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 taxation@sstaffs.gov.uk

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 taxation@sstaffs.gov.uk. 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 taxation@sstaffs.gov.uk

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. 

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:- 

Bristow & Sutor Ltd  

Newlyn plc 


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 hirer 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: taxation@sstaffs.gov.uk 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 follow this link:- self service 

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