Business rates FAQs

Find answers to frequently asked questions on business rates.

I have not received my Business Rates bill?

Business Rates bills for the financial year starting on 1 April, are posted by mid-March to ensure sufficient notice is provided for the first instalment payable on 1 April.

A copy of this bill can be provided on request if you have not received it or you can sign up to self service to see your business rate bill online

Why have my instalments/payments increased?

Any discounts or exemptions may have ended which has increased your charge; such as Empty relief, or you have missed previous payments and the number of instalments have reduced to clear the balance by the end of the financial year. Details of these increases are shown on your bill.  

I have received my bill but Small Business Rates (SBRR) has not been applied?

SBRR is not automatically awarded.  To see if you are eligible please visit our Small Business Rates page

Can I change my payment method, instalment plan, bank details on an existing direct debit or set up a new direct debit?

You can set up a direct debit online.

You can change your bank account details on your current direct debit by first cancelling the direct debit with your bank then completing a direct debit online form.

If you want to change to any other method of payment or change your instalment date, you need to call us on 01902 696664 or email

I am struggling to pay my Business Rates, what can I do?

If you are having difficulty paying your Business Rates, please 'Talk to us' so we can help you.

We understand that not everyone can pay their Business Rates on time during this challenging period. You may be worrying about money because your business’s income has changed. We offer a range of support and advice to help you to make your business rates payments. If you are finding it hard to pay, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible. By talking to us we may be able to help you by:

  • Making sure you are getting the correct reductions that could reduce your bill
  • Choosing a way to pay that is best for you
  • Choosing a payment date that is best for you
  • Making an arrangement so you know what to pay and when

Our dedicated team is ready to take your call to discuss your outstanding payment and your current situation. We urge you contact by telephoning 01902 696669 us as soon as possible or email so that we can start to help you.

How to set up for Self Service & E-billing

How to request e-billing and view details of your account online (self service).

We know that most people would prefer to receive their bills electronically rather than an old-style paper bill. 

Not only will you be able to view your bill online, but you'll also be able to view other recovery documents which we may have sent you. 


The benefits of e-billing: 

  • you can view your bill as soon as it is available and as often as you like - 24/7 
  • savings on postage and paper will help to minimise future collection costs 
  • you will always know where your bill is 
  • it is environmentally friendly

Register for Business Rates self service and e-billing 

If you require further assistance, please contact the Business Rates Department by email: or by telephone: 01902 696669 

I have received a Summons, do I need to attend court?

You do NOT need to attend Court if you have already contacted us and agreed a Payment Arrangement.  The purpose of the hearing is to decide whether or not you owe the money demanded, and not to look at your personal finances. You have the right to attend the court and offer evidence if you are NOT liable for the council tax charges, but you only really need to attend if you have a legal defence to put to the Magistrate as to why you feel that you are NOT liable to pay the amount due.

What is my defence?

  • There are only two defences for not paying your Business Rates:
  • You have already paid the amount shown on the summons
  • We haven’t demanded the Business Rates in the way the law says we have to:
    • We have to pass a resolution setting the Business Rates and it has to be published
    • We have to prove we sent you a bill. We don’t have to prove you received the bill.         

What isn’t a defence?

  • It’s not a valid defence if you’re not paying your Business Rates because:
  • You have appealed against your Business Rates rateable value. You have to pay the amount on your bill until your appeal is heard.
  • You believe you’re not the person who has to pay the Business Rates or that Business Rates doesn’t apply to your property or that you are entitled to a discount. In these cases, you should contact us, but once we have considered your request, if you still do not agree you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Services. You remain liable to pay in the meantime.
  • If you don’t have a valid defence, the court will grant a Liability Order

Who is responsible for paying Business Rates?

All properties liable for rates are given a rateable value (RV) by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), and the council issues bills based on these values. 

If a property is occupied, the person or company occupying it is liable for rates. This is the case even if a lease or licence agreement states otherwise, or there is no formal agreement to occupy. 

It is charged on most business properties such as shops, offices, pubs, warehouses and factories. However, a property doesn't have to be used for a business - if it is used for any purposes which are not domestic, it is likely to be rateable. 

If a property is unoccupied, empty rates will be charged to the person entitled to possession. Empty properties may be exempt for up to three months (non-industrial properties) or six months (industrial properties). 

