Difficulties paying business rates
Business rates must be paid in accordance with the instalments outlined on your bill.
Do you owe business rates?
If you owe business rates, you can ask for a payment arrangement to clear the amount you own.
If you are having difficulty or think you may have difficulty paying your business rates, please contact us for advice as soon as possible.
Your business rates bill tells you how much you have to pay for the year and the dates you have to pay it.
If you haven't spoken to us about a problem paying your bill, and you miss an instalment, we will ask you for payment.
Pay by direct debit
Payments by direct debit ensure the instalment date is always met and therefore recovery action, and the addition of costs to your account, are avoided.
You can set up a direct debit straightaway by calling the business rates section on 01772 906972 (minicom: 01772 906858) with your bank account details and the instruction will be actioned without the need to complete any paperwork.
You can also download a Direct Debit Mandate form (PDF) [62KB] and return it to Preston Town Hall.
When you don't pay an instalment of business rates by the date it is due, we will send you a reminder, asking for payment.
If the reminder is paid within the time period specified and future instalments are kept up to date, no further action will be taken.
If you still do not pay, you will lose the right to pay by instalments and you will have to pay the rest of the year's business rates in one go.
If you pay the amount you owe but you fall behind with your instalments again we will send a final notice.
Please note that paying within the month will not avoid recovery, it is important to make payment on the due date shown on the bill.
The final notice gives you seven days to pay the full amount of business rates for the rest of the year. The final notice will tell you how much this will be.
If the business rates are not paid after a reminder or final notice have been sent, we will make a complaint to the Magistrates Court and a summons will be issued, which will add a cost of £46.00 to your account.
The magistrates court will apply for a liability order and additional costs of £43.00 will be added to the outstanding balance.
If you have difficulty paying your business rates at any time, please contact us straight away on 01772 906972.
We are here to help, but once a summons has been issued the options are limited, and payment arrangements will include costs.
If you have not contacted us by the time the magistrates issue a liability order, we will ask enforcement agents to collect the outstanding sum of money or seize your goods.
We will also instruct enforcement agents if other arrangements to collect the money fail, for example if you make an arrangement to pay but don't keep to it.
The enforcement agents will add the costs of doing this to the total they collect from you. The more action they have to take, the more the costs will be. You will be charged for the visit by the enforcement agent even if you are not in when the enforcement agent calls.
As soon as we refer your liability order to enforcement agents, charges will be added to the amount due. Additional fees will be added, based on the action the enforcement agents take and the amount of money owed. The amounts of fees the enforcement agent can charge are prescribed in legislation and are not at the discretion of the enforcement agents or the council.
If the council's enforcement agents are unsuccessful in collecting any money that is outstanding we can then apply to the courts for your committal to prison.
We also have the option to instigate bankruptcy proceedings (in the case of sole traders) or liquidation proceedings (in the case of limited companies) to recover any sum outstanding. This would result in further recovery costs being incurred on your business rates account with us.
Non - domestic rates (also known as business rates) is an increasingly important revenue stream for local authorities, and they are duty bound to ensure that the public purse is properly protected.
The policy has been written in response to each Council's need to ensure that the administration and collection of business rates by Revenue Services, whose responsibility it is to administer and collect non domestic rates for each authority, is carried out in a fair and consistent manner.
For a copy of the policy download our Administration and Collection Policy (PDF) [294KB] . You can also download our Shared Service Revenues Recovery Policy (PDF) [86KB] .