Business rates enforcement
Taking court action
We will take court action to enforce payment of the debt if you either do not make an arrangement for payment or fail to keep to an arrangement made. At this point costs start to become payable. The costs for the issue of a summons are currently £75.
If you settle in full the amount, including costs, shown on the summons before the court hearing, we will take no further action and proceedings will be withdrawn.
Discussing an arrangement for payment
If you are unable to pay the full amount immediately, we can still be contacted to discuss an arrangement for payment on the understanding that the application for a Liability Order and additional costs will proceed. In these cases, we will not take any enforcement action on the Liability Order if the arrangement is maintained.
If a Liability Order is granted, additional costs of £45 will be incurred, resulting in total costs of £120 being added to your account.
The Liability Order
If a Liability Order is granted, we can immediately take action to enforce payment of the outstanding amount. Even at this late stage, unless instructions to take enforcement action have been issued, you will still have the opportunity to make an arrangement for payment.
If you do not make an arrangement for payment, or fail to keep to an arrangement made, we will take action to enforce payment of the debt without further notice.
How we can enforce payment
The main ways we can enforce payment of the debt are as follows:
Enforcement Agents (Formally called Bailiffs)
Enforcement Agents may be instructed to remove and sell your goods to the value of the outstanding Business Rates and costs incurred. The Enforcement Agent will give you the opportunity to make a satisfactory arrangement for payment before considering removing your goods. If Enforcement Agents are instructed, you will incur costs in accordance with the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014, the fixed levels of fees are:
Initial action/contact – £ 75.00
Further Enforcement – £235.00
Levy Fee (if applicable)* – 7.5 per cent of balance
(*) Levy Fee will only apply if the debt exceeds £1,500
We will send you a warning letter at least 14 days before an Enforcement Agent visit. We will include with this letter, full details for the costs which can be incurred. If you arrange payment immediately after receiving this letter you can avoid paying these costs.
Bankruptcy / liquidation proceedings may be commenced.
The above options will be explored to the full in respect of any business which continues to operate without paying its Business Rates.
Further court action
If the Enforcement Agent is unable to recover the debt and you are a person whose business, if any, is no longer operational, we will still continue to pursue the debt. If you fail to keep to an arrangement made, and another way of enforcing payment is not appropriate, we will make an application to the Magistrates’ Court for your commitment to prison. Even at this late stage, we can still be contacted and we may be able to agree an arrangement for payment with you. The commencement of Committal proceedings can result in additional costs in excess of £100 being incurred and the Magistrates can send you to prison for a period up to three months.
At whichever stage of the enforcement process you make contact to make an arrangement for payment, wherever possible we will listen to any difficulties you may be having and deal with you in a courteous manner. In doing this, we will seek to ensure that you are able to meet your ongoing Business Rate liability. This will mean that, in order to help you, we may sometimes need to ask for full details of your financial position. There may also be occasions when we will advise you to seek help from a firm of Insolvency Practitioners who may be able to give you specialist advice on how best to resolve any difficulties.
Contact us to discuss your Business Rates at any stage.
Contact us - Business Rates
0845 300 5562
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)
South Oxfordshire District Council
PO Box 162