For holiday lets and self catering further information can be found on the Valuation Office Agency Website.

Some non-domestic properties are exempt from rates. The most common types are farmland and buildings, churches, sewers and public parks, or those whose RV is below a certain threshold. 

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

If you do not pay recovery will commence and may incur additional costs. Please contact us if you know you cannot pay, or are going to be late in paying.


An annual bill is sent to every business rates payer in March which tells you how much you need to pay.  A standard payment schedule will be for 10 monthly instalments due on the 1st of each month from April to January. If you would like to change your due date or extend payments over 12 months, please contact us. 

You need to pay your bill on, or before, the dates shown on your annual bill. 

If you're struggling to pay your non-domestic rates, then please contact us as soon as possible and we might be able to help you. Call us on 01902 696669 or email us at

If you don't pay enough, pay late or miss an instalment completely, you will get a reminder notice giving you seven working days to pay the missing amount. If you bring your account up to date, then we will not take any further action. 

What happens if I don't pay the amount as stated on the reminder notice? 

You need to pay the amount stated on the reminder within seven days so that your account is up to date. 

We only issue two reminders in each financial year so if you don't keep your account up to date or if you keep missing your instalments then we could take away your right to pay your bill in instalments. This means you would have to pay all of your balance in one go. 

If you still don't pay then legal proceedings will be commenced. 

Payment Arrangement 

If you would like to make a payment arrangement to clear the debt at this stage then you need to call us as soon as you can on 01902 696669 or email us at Whilst the arrangement is in place and you pay on time, no further recovery action will be taken.  

If you default on your arrangement, we will take further action. 

What happens next ? 


A Summons notice will be issued for the Magistrates Court if you fail to make full payment of the preceding Reminder or Final Notice and costs of £45.50 will be added to your account.  

What to do now 

  • Make payment of the full amount of the notice before the court hearing to avoid further action and additional costs. 
  • If you are unable to make payment in full, contact us to agree a Payment Arrangement on 01902 696669 or email us at

You do not need to attend the Court Hearing and it will not affect your credit rating. 

  • We will apply for a Liability Order in your absence, together with additional costs (£50.00), if the full amount, including the Summons costs is not paid by the hearing date. 

  • If we have agreed an arrangement for payment we will hold any further recovery action once we have obtained the Liability Order, providing you pay strictly in line with the arrangement, but you will still have to pay both the Summons and Liability Order costs. 

Why have my arrears been sent to Enforcement Agents?

Enforcement Agents 

If a mutually agreed payment arrangement has NOT been made once the Liability Order has been obtained, South Staffordshire Council will pass the debt to our Enforcement Agents for collection.  

If you are unable to offer a reasonable payment plan to the Enforcement Agents they have the power to collect the debt by taking control of goods. (Charges will be added to your account). 

The Council employs the following Enforcement Companies:- 

The Enforcement Agent process: 

Compliance Stage 

If the Business rate debt is sent to an enforcement agent, they will send a notice requesting payment in full.  A £75.00 fee will be added to the debt.  If you cannot pay in full, you will need to contact the enforcement agent to discuss a payment arrangement. 

Enforcement Stage 

The enforcement agent will visit the property to collect the debt outstanding. At this stage, a minimum of £235 in fees will be added to the account.  If you owe more than £1500 a further 7.5% will be added. 

If you are unable to pay in full, the enforcement agent will: 

  • Make a list of your goods 
  • Make a controlled goods agreement with you 
  • Agree on a payment arrangement ti clear the debt within a maximum of 6 months 

You should make a payment arrangement with the enforcement agent and provide details of your income and outgoings if asked to do so. 

If you are out when the enforcement agent calls, they will leave details for you to contact them.  You should contact them straightaway to avoid further action being taken. 

Controlled Goods Agreement 

This is an agreement which allows you to keep the goods listed by the enforcement agent as long as you keep to the agreed payment arrangement.  If you fail this arrangement, you will be given 7 days to bring your payments up to date. 

Subsequent visits 

If the enforcement agent has obtained a controlled goods agreement and you fail to keep to your payment arrangement, the enforcement agent will call again and may take away the items listed in the controlled goods agreement. 

What goods can be taken? 

