Late Payment

If you are struggling to pay your Business Rates and other financial commitments, it can be hard to know where to turn for help.

The Money Advice Service is an independent service set up by the government to help people manage their money better, they provide a wealth of online information, where you can access support material on how to budget. A new free on-line service has been launched to help people to manage their debts.

Information is provided about partner organisations that can help, such as the Business Debtline and StepChange Debt Charity, as well as telephone services which allow people to speak directly with an expert advisor. Most importantly the face-to-face debt advice search tool allows you to type in your location and find local organisations that give free advice on managing finances and dealing with debt.

Richmondshire District Council acts as the collection agent for the government. All business rates collected by the Council are paid into a Central Pool and then redistributed amongst local authorities. It is because of this, that there are regulations laid down for the effective collection of business rates.

If you fail to pay your instalments by the due date given on your bill, recovery action will commence. All ratepayers will be subject to the same recovery procedures in accordance with the Non Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement) (Local Lists) Regulations 1989.

For more information on the Council's recovery procedure please click on the appropriate bookmark below. 

Further Notice
 
If you do not pay an instalment, we will send you a further notice, which gives you 7 days to bring your account up to date. If this notice is not paid, the Council will commence formal legal proceedings.
 
 
Cancelation Notice
 
Should you pay the overdue instalment but miss a future instalment, we will not send you another further notice, instead a cancelation notice will be issued and the full balance of your bill will be payable within 7 days. If this notice is not paid, the Council will commence formal legal proceedings.
 
 
Summons
 
If you fail to discharge the further/cancelation notice within the required 7 days, we will take court action to enforce payment of the debt. At this point costs start to become payable - see costs below.
 
If you settle in full the amount, including costs, shown on the summons before the court hearing, we will take no further action. Please note that should you pay the outstanding charge but not the summons costs, legal action will continue.
 
Before the hearing, we will be willing to discuss a mutually acceptable payment arrangement but this will be on the understanding that the Council continues with the legal action. We will still attend the hearing to request the Magistrates grant a Liability Order, and thereby secure the debt (explained below).
 
Please note that the Magistrates will not discuss settlement of your account. Therefore, unless you wish to defend against the Council's application it will not be necessary for you to attend Court.
 
If you do wish to attend Court, please arrive at least 15 minutes before the hearing time so that a member of the Local Taxation Team can interview you.
 
 
The Hearing

At the court hearing, we must satisfy the Magistrates that we have followed the correct procedures i.e. by sending you a bill, a further/cancelation notice and a summons to your property, or your last known address. We must also confirm that you are liable for business rates and that the debt is outstanding.
 
If the Magistrates are satisfied with the evidence we present they will grant a Liability Order - see costs below. A Liability Order is a decision by the Court confirming that you are liable to pay business rates and have not done so in accordance with the law. It gives us powers to recover the outstanding debt using other methods. These are explained in more detail below.
 
The Magistrates may not grant a Liability Order if you can provide a valid defence, such as:
 
  • you think we have not followed regulations* when we asked you for payment
  • you were not the responsible person for the time we have charged you
  • we have charged you more than we should
  • the rates have been illegally demanded
  • we have not sent you notice of the outstanding amount within a reasonable amount of time
  • we have already started insolvency proceedings against you

*Non Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement) (Local Lists) regulations 1989

It is not a valid defence if you:

  • are unable to pay
  • have applied for relief against the rates
  • have appealed to the Valuation Office against your business rates
  • are not receiving all Council services

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Costs

For 2017/18 the cost for the issue of a summons is £57.00 and for obtaining a Liability Order £25.00, a total of £82.00

What are these costs for?

These are payable to cover the Council's additional expenses which occur as a result of the extra work involved in issuing the summons and attending the court. It would not be fair to burden Council Taxpayers who pay on time with this extra administrative cost.

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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 propose a payment arrangement.

A Liability Order provides the Council with the power to:

  • commence bailiff action
  • petition to the Court for a declaration of bankruptcy
  • petition to the Court for a winding up order
  • application for a charging order on the property
  • request committal to prison

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The Council's Enforcement Agents

If you do not contact the Council, providing an acceptable offer of payment we will pass your case over to the Council's Enforcement Agents for collection.

The Council will no longer discuss settlement of your account and you will be liable for any additional costs incurred. We will not intervene in any action taken by the Enforcement Agents to enforce payment, unless the circumstances are exceptional.

Enforcement Agents can take control of your goods. This means that they can call at your premises to take control of your goods and to remove and, ultimately, sell them at public auction. Any revenue raised from the sale of your property will be used to clear the debt.

Once agents are instructed to collect the debt, you will incur additional fees, which are statutory amounts laid down in legislation and are charged at 3 different stages throughout the process:

STAGE COSTS

  • Compliance Stage - £75 (per Liability Order)
  • Enforcement Stage - £235 (plus 7.5% of any debt above £1,500)
  • Goods Removal Stage - £110 (plus 7.5% of any debt above £1,500)

We therefore strongly recommend that you engage with us, rather than letting it get this far and becoming immediately liable for the £75.00 - per Liability Order

If, however, you decline our invitation and have been sent a letter warning of an impending Enforcement Agent visit to your premises, you are advised to contact them immediately to discuss your payment intentions. You must make any payment arrangements with them and, also, make any payments directly to them,

The Compliance Stage comprises all activities relating to enforcement from the receipt by the enforcement agent of instructions to use that procedure in relation to a sum to be recovered up to but not including the commencement of the enforcement stage;

The Enforcement Stage comprises all activities relating to enforcement from the first attendance at the premises in relation to the instructions up to but not including the commencement of the sale or disposal stage;

The Sale or Disposal Stage comprises all activities relating to enforcement from the first attendance at the property for the purpose of transporting goods to the place of sale, or from commencing preparation for sale if the sale is to be held on the premises, until the completion of the sale or disposal.

Other disbursements may also be recovered in relation to the removal and sale of goods.

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Bankruptcy/Liquidation

We may decide to take insolvency action against you for non-payment of your business rates if the debt is more than £749. If we take bankruptcy action, you could lose your home and possessions to pay for your business rates debt. We will send you a letter warning of bankruptcy proceedings and give you a last chance to make a payment arrangement before bankruptcy action starts.

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Charging Order

Providing the debt is greater than £999.00 we can make an application to the County Court to impose a security against the value of your property, this will then be paid to the Council when it is eventually sold.

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Committal Proceedings

This action is a last resort, if the bailiffs have been unable to remove goods to pay for your debt, or if we think other recovery options are inappropriate. We can ask the Magistrates’ Court to send you a summons to attend a committal hearing. This means that we will ask the Court to decide whether to send you to prison for not paying your business rates.

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Contact Us

Richmondshire District Council
Mercury House
Station Road
Richmond
North Yorkshire
DL10 4JX

Phone: 01748 829100
Fax: 01748 826186
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.