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Paying Your Business Rates

Business Rates are normally payable over 10 monthly instalments from 1 April to 1 January in each financial year, or you may choose to pay yearly or half yearly in advance.

You may also choose to pay your instalments over 12 months instead of 10. Please contact us to request this.

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You can choose to pay your business rates in a way that suits you:

If you only want to pay without viewing any of your details or balance, you can pay business rates online here.  

Please note that due to high volumes of traffic following the new Council tax bills you may experience slow response times

Our Self Service pages give you instant on line access to manage and view your business rates account

  • See full details of your account
  • How your charges are worked out
  • Check your discounts and allowances
  • See when your payments are due
  • View bills and letters we send to you (paperless e-billing)
  • Set up a Direct Debit or make a payment

Please follow this link for more information about Self Service and how to get enrolled

The safest, simplest and easiest way for you to pay your business rates is by Direct Debit. If you have not already set up a Direct Debit to pay your monthly instalments you can do so online by using Cornwall Councils online self service area. You will also be able to amend your Direct Debit once it is set up.  You can also call 0300 1234 171 to set up your Direct Debit. You will need your business account reference number (from your bill) and your bank account number and bank sort code to set your Direct Debit up.

Please note that once you have set up a direct debit you do not need to take any further action in relation to your direct debit when you receive you annual business rates bill, unless you owe business rates for other years and have not already made an arrangement for payment.

  • If you pay by Direct Debit you can choose a convenient payment date on either the 1st, 7th, 15th or 20th of each month
  • If you pay by Direct Debit you can choose to pay over 10 months or 12 months
  • You will always receive advance notice of any change to the amount due to be collected and you have the right to query anything you do not agree with before any money is collected
  • You always remain in control and you can cancel the Direct Debit at any time
  • You have a money back guarantee, supported by your bank. Please see the Direct Debit guarantee below

The Direct Debit Guarantee

This guarantee is offered by all banks and building societies that take part in the Direct Debit scheme. The efficiency and security of the scheme is monitored and protected by your own bank/building society.

If the amounts to be paid or the payment date changes, Cornwall Council will notify you 10 working days in advance of your account being debited or as otherwise agreed.

If an error is made by Cornwall Council or your bank/building society, you are guaranteed a full and immediate refund from your branch of the amount paid.

You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by contacting Cornwall Council on 0300 1234 171, by contacting us online, or by contacting your bank/building society who will in turn inform Cornwall Council of your cancellation.

You can pay your business rates online. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also make a payment using a debit/credit card over the phone by ringing Cornwall Council on 0300 1234 200. You will need to supply your card details and your Business Rate account number.

You can make your payment using a debit/credit card in person at some Cornwall Council One Stop Shops. These are open Mon-Fri 9am -5pm, excluding bank holidays.

You need to take your bill or letter with you to make a payment at a shop displaying the Paypoint logo or a Post Office.

All stores accept card or cash payments, while most Post Offices still accept cheque payments.

There are over 300 PayPoint/Post Office stores throughout Cornwall: most have extended opening hours and some are 7 days per week.

To find a location to pay which is close to you, visit our My Area page which allows you to view Council services in your local area.

Make cheques and postal money orders payable to Cornwall Council. Please write your account reference on the back and send it to the Revenues section at the address on the front of your bill.

A receipt will only be issued if you send a stamped addressed envelope with your payment.

Please do not send bank notes and/or coins by post.

For further details about these payment methods or your Business Rates balance, please contact the revenues section using the address shown on your bill or by using the contact details on this page.

Unable to pay

If you are unable to pay the Business Rates you should contact the Revenues section on 0300 1234 171 as soon as possible to discuss your personal circumstances. The longer you leave contacting us the bigger your arrears will become and the harder it will be to make a suitable payment arrangement to clear the debt.

On the first occasion you miss an instalment we will commence recovery action.

A number of measures have recently been introduced to assist businesses. More information is available on our rates and reductions and business rate reliefs pages.

Business rates, together with revenue from council tax payers, revenue support grant provided by the Government and certain other sums is used to provide council services. 

Most people pay their business rates at the time it is due. Prompt payment saves money and it also helps to keep taxes down. 

The information below explains briefly what can happen if the business rates is not paid. 

