Difficulty paying your business rates bill

We are receiving a large number of emails and telephone enquiries. In the first instance please login to or register for MyServices which will give you online access to your Council Tax, Benefits and Business Rates Accounts. Most changes to demand notices can be seen immediately online, whereas the issue of paper bills may be delayed depending on staff resources and mail availability.

 

View your Business Rates account online using 'My Services'. Find out more about the 'My Services' account.

Annual business rates bills (demand notices) are sent out in March each year. The bill asks for payment over 10 months, starting on 1 April and ending on 1 January. View the payment options for business rates.

Contact us as soon as possible if you have difficulty paying your business rates so we can offer help and advice.

Missed payment

A summons will be sent to you, to *appear at the magistrates' court if one of the following applies:

  • You have been sent a first reminder, and you have not made full payment on or before the date stated on the reminder
  • You have been sent a final notice and the requested amount has not been paid on time

If a summons is sent, you will have to pay an additional £46.50 in court costs. If your payment in full (including £46.50) is received and cleared by the council before the date of the court hearing, we will withdraw our application. You do not have to attend the court hearing.

*If you wish to attend the court hearing because you are disputing the business rates liability you MUST arrange an appointment in advance, even though the summons sets a date to attend.  

If you do not arrange an appointment , you will be refused entry at Leicester Magistrates Court.    This is due to Covid-19 restrictions to maintain social distancing.

 

To avoid attending court

If you do not have a valid defence,  you can:

  • Pay in full online at  www.harborough.gov.uk or call 01858 828282
  • Phone 01858 828282 to discuss a repayment agreement of the outstanding balance
  • If you have a dispute against liability , you can also call us on 01858 828282 to resolve.

 

Court Attendance

If you dispute the liability, you can do so for two reasons:

  1. You paid your business rates in full before the issue of the summons
  2. You have been billed incorrectly e.g. you are not the liable person/business . (This does not include the fact that you have appealed against the RV of the property)

If you wish to attend the hearing you MUST call us on 01455 265450 (option 3) to book an appointment in advance. If you have an appointment, we will send confirmation of the appointment which must be shown when attending court. If you do not have an appointment or the confirmation available you will not be able to attend.

 

If we can, we will try to resolve the matter with you ahead of the hearing :

  • We may agree to adjourn the hearing while we look at your case
  • If we can’t help, we will  arrange for a specific time for the magistrates to hear your defence

 

If payment is not received in full before the court date, at the hearing we will ask the magistrates to grant a liability order, which will cost you an additional £26.50. Once the liability order is granted by the court, it allows the council to pursue your debt through various different means such as:

  • A referral to one of our external enforcement agents who may 'take control of goods' (the seizure of someone's property) in order to obtain payment
  • Committal to prison (sole traders and partnerships only)
  • Petition to the court for a declaration of bankruptcy
  • Petition to the court for a winding up order
  • Application for a charging order. The Order will be secured against the same property on which the liability order has already been obtained for the outstanding

All of the above options may be used in any order, however, not more than one at the same time.

If you do not make a voluntary payment arrangement at this point, or you fail to keep to an arrangement made, we will take action to enforce payment without further notice.

 

When we instruct enforcement agents to collect a debt on our behalf, the information about the case is sent to an external enforcement company. For each level of action undertaken by the enforcement agents a specific fee is added. The stages are:

  • Stage 1 (Compliance) - £75 fee added to the debt
  • Stage 2 (Enforcement) - £235 plus 7.5% on debts greater than £1500
  • Stage 3 (Removal of goods) - £110 plus 7.5% on debts greater than £1500

For help and advice on all aspects of business rates please contact the Business Rates Team.