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Collection and enforcement

The Authority's aim is to collect all statutory instalments of Business Rates as they become due, i.e. on the first day of each month (usually from 1st April to 1st January of the following year).

 The most cost effective method of collection for the Authority is Direct Debit. Should you wish to take advantage of the method of payment, see "Business Rates Payments" and download a direct debit mandate for completion and return to the Authority.

The Collection Process

Billing and collection of Business Rates is governed by the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and The Non Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement) (Local Lists) Regulations 1989.

Demand and Reminder Notices

The law states that:

  • The Business Rate Bill is issued for an annual charge and you have the right to pay by monthly instalments.
  • If an instalment is not paid by the due date the Council will issue a Reminder Notice.
  • If you do not make payment within 7 days of a Reminder Notice being issued the right to pay by instalments is lost and the whole balance for the remainder of the year becomes due.
  • If you bring your account up to date within 7 days of the first reminder notice but you are subsequently late in paying an instalment on a second occasion the Authority is entitled to issue a Final Notice for the remaining balance of the annual charge.

Magistrates' Court

If the whole amount for the year has become due and payment is not made in full, you will be summonsed to the Magistrates' Court where the Authority will apply for a Liability Order. A summons is a legal notice requiring that your case appear before the Magistrates' Court. You are entitled to attend Court; however, there is no need to do so unless you dispute that you are liable to pay the Business Rates. Please note, inability to pay is not a defence.

Valid defences are:

  • You are not liable for the period as stated on the demand notice.
  • The Business Rate has not been demanded in accordance with the statutory regulations.
  • The amount demanded has been paid in full.
  • More than six years has elapsed since the day on which the charge became due.
  • Bankruptcy (including Individual Voluntary Arrangements) receivership or winding up proceedings have been initiated.

An outstanding appeal against the Rateable Value of your property is not a valid defence against the granting of a Liability Order. Until such time as an appeal is settled, payment should continue to be made in accordance with your latest demand notice.

If you are experiencing difficulty in paying you are advised to contact the Revenues Customer Services Team on 01623 457400 as early as possible to negotiate a repayment plan. As long as an acceptable repayment plan is adhered to, no further action will be taken against you once the Liability Order has been granted.

Until the court hearing date has been reached, the Revenues Customer Services Team will be able to consider withdrawing court action in favour of a valid direct debit instruction.

Enforcement

If a Liability Order has been granted, the Council has the right to determine the next stage of enforcement.  If no contact or arrangement to pay has been made the following options are available to the Council:

  • Taking Control of Goods through an enforcement agent previously known as bailiffs
  • Committal to Prison
  • Petition to the Court for a declaration of Bankruptcy
  • Petition to the Court for a Winding Up Order
  • Application for a Charging Order on the property.

If your case is passed to the Council’s Enforcement Agent, you should contact them as soon as possible.

Costs

On the issue of a Summons - £80.00

Taking Control of Goods - New government legislation came in to force on 6th April 2014 which will change the way Council Tax and Business Rates is collected by Bailiff companies and the fees charged by them. The Act provides a new statutory code for taking control of goods in order to sell them to enforce the payment of debts.

Bailiffs become 'enforcement agents' (EA's).

Levying distress becomes 'taking control of goods' (TCOG).

A 'walking possession' agreement becomes a 'controlled goods agreement' (CGA).

The Act has set strict costs that the enforcement agent will charge as shown below.

Compliance Stage:  £75.00

The fee covers all the activities of the enforcement agent from receipt of the instruction to recover the debt, up until but not including the first attendance at the premises.

Enforcement Stage:  £235.00 + 7.5% of any debt over £1,500.00

The fee covers all activities of the enforcement agent from the first attendance at the premises up to, but not including the commencement of the sale or disposal stage.

Sale or Disposal Stage:  £110.00 + 7.5% of any debt over £1,500.00

The fee covers all activities of enforcement from the first attendance at the property for the purpose of transporting goods to the place of sale or commencing the preparation for sale, if the sale is to be held on the premises, until completion of the sale or disposal. Further fees may also apply if this final stage is reached.

If you are struggling to make payment of your Council Tax or Business Rates please contact Revenues Recovery on 01623 457325 or email revenuesrecovery@ashfield.gov.uk