Business rate payments should reach the council on the day that the instalment is due at the latest, this is normally the 1st of the month. If you can’t pay your business rates, please let us know as soon as possible. We may be able to spread your payments over a longer period. Find out about hardship relief and other types of business rates relief. What happens if payment is overdue? You will get a reminder asking you to pay within seven days. If you don’t pay, you will lose the right to pay by instalments and must pay the whole amount you owe for the year within 7 days. We may still allow you to pay by instalments if you agree to pay by direct debit. If you still don’t pay, you will get a summons telling you to attend the magistrates court. You can avoid going to court if you pay your bill. The magistrates will issue a Liability Order which gives us legal powers to collect the money you owe. This allows us to take money directly from your pay or benefits. We can also: Collect the business rates from the money you get when you sell your property Start bankruptcy proceedings against you Appoint an enforcement agent (previously called a bailiff) to take away and sell your belongings to pay your bill. If you still don’t pay, you may be sent to prison.