What happens if I don't pay on time?
If you do not pay an instalment on time we will send you a Reminder Notice. This will tell you how much to pay to bring your instalments up to date. You will only receive one Reminder Notice before you lose your right to instalments so it is important that you make arrangements to pay your rates on time.
What if I receive a Reminder Notice?
When you receive a Reminder, you must pay the outstanding amount within 7 days. If you do not do this, then you will receive a Summons after a further 7 days asking you to pay the whole amount for the year immediately.
Try to pay your instalments before you get a Reminder Notice because you will only receive one in each financial year.
What happens next?
If you pay late a second time, you will receive a Final Notice. This means you have lost your right to continue paying your instalments monthly and the full amount for the year is due immediately.
What if I receive a Final Notice?
The whole amount for the year is due immediately. If you do not do this, then you will receive a Summons after a further 7 days.
What if I receive a Summons?
If you do not keep paying your monthly payments on time, or you do not pay the full amount requested on a Final Notice, we will apply to Reading Magistrates' Court for a Summons.
The Summons shows the amount due and when the court hearing will be. It also advises of the costs that are payable due to the issue of the Summons. These are currently £70.
You need to pay the full amount on the Summons (to our office) before the hearing date if you do not want your case to be taken before the Court.
We can agree a payment arrangement with you at this stage but on the understanding that we are still applying for the Liability Order and further costs of £70 will be payable by you.
What happens at court?
If you do not pay the amount on the Summons before the hearing date, your case will be taken to the Magistrates' Court.
We will ask the Magistrates' to issue a Liability Order against you, which enables us to collect the money from you in a number of other ways. You will be charged £70 costs for the issue of a Liability Order. This is on top of the £70 you were charged for the issue of the Summons.
You do not have to attend the Court hearing if you do not want to dispute the Liability Order. The Liability Order can be issued even if you are not present.
What is a Liability Order?
The Liability Order enables the Council to collect your rate arrears from you in a number of ways.
We will choose one of these options if you do not contact us for a payment arrangement.
- Use of Enforcement Agents (EAs) (previously known as 'Bailiffs') - We employ external EAs to collect rates arrears. They will try to make a payment arrangement with you. They will give you details of the fees that you will have to pay them. If they do not make an arrangement with you they may ask to enter your home/premises to make a list of the goods you own and could then return later to remove and sell those goods. Always remember to ask for identification when someone calls to your door. Costs incurred by the EAs can be significant
- Bankruptcy/Insolvency - Wokingham Borough Council can instigate insolvency proceedings against you or your company
- As a last resort a committal summons will be issued to commit you to prison