Skip to content
  1. Do it online
  2. Login
  3. Have your say
  4. My Durham

What happens if you don't pay your business rates?

What to do if you can't pay and what action we take against people and businesses that don't.

If you're having problems paying your business rates, speak to us as soon as you can. You may be eligible for hardship relief.

What action we take if you don't pay

Initial action

Reminder/Final notice

If you don't pay on time, we'll send you a reminder to ask that all outstanding payments be paid within seven days. If you fall into arrears a second time, you'll lose you right to pay by instalments, and the full amount for the period will become due.

Legal Proceedings

If you don't pay the outstanding amount, or make satisfactory arrangements with us to pay, we will apply to the Magistrates' Court to issue a Liability Order. This is a demand issued against you for the full amount of business rates you owe for the period plus any costs incurred in the process.

If you receive a Liability Order, please don't ignore it. If you don't pay the business rates you owe we may then take further action.

Further action

We will decide the most appropriate next step to take to recover the money you owe.

Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs)

We may instruct Enforcement Agents to recover the money you owe. This will incur additional costs payable by you depending upon the amount owed and the action taken. If the Enforcement Agent cannot agree a repayment plan with you, they have the power to take control of your possessions and sell them at auction. 


We can apply to the County Court for an individual to be made personally bankrupt or a company to be 'wound-up'. This is a very serious step that would affect your ability to get credit and could lead to you losing your home or business. You would also be liable for solicitors' costs and insolvency fees.

Committal hearing

The law allows us to apply to the Magistrates' Court to have a person sent to prison where there is 'culpable neglect' or 'wilful refusal to pay'. This action would only be considered once all other methods of recovery have failed. Committal action can only be taken for business rates against a named person.

Contact us
Business rates recovery
03000 265 000
01207 218 876
Our address is:
  • Revenues and Benefits
  • PO Box 238
  • Stanley
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH8 1FP