7 days, you will lose your right to pay by instalments and be asked to pay the total remaining balance of your bill.

If you ignore a Reminder Notice, we may have to continue with recovery action against you and you may end up having to pay extra costs.

If you have received a Reminder Notice, we encourage that you make future payments through a Direct Debit to avoid missing future payments.

Final notice

By law, we are only required to send you two Reminder Notices for late payment in a single financial year. If you fail to pay on time for a third time within the same year, you will immediately lose your right to pay by instalments.

A Final Notice will be issued for the total remaining balance of your bill for the year.

If you have received a Final Notice and wish to pay the full amount now, please use our online payments system

If you are having difficulties paying your Business Rates, please contact us straight away as we may be able to help you.

Summons

If you have been sent Reminder Notices or a Final Notice and have not contacted us to talk about it, we will apply to the Magistrates’ Court to issue you with a summons. 

When the summons is issued, there will be an additional £68.00 added to the balance of your account.  

A summons is a request for you to appear before the Magistrates’ Court. If you contact us to pay in full or agree to a payment arrangement, you will not need to appear before the court. 

If the hearing goes ahead, you do not need to attend unless you are disputing liability for the outstanding amount. The court will not consider your ability to pay the outstanding amount. The court will only consider whether you are liable to pay the Business Rates. 

If you have received a summons, you should contact us immediately to discuss your account. 

If you wish to pay the full amount now, please pay online

Liability Orders

What is a liability order? 

We will ask the Magistrate to grant us a liability order at the hearing. If the court is satisfied that you are liable for the Business Rates shown on the summons, the court will grant a liability order. 

With the liability order, we have the authority to take further action to collect the money you owe. Once the liability order has been granted, we will add an additional £12.00 to your bill for court costs. 

We will contact you when a liability order has been granted. You must contact us immediately when you receive the liability order to avoid further action being taken against you. 

What does a liability order allow us to do? 

When the Magistrates’ Court grants a liability order, it allows us to request personal financial information from you. This enables us to decide how best to recover your unpaid Business Rates. We may need to recover your unpaid Business Rates using Enforcement Agents.

Enforcement Agents

Enforcement Agents were previously referred to as ‘Bailiffs’. The laws around debt recovery by Enforcement Agents changed in 2014. Read Enforcement Agent Fees 2014 for more information. 

If your debt is passed to an Enforcement Agent, costs will be added to the amount you owe. 

If an Enforcement Agent contacts you, they will give you the opportunity to make arrangement for payment. 

If you fail to make the agreed payments, the Enforcement Agent may visit your home and take your beongings.  

If your account has been passed to an Enforcement Agent for collection, you will be able to contact them directly using the following details: 

Bristow & Sutor Civil Enforcement Agents
Bristow & Sutor Civil Enforcement Agents
Bartleet Road
Washford
Redditch
Worcestershire
B98 0FL

Opening hours for telephone enquiries are; Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm (8.30am to 6.00pm for card payments)

Telephone: 08716 77 00 70

DG Collection Services Ltd
DG Collection Services Ltd
Richmond House
Avonmouth Way
Bristol
BS11 8DE

Telephone: 01179 381424

Email: info@rundles.org.uk

Rundle & Co. Ltd
Rundle & Co. Ltd
53 Northampton Road
Market Harborough
Leicestershire
LE16 9HB

Telephone: 08456 585030

Bankruptcy

If your total debt exceeds £750, we can apply to make you bankrupt. Please be aware that your home may be at risk if this action is taken.

Committal Proceedings

We can apply to the Magistrates’ Court for your committal to prison if the Enforcement Agent has been unable to collect the outstanding bill. The magistrates will assess your circumstances and ask why you haven’t paid. If they believe you should have paid, they may issue a committal warrant and you could go to prison for up to 90 days.