What happens if you don't pay your business rates

What happens if you don't pay your business rates

If you don’t pay we’ll send you a reminder followed by a final notice, and if you still don’t pay we’ll take you to court.


If you don’t pay your business rates on time we’ll send you a reminder notice.

If you pay within seven days nothing else will happen. But if you’re late paying a second time, we’ll then send you a final notice and you’ll need to pay all your council tax for the whole year in one go.

If you don’t pay within seven days you’ll get sent a final notice asking you to pay.

If you can’t pay, you may be able to get some help. If you think you’ve been charged wrongly, contact us on 0117 922 3300. But don’t just ignore the issue.

Summons and court hearing  

If you don’t pay, a summons will be sent to you, summoning you to court. Costs will be added to the unpaid business rates.

You can avoid court, if you:

  • pay the full amount shown on the summons, including court costs, before the date of the hearing
  • contact us before the court hearing to arrange a payment plan covering what you owe

At the hearing we’ll ask the magistrate to issue a liability order, which will give us more powers to collect the money you owe. You don’t have to go to the hearing, but if you do the magistrate will ask you if you have a valid defence which will stop the order being issued.

If we get the liability order, we’ll pass the debt to our enforcement agents (or bailiffs) to collect the money you owe. This will mean you’ll incur more costs. Some of your business’s possessions could be taken away.

If the enforcement agents don’t succeed, we can apply to the Magistrates Court to begin proceedings to make you bankrupt or liquidate your company. Again, this will mean more costs for you.