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What if I can't pay my Business Rates?

What happens when you don't pay your Business Rates


  • What happens if I don't pay my Business Rates?
  • Enforcement Agents
  • Bankruptcy/Liquidation
  • Debt advice

What happens if I don't pay my Business Rates?

Business rates are payable in monthly instalments.

If you are billed before the financial year, we will automatically give you 10 monthly instalments which we can extend to 12 monthly instalments by request.

If you are billed within the financial year, you will be given as many monthly instalments as possible. We can extend these to March by request. Your bill will detail the amounts you must pay and the dates they are due.

Missing an instalment

If you do not pay an instalment at the correct time, you will receive a reminder. If you do not pay the amount on the reminder within seven days, you will have to pay the whole amount of business rates that you owe for the year.

If you do pay the reminder amount but then miss payments again, we will send you a second and final reminder.

If you still do not pay the amount, we will not send you another reminder and you will lose your right to pay by instalments. You will then have to pay the full balance that you owe.

If you do not pay the full balance when requested, you will be sent a court summons advising you that we will be applying to the Magistrate’s Court to obtain a liability order against you.

Liability orders

If we need to apply to the Magistrate’s Court to obtain a liability order against you, the summons costs for this action will be £57.50. If the court grants the liability order, you will be charged an extra £35 bringing the total costs incurred by you to £92.50.

The liability order allows us to:

  1. refer your account to an enforcement agent
  2. start insolvency proceedings against you

Paying what you owe

If you pay what you owe, from the date we receive payment all action and costs will stop.

If you are not able to pay in full, you should contact us immediately as we may agree an arrangement for you to pay what you owe.

If you feel your Business Rates are incorrect, please contact us before the hearing date to discuss your account.

Please note: Magistrates will not consider appeals to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. The Magistrate will grant the liability order based on your liability to pay Business Rates.

Enforcement Agents

If a liability order is passed to an Enforcement Agent, you will incur additional costs. You will be charged these additional costs once the order is received by the agent.


Should the Enforcement action not pay your bill in full, we can then apply to the County Court to have your company wound up or to make you bankrupt. This is an extremely serious step and will mean that you are liable for further costs such as solicitors and insolvency fees.

Debt advice

If you are experiencing financial problems, then it may help if you seek independence guidance from an advice agency.

Local and national agencies that give free advice can be found online.

Useful Links

Citizens Advice
Money Advice Service
Step Change Debt Charity
The Colchester Business Enterprise Agency

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