Business Rates Arrears Advice

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We fully understand that businesses can sometimes have difficulty paying their rates. We also understand that, with busy lives to lead, people running businesses occasionally forget to make payments, or pay them late. That's why we always try to be sensitive to individual circumstances and make every effort to help whenever possible.

The biggest mistake businesses make when they fall behind with their rates is to simply do nothing. We cannot do anything to help unless you let us know there is a problem. You can email us. Alternatively you can contact our business rates team on 01732 876338. We will be able to advise you what you need to do. We might also be able to reschedule your payments.

If you are a non profit-making organisation, or a small business, you may be entitled to a reduction in your rates. More information.

Letters about business rates payments being late

The reason we send out letters is to remind businesses that their payments are behind. This gives them the opportunity to do something about it. Find the letter you have received from the list below and see what you need to do. The important thing is to act now. Don't wait until you have received another letter. If you can't pay as requested, please let us know as we might be able to help.

We also recommend that you pay by Direct Debit. That way, your payments are made automatically by your bank, so there's no risk of missing a payment.

If you would like to set up a Direct Debit to pay your business rates please go to our Direct Debit page to either complete an online direct debit instruction or to view our printable form.

Alternatively, a Direct Debit can be set up over the phone - simply dial 01732 876338

Pink Reminder

We will send you a "pink", or official, reminder if you miss a payment. You must pay the amount shown on the reminder within 7 days. If you don't pay within 7 days, you could be summoned to court for the balance of the year's rates.

We will send you only 1 official "pink" reminder in any one financial year. If you keep missing payments you will lose your right to pay by monthly instalments and will have to pay the balance of the year's rates in full.

Blue Final Notice

We will send a final notice for a variety of reasons. Usually it will be because you keep missing payments and have already had a "pink" reminder. In this case, the final notice will be for the balance of the year's rates. It could also be because you have left your premises without clearing the rates that are due.

The final notice will tell you how much is outstanding. You need to pay this in full within 7 days. If you do not pay, you could be summonsed to court.


If you do not respond to a reminder or a final notice, we may decide to start court proceedings. If we do, you will be sent a summons, telling you to appear in court on a given date. The only way to avoid the matter going to court is to pay the outstanding rates in full. You will also have to pay additional costs.

If you do not pay, we will ask the court to grant a "liability order". This will give us the power to take further steps to recover the outstanding rates. These could include sending Enforcement Agents to your premises or starting bankruptcy/winding up proceedings.

Other Information

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council's Corporate Debt Recovery Policy