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What happens if you don't pay your business rates?

Action we may take if you don't pay

If we don't receive payment we will begin recovery action.

Your Business Rates bill tells you how much you owe, the instalment(s) and the date payment needs to be made.


If you are late with a payment or miss an instalment, you'll get a reminder notice giving you seven days to bring your business rate payments up to date. If you do not pay within the time allowed or you fall behind with your payments again, you will be sent a final notice. 

Final notice

This means that you have to pay the outstanding balance of your business rates bill (the full amount for the rest of the year).

If you do not pay the full amount on the final notice, we will start court action to recover the debt.


We will send you a summons telling you the date of the court hearing and the full amount of unpaid Business Rates, plus our costs of £55.00. Only payment in full will stop the recovery action at this stage.

You do not need to go to court if:

  • you accept that you owe the amount on the Summons and
  • you pay the full amount you owe, including costs, before the hearing, or
  • you contact us before the hearing and we agree an acceptable arrangement to pay what you owe.

You can call the business rates team on 01237 428700 or email us at

You do have a right to attend if you wish. If you are attending court, you need to bring all the paperwork with you, including any receipts. Please be aware that you may have to wait before the court hearing begins.

The magistrates consider whether you are liable to pay non-domestic rates, not your ability to pay. If you are liable to pay and have not done so, the magistrates will grant a liability order. When the liability order is granted, an additional cost of £10 will be added to your bill, bringing the costs so far to £65.00.

You must pay the full amount shown on the summons, including the costs, to stop further recovery action. We incur costs in preparing the summons and we recover those costs from you. 

You can read more about how we deal with various debts in this policy  A Fair Collection and Recovery of Debt Policy (PDF) [290KB]

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