NDR – Council is wrong?

NDR – Council is wrong?

13:51 PM, 30th December 2020, About 3 years ago 7

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I have a tiny shop with ratings on VOA site showing as follows:-
April 2010 – Jan 2014 £2,600
Oct 2013 – 17 March 2014 £0
April 2017 – present £1,650

The assumption by the owner that on purchase in non-business rates applicable as well under the £12,00 rateable value. No action taken.

Bills then received in Aug 2020 for payment of £810.15 for non-payment of Non-domestic rates (NDR), citing charge dates 2018-2019 & another £84.62 for 23 Feb 2019 – 31 March 2019.

I have sent emails back to the council on 10 Aug, 9 Oct, 16 Dec stating the bill is wrong as property exempt (never had reply from any of them), then got a final warning letter 21 Dec with a Summons attached. I sent off another email on 21st Dec stating this is clearly wrong (tried calling all day did not get through) and also in desperation filled in an online form on Council website for small bus rate relief with date going back to 2017

How can a bill be generated by the Council for a property clearly under the rateable value of £12,000? The VOA site says relief available if under £15,000 BUT you will not pay business rates on a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

Is it best to pay the bill then argue to get it refunded by the Council by way of showing it wasn’t a valid charge in the first place?

Reluctant Landlord

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John Dace

9:25 AM, 31st December 2020, About 3 years ago

The info you supply is confusing and incomplete. The Voa website will give a rateable value. The business within the shop can claim relief (on a sliding scale) according to that council areas policy. This is called small business relief. This often means a nil bill for small shops. If the business closes, the owner of the property becomes liable for rates but cannot claim small business relief. Is this your issue?


9:42 AM, 31st December 2020, About 3 years ago

Keep contacting the council and explain in each letter the earlier steps you have taken.

Some council enforcement teams are very capable but others are far from it.

From experience it seems you are going to be ignored. When the court summons appears go to court and insist on appearing in court don't be negotiated away to save the council embarrassment.

Do of course double check your legal grounds by an expert.

My experience is from council tax but I hope these few words help.

Steve Masters

9:50 AM, 31st December 2020, About 3 years ago

Unfortunately I can't answer the original question other than to say that whenever I get a bill I am not sure about I find that speaking to someone in the organisation normally helps. Sometimes one has to really persevere to get through, frustrating waste of time but worth it in the end. Occasionally I just can't get to speak to anyone who can help, in which case I write a letter explaining that I am happy to pay the bill if it can be explained but it is my organisations policy not to pay any bill that has not been explained. I can't remember if this has ever helped and thankfully it has never been tested in court.

Can one legally refuse to pay a bill without an explanation of how it is derived?


10:24 AM, 31st December 2020, About 3 years ago

My council do not process any form of correspondence for at least 6 weeks by which time they have ploughed on regardless with the enforcement process.

terry sullivan

12:18 PM, 31st December 2020, About 3 years ago

attend court--tell judge

also rd letter to council chief exec informing him of your actions and you will be billing them for your time and effort

i also threatened action for libel when this last happened--council acted very rapidly then

also==make formal complaint and insist it progresses as far as possible--ie to include senior management--not just the pleb on the front line

Freda Blogs

12:50 PM, 31st December 2020, About 3 years ago

If you have a summons, I would respond to that first - take the heat / anxiety/time pressure out of the situation by paying (but make clear that payment is under protest and without admission of liability), as you do not want a judgement in default, as you could get a CCJ and Councils are notorious for enforcing debt via bailiffs. That would be a more challenging scenario for you. Then, continue to appeal the principles of the case in a more relaxed timeframe and copy your correspondence to the Chief Exec and your elected Councillor, as its a waste of public funds and officer time bringing inappropriate Court proceedings.


16:20 PM, 1st January 2021, About 3 years ago

You do not give enough information. Are you the occupying tenant or the owner occupier of the shop and carrying out a business? If so you should be entitled to relief.
If however you are the owner and it is empty (or has been empty in the periods you mention) it will be subject to empty rates and will therefore not qualify for small business rate relief.
If you are unable to speak to someone in the rating department , take professional advice (Rating Surveyor) probably from a Chartered Surveyor. Don't however ignore the demand.

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