The Enforcement Agent can only take goods that belong to you. This does not include: 

  • Fixtures and fittings 
  • Goods on hire purchase 
  • Goods which are rented 
  • items necessary for use in connection with your employment  - 'tools of the trade' if their value is less than £1350 
  • business necessities  

If goods are seized, the sale of goods stage attracts further costs including fees (£110) to cover the removal of goods and the costs of re-selling them, plus a further percentage fee (7.5%) for debts above a certain value. 


Fees are non-negotiable and the only way to avoid them is to pay the balance in full or set-up and maintain a payment arrangement 

If the Enforcement Agents are unsuccessful in collecting the debt then South Staffordshire Council could commence action to make you bankrupt or your company insolvent. Ultimately if you do not have limited company liability the Council can make an application for you to be committed to prison. 

Independent Advice 

If you are having financial difficulties the Citizens Advice Bureau has advisers who are available to discuss debt issues. 

The National Debt line provides free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems. 

If you require further assistance, please contact the Business Rates Department by email: or by telephone: 01902 696669 

If you would like to register for self-service where you can access information on your Business rates account please visit My Login

Do you need to pay business rates if you have a home based business?

The local property tax you pay, in England and Wales, will be either Council Tax or Non-domestic (business) Rates, depending on the type of property. 

Some properties are part business and part domestic, so may pay both taxes. Good examples are public houses where the publican lives on the premises, or shops where the shopkeeper lives in a flat over the shop. 

What if you are a home-based business? 

Generally, you should not have to pay business rates for minor business use of the home. The Government does not normally expect home-based businesses to have to pay business rates if: 

  • you use a small part of your home for your business (for example you use a bedroom part of the day as an office), and 
  • you do not use it to sell goods or services to visiting clients or members of the public (as opposed to selling by post), and 
  • you do not employ other people to work at the premises, and 
  • you have not made alterations of a sort that would not usually be associated with a home (such as converting a garage to a hairdressers or installing a hydraulic car lift). 

Further information can be obtained by visiting the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website

I think my Rateable Value (RV) is incorrect

If you feel your business rateable value is incorrect,  details of how to appeal can be found here

What are Business Rates?

Business Rates (also known as Non-Domestic Rates) are a tax payable for all occupied and some unoccupied business premises. 

They are collected by local authorities and are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1st April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This provides a direct financial incentive for authorities to work with local businesses to create a favourable local environment for growth since authorities will benefit from growth in business rates revenues. 

The money, together with revenue from council taxpayers, the revenue support grant provided by the Government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by local authorities in your area including the Police and Fire Authorities.  

Further information about the business rates system, including transitional and other reliefs, can be viewed at 

What is Business Rates Revaluation?

All non-domestic properties are generally revalued every five years by the Valuation Office Agency. The next revaluation will take place on 1 April 2023.

What is the Rateable Value? 

The rateable value is assessed by the Valuation Office Agency. A property's rateable value is an assessment of the annual rent the property would rent for if it were available to let on the open market at a fixed valuation date. 

  • Until 31 March 2023, the rateable values will be based on a valuation date of 1 April 2015 

  • From April 2023, the rateable values will be based on the valuation date of 1 April 2021 

If you think your rateable value is incorrect, you can find and view your property details online at

The draft list has now been published, and the new rateable value at You can also estimate your 2023 bill there. 

What is a Revaluation? 

The VOA regularly reassess and update the rateable values of all business properties, usually every five years. This is called a Revaluation. This is done to maintain fairness in the system by redistributing the total amount payable in business rates, reflecting changes in the property market. Revaluation does not raise extra revenue overall.   

How do I appeal against my Rateable Value? 

You can only make a formal appeal against your 2023 rateable value once it comes into effect on 1 April 2023. You can find out more about the appeals process, including the reforms the Government has proposed by visiting Check and challenge your business rates valuation: step by step 

Your rateable value may change if any physical changes are made to your property, for example, building or demolishing an extension. The council has a duty to notify the Valuation Office Agency of any newly built, extended, demolished, or otherwise altered non-domestic properties that come to our attention. You should notify the business rates team of any changes as soon as they happen. 

You may appeal against the rateable value of your property if you think it is incorrect. This might be due to a material change in the property's circumstances, for example: 

  • a change in its physical state or use 
  • a physical change in the locality 
  • a change in the use of a neighbouring property 

An appeal to the Valuation Office Agency against a rateable value begins with a proposal to alter the rating list. Before making an appeal, you can contact the Valuation Office Agency to discuss your rateable value and why you want to appeal against it. They may be able to resolve things without you needing to follow the formal procedure. 

