In a number of circumstances, you may actually be entitled to certain ‘reliefs’ from business rates. These are based on a wide range of criteria, so it is imperative that you always check whether you fall under the specifications. It’s also important for business owners to ensure that their business rate arrears have in fact been calculated correctly by their councils. This is a common problem that is faced by business owners across the country and can be easily rectified. To find out more about business rate arrears reliefs or to receive a business rate calculation get in touch with CTA.
“I am so happy and would absolutely recommend Council Tax Advisors to anyone who is in the same situation I was. Now all my council tax worries are gone, thank you Council Tax Advisors” Hayley
Depending on your circumstances, your council does have the power to remit all, or part, of your business rates arrears. As a general rule, most local authorities do not agree to this on a regular basis. On the other hand, this should not stop you making an application if you feel you are eligible for exceptional circumstances. You council must be happy that you have met a wide range of criteria before a remit is made.
However, the two main factors that usually must be proven are:
Traditionally these are the two main factors that councils will look into when considering whether they should remit your business rates. The first factor being hardship, which your council will take time deliberating. Those whose business has failed and have been left with business arrears and personal circumstances meaning they are unable to offer payment will usually fall under the hardship bracket. You will also fall under the specifications if you now only receive benefit income and this is unlikely to change in future due to exceptional circumstances due to long term ill-health.
It is also imperative for councils to consider the effects the loss of your business will have on local people and communities. If your business is an integral part of local community then you may be able to receive a business rate arrears remit. These are usually reserved for businesses such as rural post offices, nurseries, day care facilities and similar services that will have a knock-on financial effect on the surrounding areas.
You reserve the right to write to your council asking for your business rates to be remitted under section 49 Local Government Finance Act 1988. By doing so, you will have to explain and show exactly how you may suffer hardship if your business rate arrears were remitted or what effects the loss of your business would have on the local community. You may also be required to show exactly what steps you have taken to try and make your business work in the lead up to the writing of the letter. It is also crucial you provide all details of your budgets and any assets that you may have. This will then give the council the opportunity to review your case.
Business rate arrears should always be a priority debt to pay back. Nevertheless, if you are truly struggling financially, you may be unable to make the debt repayment at all. If you fall into business rate arrears you will be issued a ‘final notice’. At this point it is imperative that you seek advice from a debt advisory service such as CTA who can guide you through the proceedings.
After the expiry of your final notice has passed, this means you immediately will have lost the right to pay instalments and you will then have to pay the entire balance for the whole year. Not paying in full will lead to a court summons. This means extra costs will continue to be added to your account. If you want to dispute your liability for paying the business rates arrears, you will be able to attend the court hearing. However, you will have to be prepared to defend your liability. The most valid defences used against liability are usually:
If you lose your liability case, further action will be taken by your council to recover your debt. Receiving financial advice from CTA can guide you through any further debt recovery methods such as bankruptcy, insolvency and bailiff enforcement.
If you or your company owe a total of more than £5000 to your council in outstanding bills, bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings will be started against you in order to recover the debt. You will be sent a statutory demand where you will be given around 21 days to pay the council in the full amount. If your council begins bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings against you at any one time, there are a number of processes that will be set into motion against you.
Councils have the right to employ bailiffs to recover any remaining debts that you may owe. Exactly the same as with council tax arrears, bailiffs will become involved to reclaim your business rates arrears when you have failed to make an acceptable arrangement to pay back your outstanding debt. This can be achieved by talking to an advisory service like us here at CTA. We can provide an extensive amount of advice as well as acting as a buffer between you, your council and the enforcement agents. We can even help set up a payment arrangement scheme as well as continued advice and support throughout the process.
If bailiffs are sent to your door it is imperative that you understand your rights. Initially the bailiff agency will send you a letter informing you that your debt has now been passed to them for collection and full payment will be requested immediately. A failure to pay this will result in a visit to your property with the intention of removing goods up to the value of money you owe, including costs of the visit. Any goods reclaimed will be sold at public auction.
If you are threatened with bailiff enforcement, CTA are highly qualified in providing free advice about your rights regarding letting the bailiff in and what can be taken. Bailiffs cannot force their way in if they have not already been granted peaceful entry before. You have the choice not to let the bailiffs in if you have not let them in before. Having bailiffs arrive at your business premises can be incredibly intimidating – contacting us will help you to take the correct steps to avoid further enforcement on your doorstep.
“I contacted Council Tax Advisors after exhausting all other avenues. With the help and persistence from Council Tax Advisors, the final bill was approximately £3400.00 less that the original demand.” TS
Here at Council Tax Advisors, we are the experts at solving business rate debt related issues and handling enforcement officers on behalf of our clients. We are passionate about helping those struggling with debt and arrears by ensuring they are provided with all of the information and advice they need. We also pride ourselves on our repayment plan services, which we set up with council and bailiffs across the UK. We are experts in our field and the CTA team are all highly qualified in negotiating debt repayments. We have the know-how to get our clients back on track by giving them the tools to deal with their debts appropriately and legally.
If you are suffering from business rate arrears and you need free and impartial advice, don’t hesitate to get in contact with CTA today. After establishing what your current financial situation is, we will be able start dealing with your business rate arrears issues one by one. We begin recommending a course of action that is best for you within no time and we will always strive to offer as many practical solutions as possible.