How we collect unpaid business rates

You must pay your business rates bill by the given date, allowing 7 days for the payment to reach us.

We will send a reminder notice if your payments are not made at the specified time and you will lose the right to pay in instalments if you don't pay within seven days from the date on the reminder notice.

If you lose the right to pay in instalments and do not pay the full amount for the year, you will be issued a court summons.

Paying in full before court hearing

If you have received a summons notice, you can make payment for the outstanding balance in full before the court hearing date to prevent any further action from being taken. If you do so, you will not need to attend the court hearing and the case will be withdrawn.

How to make payment

Paying in instalments

If you can’t make payment in full before the court hearing date, then you can make an agreement to pay by instalments by contacting the Business Rates Department. If a payment plan is agreed, then you will not need to attend the court hearing. We will ask the court to grant the liability order in your absence and collect the money in accordance with the arrangement.

Contact information

Contesting a summons

If you believe you have a good defence, you can contest a summons. If you would like to contest the summons notice, you must contact the Business Rates Department using the contact details above before the court hearing date to explain why you believe you are not liable for the charges.

If the issue can’t be resolved and you want to argue your case before the court, you must book a timed appointment to attend a virtual hearing. To arrange a hearing, you must contact the Business Rates Department by email at Please provide a copy of your summons notice and your reason for disputing the charge. An officer will then allocate a time at which you can join a video link into the court hearing remotely from the council office, or from your home, and will explain to you how to do this.

Please note - you should not attend court unless you have a pre-agreed timed appointment which has been confirmed by the business rates department. You may not be allowed to enter the court or council premises unless you have proof of such a request. This is a safety precaution for you and other court users to protect your health during COVID-19.

If a court hearing takes place, we will obtain a liability order to help collect the money you owe. You can still make an arrangement to pay your debt to avoid further action.

If you do not agree a payment plan with us you may also be contacted by an enforcement agent and have to pay the fees in the table below:

TriggerStage Fixed fee Percentage fee
Enforcement agent receives instruction
Compliance fee
First attendance to relevant property
plus 7.5% of the value of the original debt that exceeds £1,500
First attendance for purpose of transporting goods to place of sale
plus 7.5% of the value of the original debt that exceeds £1,500

If an enforcement agent cannot collect on the debt, further action will be taken. This can include insolvency, bankruptcy proceedings and arrest warrants leading to a 3-month prison term.

You can email, or contact us on 020 8379 4766 to discuss other payment options, or to check if you need to go to court.

For valuation issues, see GOV.UK - find a business rates valuation.

If you are worried about your business debts, contact the Business Debtline who provide a free debt advice service for the self-employed and small businesses.

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