The Recovery Steps

Cornwall Council will issue a reminder notice on the first occasion you fall behind with your instalment(s).

  • Only one reminder will be issued in any one financial year. If you fall behind with your instalment(s) on a second occasion, the full balance will become due and a final notice will be issued
  • If you do not pay your instalment(s) in full within seven days of receiving a reminder notice, you will lose your right to pay by monthly instalments and we may ask you to pay the full amount you owe for the year
  • If we do not hear from you, you will receive a summons to the Magistrates Court with further costs being added to your account. Unless the summons is served incorrectly, we will not withdraw it
  • At the Magistrates Court (which you have a right to attend) Cornwall Council will apply for a Liability order, which gives us certain powers to collect the debt you owe. If a mutual payment arrangement has not been made at this point, Cornwall Council may pass your debt to one of our Enforcement companies. If you are unable to offer a reasonable payment plan with the Enforcement company, they have the power to collect the debt by taking control of your goods. Cornwall Council also has the power to apply for a bankruptcy/liquidation order or as a last resort making an application for your committal to prison

Enforcement Agent Action

Once we have passed a debt to enforcement agents to collect on our behalf, there are two stages to the process. Initially, there will be a compliance stage and a fee of £75.00 will be added to your account. During the compliance period the enforcement agent company will contact you a number of times with a view to securing payment or arranging a suitable payment plan.

Taking Control of Goods

If you do not pay the debt or agree a suitable payment plan with the enforcement company during the compliance period, they will visit you and at this stage further fees of £235.00 will be added to your account. If your debt with us is greater than £1,500 a further fee of 7.5% will be added on any part of the balance over £1,500. The enforcement agent will visit your property with a view to taking control of sufficient goods to be sold at auction to clear your debt and any additional costs.


The authority may file for a bankruptcy petition with the County Courts for any debt over £5000.00


If the authority is unable (for whatever reason) to collect the debt via distress, attachment of earnings or deductions from benefit then the authority may apply to the Magistrates Court for a means enquiry with a view to the committal to prison of the debtor.

Q.  What happens if I am unable to pay my bill?

A.  On the first occasion you do not pay an instalment by the due date, we will commence recovery action. It is important you contact us as soon as possible regarding your arrears. The longer you leave contacting us the bigger your arrears will become, and the harder it will be to make a suitable recovery arrangement to clear the debt. 

Call us in confidence on 0300 1234 171 or alternatively use the contact details shown on this page.

Q:  What happens if I ignore your reminders?

A:  The next step is for a summons to be issued asking you to appear at the local Magistrates Court.

Q.  I have received a Summons, what should I do?

A.  You should pay the full amount straight away. If the total balance is paid in full (including the summons costs) before the court date, then no further proceedings will take place. If you are unable to pay the full amount before the date of the hearing you should contact the Revenues section to discuss a payment plan. If your proposals are accepted you need not appear before the Magistrates but the Liability Order will be issued in your absence, which will be held by the Council pending payment of the arrangement.

At the hearing the costs incurred by the issue of the summons (if applicable) and additional Liability Order costs will be added to your outstanding balance when the application is made to the Magistrates for the Liability Order.

Q: If I have agreed a payment plan will a Liability Order still be issued?

A:Yes. However, it will not be used if you keep to the agreed payment plan.

Q: Why do I have to pay costs?

A: The council incurs additional expense in preparing and issuing a summons for non-payment, along with the application for the Liability Order.

Q: What is a Liability Order?

A: Liability Order is a statement from the Magistrates Court that you owe an amount of Business Rates and costs. It gives the Council additional powers to enforce the debt.

Q: What powers does a Liability Order give to the Council?

A: If you do not pay the full amount within 7 days of the court hearing or have not made a special payment arrangement, the Council will decide, dependent upon individual circumstances, which method of enforcement is most appropriate in your case.

Q: I've received a letter from an enforcement company, what should I do?

A: If you have received any correspondence from the enforcement company you must contact them immediately (see the contact details below).


Website: Rossendales 

Tel: 0844 7013980
Fax: 01706 831126


Website: Equita
Tel: 0844 561 8807


Website: Jacobs
Tel: 0845 6012692 (find out about call charges)
Fax: 0151 6504999

Marstons Group

Website: Marston Group
Tel: 0845 0766262 (find out about call charges)
Fax: 01992 703703