What happens if you don't pay your bill on time

Your business rates bill shows the amounts and dates on which you must pay. If we don’t receive your payment by the due date, then we’ll take recovery action as explained below.

Contact us if you’re having difficulty paying your business rates bill.

We'll send you a reminder notice

This will give you 7 days to bring your payments up to date by paying the amount shown in the notice.

If you don't pay this amount, after a further 7 days, you'll lose the right to pay by instalments and you must pay the full amount due for the year

We won't take any further action if you pay the amount due within the 7 days and then pay all further instalments on time.

We may send you a final notice

If we've already sent you a reminder notice in a financial year and then you don’t pay another instalment by the due date, we'll send you a final notice.

When we send you a final notice, you lose the right to pay by instalments and you must pay the full amount due for the year within 7 days

We’ll send you a court summons

If you don’t pay the amount requested in a reminder or final notice, we'll send you a court summons.

If you pay the amount shown on the summons in full before the date of the court hearing, we won’t take any further action.

If you agree that you should be charged but can’t afford to pay the amount in full before the court date, you don’t have to attend the court hearing. You should contact us to explain your circumstances and we'll try to help you. 

If you don't think you should have to pay, you should contact us. You'll have to tell us why you aren't liable for the charge and supply evidence to support your claim.

We'll apply for a Liability Order

At the court hearing, we’ll apply for a Liability Order. This will give us further powers to collect the money you owe, including:

  • passing the debt to an enforcement agent to collect payment
  • starting bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings against you or your company
  • making an application to the magistrates for your committal to prison

Virtual Hearings

Southwark Council liability order hearings for Business Rates will now take place at the Council offices via a video link. You must not attend Lavender Hill Magistrates Court.

We may pass the debt to an enforcement agent

When we have passed a Liability Order to an enforcement agent (formerly known as a bailiff), you must make all payments and enquiries directly to them.

If you don't pay the amount due, the enforcement agent can remove and sell your goods to pay off what you owe.

Download our enforcement agent policy (PDF, 558kb)

Business rates recovery policy

Download our business rates recovery policy (PDF, 33kb)

Page last updated: 20 May 2021

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