There are limits on the backdating of appeals. Any alteration made by the Valuation Office Agency on or after 1 April 2024 can only be backdated to 1 April 2023. 

Having an outstanding appeal against your rateable value is not accepted by Magistrates' Courts as grounds for withholding payment so you should continue to make payments on your current bill until you receive a revised bill. Any overpaid rates will be refunded if your appeal is successful. 

To view the current rating list or to make an appeal against an entry in the list, you may contact the Valuation Office Agency via the VOA website or by telephone on 03000 501 501 

From 1 April 2023, you will need to use a business rates valuation account to tell the VOA you think your rateable value is too high. You must continue to pay your business rates as normal until a decision has been made. 

To sign in or register for a business rates valuation account ready for 1 April 2023 please visit Business Rates Valuation Account.  

If your property details need changing 

To tell the VOA about changes to your property details (such as floor area sizes and parking) you need a business rates valuation account. The VOA may accept your changes and update the current and future valuations.  To sign in or register for a business rates valuation account please visit Business Rates Valuation Account.  

How Coronavirus (COVID-19) affected future rateable values 

The VOA bases most rateable values on an estimate of what it would cost to rent a property for a year, starting on a certain date.  

For the 2023 valuation, that date was 1 April 2021. This was during the pandemic and the rent information the VOA used reflected this.  

What are Multipliers?

From 1 April 2005 there are two multipliers; the standard non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier.  

The Government sets the multipliers for each financial year for the whole of England. The Government normally changes both multipliers every year in line with inflation. 

  • The Non-Domestic Multiplier for 2022/2023 is 51.2p 
  • The Small Business Non-Domestic Multiplier for 2022/2023 is 49.9p 
  • The Non-Domestic Multiplier for 2021/2022 is 51.2p 
  • The Small Business Non-Domestic Multiplier for 2021/2022 is 49.9p 
  • The Non-Domestic Multiplier for 2020/2021 is 51.2p 
  • The Small Business Non-Domestic Multiplier for 2020/2021 is 49.9p 
  • The Non-Domestic Multiplier for 2019/2020 is 50.4p 
  • The Small Business Non-Domestic Multiplier for 2019/2020 is 49.1p

Business Rates & how we process your Personal Data?

Application for Business Rates -Fair Processing Notice Data Protection – what you need to know 

Data Controller / Data Protection Officer 

South Staffordshire District Council of The Council Offices, Wolverhampton Road, Codsall WV8 1PX (telephone number 01902 696000) is what is known as the ‘controller' of your personal data. Our ‘Data Protection Officer' is Lorraine Fowkes. She can be contacted here at the Council Offices. 

Purpose of processing / Legal basis 

As an organisation we process your personal data to enable us to ascertain who is liable at a property with a view to levying Business Rates. We register progress and determine applications for a discount / exemption and, where you qualify, provide financial support to you. We also review certain claims after an award of a discount / exemption has been made. We progress applications for payment by direct debit and hold personal bank details. Our legal basis for processing your ordinary personal data will be either that it is necessary to do so to perform a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in us. Where we process any special data such as information about mental or physical health we do so as it is necessary for us to perform our obligations under social protection law. 


Depending on your circumstances we may share your information with officers within the Business Rates team, other officers within the Council, the Valuation Office, other Councils and Police. The Council has a duty to protect public funds that it administers. The Council will take steps to verify information given in support of any discount or exemption by matching with data held elsewhere within the authority or with other external bodies involved in the administration of public funds, for the prevention and detection of fraud. 


We will store your information for a period of 6 years or as long as there is a justifiable Council need to do so. We will store your information on both our Live and Test databases. 

Your rights 

In brief, If we process your personal data you may, depending on your circumstances have a right of access to it; to correct inaccurate information; to restrict our processing of it or to have your personal data erased. 


The provision of information by you to us is a legal requirement. If you do not provide the information to us we may not be able to register progress and/ or determine your application. 


Please speak to us or our Data Protection Officer in the first instance but if you do have any concerns about the way we have processed your personal information then you can complain to the Information Commissioner. 

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