Your National Non-Domestic Rates bill shows you how much you need to pay and when your payments are due. Unless you pay by Direct Debit (where there is a choice of three payment dates) monthly instalments will be payable on the first of the month. If you pay by post, or through the bank you should allow extra time for your payment to reach us.

Reminders and final notices

If you do not pay instalments when they fall due, you will receive a reminder notice telling you to bring your account up to date.

If you do not make a payment the next notice you receive will be a summons. This is because by paying nothing, the right to pay by monthly instalments is lost and the whole year becomes payable in advance.

If you pay the instalment shown on the reminder but then fail to pay the next one or pay late again, you will receive a final notice cancelling the instalment facility.

If you are having genuine difficulty in making payments you should contact us straight away and we will do our best to help you.

Do not ignore the reminder notice because if we have to continue with recovery action against you, you may have to pay extra costs.

Please note that if you pay nothing or pay late resulting in a final notice your right to pay by instalments is lost and the full outstanding balance becomes payable in advance. If you do not pay the amount outstanding or make an acceptable payment arrangement with us, usually by direct debit, to clear the balance of your account we will continue with recovery action.

Court summons and enforcement

Why have I received a summons?

If you missed or were late paying a National Non-Domestic Rates instalment you will have been sent a reminder notice giving you seven days to bring your payments up to date. If you did not pay within this time, or if after a final notice you have fallen behind with your payments again, you will now have to pay the full outstanding balance. The Council is asking the court to issue a liability order so that it can recover the outstanding National Non-Domestic Rates from you.

What should I do now?

You should pay the amount of National Non-Domestic Rates that you owe in full, including costs as shown on the summons. If you do this before the date of the court hearing your case will not be heard and the council will not apply for a liability order. 

If you are unable to make payment in full and wish to make a special payment arrangement, please contact us at or telephone 01908 253794.

We will still apply for a liability order, but if you keep to the arrangement you have made, no further action will be taken.

Direct Debit Instruction for payment of Business Rates - MyCouncil (

What is a liability order?

A liability order is a demand for you to pay the full amount you owe, plus costs. It gives the council greater powers to collect the money you owe using a range of actions which include:

  • asking Enforcement Agents to visit your business premises and either collect the amount you owe, or if this is not possible, remove items belonging to you and sell them 
  • applying to make you/ your company bankrupt 
  • applying to the Magistrates Court for your committal to prison.

Do I need to go to the court hearing?

You do not need to attend the court hearing unless you have a legal defence against the issue of a liability order. The magistrates will hear the case whether you attend or not.

The magistrates can only listen to a valid defence against the issue of a liability order. Some common defences are: 

  • the property is not entered in the appropriate rating list 
  • the National Non-Domestic Rates has not been billed in accordance with the legislation 
  • the amount demanded has been paid in full (including summons costs) 
  • more than six years have passed since the balance became due
  • bankruptcy proceedings have been started
  • you are not the person who is liable to pay the business rates that you have been summonsed for.

It is not a valid defence against the issue of a liability order, and you do not need to attend court if: 

  • you can’t afford to pay the amount owed in full 
  • you would like time to pay or have difficulty paying 
  • you want to make a payment arrangement
  • you have appealed to the council or the Valuation Office Agency about the amount of your National Non-Domestic Rates or your rateable value is incorrect.

If you have a valid defence and wish to attend the court hearing you MUST contact the recovery department first to arrange an appointment to appear.

Email or telephone the Council on 01908 254060.

Under the current COVID-19 restrictions you may not be allowed to enter the court building unless you have pre-booked a time slot with the Council first.  This is a safety precaution for you and other court users.

Collection and enforcement  

After a liability order has been granted, a notice will be issued requiring you to make payment within 14 days.

A special payment arrangement can still be set at this point. However, if one is made, the maximum period will be assessed based on individual circumstances. Any arrangements would normally be to the end of statutory instalment period (1 January). Any arrears must be paid in addition to the current year’s charge. National Non-Domestic Rates is a daily charge and an arrangement will not be agreed which allows the total debt to increase.

If you are unable to make payment in full and wish to make a special payment arrangement, please contact us at or telephone 01908 253794.

If a liability order is granted by the Magistrates, the Council has the right to decide the next stage of enforcement. If an acceptable arrangement has been made, the Council will not take any further action. But if no contact is made or an arrangement has failed, the law allows for different types of action as follows:

1. Enforcement Agents

Enforcement Agents are employed to distrain upon and remove goods for sale where appropriate. If the Council instructs the Enforcement Agent, it will cost you significant extra charges, contacting them early is important to minimise these charges.


  • Compliance stage - £75.00

    Fee is incurred by the debtor when the Council instructs the Enforcement Agents to collect your outstanding debt
  • Enforcement stage - £235.00

    Fee is incurred by the debtor upon the first visit by the Enforcement Agent
  • Sale/disposal stage - £110.00

    Fee is incurred by the debtor upon a further visit with the intention to remove goods for sale

Please note an additional fee of 7.5% will be charged on any balance over £1,500.

To contact Marston regarding a letter or visit you have received, please visit their FAQs page.

2. Committal to prison

The Council wishes to avoid committal wherever possible. However, it has a strict policy of taking such proceedings where no other form of recovery is appropriate. In the first instance the Council will apply for a summons for you to attend Court. This action will lead to substantial costs being added to your debt.

You must attend this hearing. If you do not attend, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

At the hearing, the Council will apply for you to be committed to prison for non-payment.

You will undergo an enquiry as to your means. If the Magistrates find you guilty of either culpable neglect (you did not pay and it is deemed to be your fault) or willful refusal (you intentionally chose not to pay) they can choose to commit you to prison or to suspend committal on an order for payments. The maximum sentence for each liability order is 3 months imprisonment. It is strongly recommended that you take legal advice in advance of the hearing.

3. Winding up proceedings

If a liability order has been granted the Council can petition to wind the company up.

Should this happen, the company’s finances will be handed over to a trustee who will administer your estate.

The costs of this and the subsequent actions of a trustee can amount to several thousands of pounds.

These costs would be deducted from the proceeds of your liquidated assets.

A winding up order can still be made even if you refuse to acknowledge the proceedings. You should therefore ensure that you do acknowledge any such proceedings and contact the Council immediately.

Business Rates

Business Rates contact information

  • 01908 253794 - 9am-5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (excluding Bank Holidays). Wednesday 10am to 5pm.

Revenues Service, PO Box 5327, Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