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If you do not pay your business rates

Recovery steps

There are three main steps that happen if you do not pay your business rates.

  1. Reminder notice
  2. Summons letter
  3. Liability order and debt recovery

If you do not pay your business rates we will send you a reminder notice. If you receive a reminder notice you have 7 days to make payment, or the right to pay by instalments will be lost.

If you do not pay after receiving a final notice, a court summons will be issued for the full amount. You will also have to pay extra court costs.

You will get a summons letter if you have ignored the reminder and final notice and still owe

A summons starts the process with the court to recover the money owed.

If you pay the full amount, including any extra costs that have been added before the court hearing, then no further action will be taken.

If no payment is made following a summons letter the case will go to court. If the magistrate makes the decision that you must pay then a liability order will be issued. A liability order gives us powers to collect money that is owed.

Following a liability order being issued, if you don’t make contact with the Council and agree a repayment plan, you only have a further seven days after the hearing before the debt is passed to an enforcement agent to collect.

If you fall behind with an agreed repayment plan, the council will seek to recover the debt by any means without further notice.

We can send bailiffs (known as enforcement agents) to seize your property if there is no other way to recover your debt. We will tell you how much you owe before the bailiff visits you.

The bailiffs’ costs can be added to the total amount you owe the council. Find out more about this process on the Bailiffs and their fees page.

We can take you to court if you do not pay the money you owe, and the bailiffs can’t recover enough property to cover it.

The court will consider whether you:

  • can afford to pay the bill
  • have a valid reason to not pay

You can be sent to prison for up to 3 months if the court decides you do not have a good reason to not pay your business rates and you refuse to do so.

If the court decides you have something to pay back you may be able to make an arrangement to pay your debt over time.

You do not have to attend court if you are not disputing that you owe the debt. If you believe a liability order should not be made against you, you should seek legal advice to see if you have a valid defence by consulting with a solicitor well before the date of the hearing.

The non-domestic rating (collection and enforcement) allow for the court to make an order for reasonable costs incurred in the application.

  • A non-domestic rates summons is £70.00
  • A committal summons is £245.00 plus a further £75 for a warrant of arrest

Any action taken against you after the hearing will incur further substantial costs payable by you.

Related documents

Debt Management Strategy (PDF, 664KB)

Business Rates Summons Costs Calculation 2017/18 (xls, 23KB)

Contact details

Business rates, local taxation and benefits, Municipal Offices, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HU


Telephone: 0300 3030164 option 4

Telephone opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 4:30pm, except bank holidays