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If you don't pay

Find out what happens if you don’t pay your business rates and how to resolve this.
Business rates phoneline

The business rates line will be closed on Friday 19 July 2024 for staff training.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. 

You can continue to use the online forms during this time. The phone line will re-open at 9am on Monday 22 July 2024.

Business Rates - reminders, summonses and liability orders


If you do not pay your business rates, or if you pay late, we will send you a reminder.

The reminder shows when your instalments were due, how much you have paid and how much you owe.

Please note that we are only legally required to send you one reminder before starting court proceedings.

If you continue to miss payments or pay late, we will send you a court summons.

Receiving a court summons

If you do not respond to reminders to pay your Business Rates, you will get a court summons.

If you get a summons, it will state:

  • the amount of debt you owe
  • the costs you have to pay
  • your court hearing date (please note: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you must not attend the Court or our council offices). 

Your summons comes with a leaflet which explains what you should do next.

Extra costs when you get a summons

You will have to pay all of our costs for issuing the summons.

If we issue a summons we will charge you an extra £172.50. This cost will still apply if:

  • pay in full straight away
  • you cannot pay the full amount owed before your hearing date, or
  • you want to make a repayment proposal that goes on after the hearing date

If you pay the balance requested without the costs you may still be taken to court and a liability order granted.

Where we hold hearings

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we will be holding hearings remotely between Her Majesties Court Services (Bromley Magistrates Court) and the Councils offices. You do not need to attend either building. 

What happens at court – liability order

At your summons hearing, we will try to get a liability order. 

This gives us the right to take legal action against you to collect your debt. This might include:

  • using enforcement agents (bailiffs) to collect unpaid rates
  • making you bankrupt or liquidating your business if you owe us more than £5,000

How we can help you 

We want to help you resolve any problems you have paying your Business Rates.

If you cannot pay the full amount (including costs), or you have another issue you’d like to discuss, you must contact us immediately via our comments and enquires form to discuss your situation.

If you have received a court summons and just want to pay, you can arrange to pay your summons now.

Summons surgeries

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic this service has been re-designed from a face to face walk in service to telephone call-back service. If you would like to speak to someone about your court summons you can book a telephone call with one of our officers.


By booking a telephone appointment between 9am and 4pm BEFORE the hearing date on your summons notice.

Please have your court summons to hand.


Our surgeries take place every Wednesday (except on public holidays) by telephone call. Please note the call back may be from a withheld number.

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