North East Lincolnshire Council

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

Help us to help you! When we write to you about your debt, please contact us so that we can discuss your outstanding debt

If an instalment is not paid by the due date:

  • A reminder notice will be issued, showing the amount required to be paid to bring your instalments up to date
  • You have 7 days to make the payment or the right to pay by instalments will be lost

Once instalments have been cancelled:

  • A further 7 days will be given to pay the full balance otherwise further recovery action will be taken
  • At this stage bringing the account ‘up to date’ will not be sufficient to prevent legal action being taken against you

If this happens you will receive a summons to appear before the Magistrates Court

Summons to court

If you pay the full amount owing including all costs before the date of the hearing no further action will be required. You should contact the council immediately upon receipt of the summons if you cannot pay in full.

Making an arrangement to pay will not prevent the matter going to court and will not prevent further costs.

What happens at court?

If the debt remains unpaid, the Council will apply for a Liability Order.

  • If you haven’t made contact with the Council and agreed 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 any of these options fail or are not appropriate, the council may start insolvency proceedings against you or apply for your committal to prison
  • Any action taken against you after the hearing, particularly by an enforcement agent or at a committal hearing, will incur substantial further costs payable by you

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.

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

The extra costs of non-payment

The non-domestic rating (collection and enforcement) (miscellaneous provisions) regulations 1990 part III regulation 7 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
  • Visit our enforcement agent page for details on their charges

How have the summons costs been calculated?

The Non-Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement) (Local Lists) Regulations 1989 (SI 1989/1058 as amended), state that we may include additional costs reasonably incurred. For an explanation of how we calculate the summons cost, please view the summons cost spread sheet in the related documents section of this page.

We do not apply further costs for the issuing of a liability order.

The figure is determined by a realistic estimate of the work dedicated to the application of a liability order, the calculation of this can be viewed on the Summons Cost spread sheet in the document downloads section of this page.  North East Lincolnshire Council also makes comparisons with other local councils and the national average to confirm that the councils resulting costs are reasonable with regards to the level of summons costs applied by other authorities.

In June 2013, the department of communities and local government published ‘guidance to local councils on good practice in the collection of council tax arrears’. This guidance states that ‘in the interests of transparency, local authorities should be able to provide a breakdown, on request, showing how these costs are calculated’.

Business Rates was not part of the department of communities and local government good practice guide, however as part of the Councils commitment to transparency a calculation has also been completed and we have provided an annual breakdown of how our summons costs are calculated in the related documents section of this page.

The calculation is based on activity levels for each year. A review of costs is undertaken each financial year and a report submitted to elected members of the council with any recommended changes to the level of costs.

More services

Business rates (telephone and postal enquiries only), local taxation and benefits, Municipal Offices, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HU


Telephone: 0300 3030164 option 4

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