Frequently asked questions

Page last updated at 19 November 2015 at 17:31

 

How much Business Rates do I have to pay?

Your annual Business Rates depends on the rateable value of your premises and relevant multiplier which applies. To check your current balance, please click here.

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Can I receive my bills by email?

Yes. We actively promote electronic communication wherever possible. Just click here to sign up.

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What dates can I pay by Direct Debit?

We offer payment dates of 7th or 21st of the month. To sign up for Direct Debit online, please click here.

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How else can I pay my Business Rates?

Even though Direct Debit is the most secure, flexible and cost effective method of payment, we understand that it may not suit everyone. Therefore, we offer a number of other ways to pay. Click here for further information.

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Can I check the balance of my account online?

Yes. Just click here, enter your Business Rates account reference and postcode and you will be able to see your current balance.

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Who is liable for Business Rates?

Normally, the occupier of the property is responsible for paying the Business Rates. However, in certain circumstances, liability may fall on the owner, leaseholder, sub-lessee, tenant or sub-tenant. It does not matter whether the occupation of the premises is subject to a proper legal agreement or not.

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I am moving premises, what do I need to do?

You can let us know through our simple web form. Please click here and complete the form.

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Do I have to pay Business Rates on empty premises?

If business premises are empty, no rates are payable for three months from when the property first becomes unoccupied. After the three month period, the full rate liability is payable.

Commercial premises classified by the Valuation Office Agency as industrial are entitled to six months exemption while empty.

Any property with a rateable value under £2,600 is exempt whilst empty.

Some other types of property are exempt from empty rate charge. A full list is available on request.

A property must be occupied for a period of at least six weeks before an empty exemption can be applied again.

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

If you have difficulty in paying please contact us straight away so we can see what help we can offer and if appropriate, a mutually acceptable arrangement can be made. The earlier we know you are struggling, the more help we can offer.

If you do not pay, we will issue a reminder and then you will be summonsed to appear in the Magistrates’ Court, incurring further costs, where the Council will seek to obtain a Liability Order.

Once a Liability Order has been obtained and full payment has still not been made, the Council can either:

    - instruct a civil enforcement agent (bailiff) to collect the debt

    - apply for a charging order against your premises

    - take insolvency or bankruptcy action

For sole traders or unlimited partnerships, as a last resort when all of the above have failed, the Council can apply to the Magistrates’ Court for a warrant of arrest. This will bring you to court for the Magistrates to decide whether you should go to prison for non-payment.

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I have received a reminder / final notice. What should I do?

We urge you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss the situation. If appropriate, a mutually acceptable arrangement can be made, which if maintained will prevent further recovery action being taken.

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I have received a summons. What should I do?

We urge you to contact us immediately to discuss the situation. If appropriate, a mutually acceptable arrangement can be made, which if maintained will prevent further recovery action being taken. In these circumstances, you will not have to appear in front of the Magistrates, although the Council will still apply for a Liability Order to secure the debt.

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How do I check the rateable value on a property?

All rateable values are available to view online. Please click here to be taken to the Valuation Office Agency’s website.

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How is a rateable value calculated?

Rateable values are determined by the Valuation Office Agency. For further information, please click here to be taken to their website.

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I think my rateable value is wrong. How do I get it reviewed?

Rateable values are set by the Valuation Office Agency and not the council. For more advice about and how to make an appeal, click here for further information.

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What should I do if I’m struggling to pay my Business Rates?

If you have difficulty in paying, please contact us straight away so we can see what help we can offer. The earlier we know you are struggling, the more help we can offer.

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