Enforcement agents and bankruptcy

Enforcement agents

When you do not make an agreed arrangement to pay your business rates we will use enforcement agents (formerly known as bailiffs) to recover the debt.

You will be sent a letter, from the enforcement agent, telling you the debt has been passed to them to collect and asking for full payment at once. If you do not make the payment more notices will be sent and agents will visit your property to remove goods up to the value of what you owe us, including any costs owed resulting from their action.

If you pay your debt, including costs, before any goods are taken or sold the seizure or sale will be stopped. You can also stop enforcement agents taking the goods by signing a ‘taking control of goods agreement’. This is an arrangement to pay the debt over a period of time rather than the balance being paid in full. The agreement means an agent can return to remove goods when the debt is not paid as agreed. You do not have to be there if the enforcement agent returns to remove goods.

If the enforcement agent can’t collect the debt, or there are insufficient goods to remove, the account will be returned to us for further proceedings.


If you, or your company, owe more than £5,000 we may start action against you to recover the debt. We will send you a statutory demand giving you 21 days to pay the full amount. When you receive this contact our Business Rates customer services team immediately.

If you do not settle your bill we will present a petition for bankruptcy or liquidation in the County Court. We can start bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings against individuals who owe us business rates.

If we issue bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings this means you may:

  • meet with the official receiver, and if appointed, a trustee who will thoroughly investigate your affairs
  • have any business you own closed immediately
  • lose any assets of real value including your home and life insurance etc
  • lose any assets you may acquire during the term of your bankruptcy such as inheritances, insurance settlements, growth of asset value in your home
  • have your building society, creditors and landlords etc informed immediately
  • have all bank accounts and credit cards closed. No UK bank will give bankrupts any sort of bank account. Anything you might be leasing, or buying on hire purchase, such as your car, will be immediately returned to the owner
  • lose professional and business status, have some employment opportunities prejudiced, face rejection from many associations and societies
  • be refused credit for years after your discharge

Your trustee will have to settle every debt, whether it is in order or not.