Over the last five financial years, Folkestone & Hythe District Council have raised 197 liability orders against individuals or companies to the sum of nearly £1.5m for non-payment of business rates; which contribute towards the cost of local services run by the Council.
Below we have set out the spreadsheets for each financial year 2019/20 to 2023/24 for those who have had a liability order raised against them for non-payment of business rates.
Business rates are charged on most non-domestic properties, like:
- holiday rental homes or guest houses
You’ll probably have to pay business rates if you use a building or part of a building for non-domestic purposes. The business rates, collected by Folkestone & Hythe District Council (or any other council) are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services.
Our council normally send the business rates bill to those who must pay in February or March each year. This is for the following tax year.
It is their legal duty to collect monies owed for non-payment of business rates. When a sum of money is owed for business rates, the Council will send either an individual or the company occupying the business premises a reminder. If they fail to pay this amount the Council will then seek a liability order from the magistrates court. This is an agreement that either the individual, or company, is liable to pay business rates for the premises in question.
The magistrates will not consider your ability to pay when issuing a liability order. The liability order gives the Council extra powers to collect the money that you owe.
A liability order gives the Council powers to recover the money you owe. These are:
- Taking control of goods to pay a debt. The Council employ Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) to collect the debt. More costs will be added to your debt. In some circumstances goods can be removed and sold.
- Bankruptcy/Winding Up. The Council can can start proceedings against you through the County Court.
- Committal to Prison. Unlike almost every other debt, you can be sent to prison for up to three months for not paying your business rates. Even if you have other debts where you are being pressed for payment, it is vital that you make payment of your business rates a priority.
The total sum owed over these five financial years – 2019/20 to 2023/24 was £1,464,806. No liability orders were issued by the magistrates court to the Council in 2020/21.
Below are the spreadsheets of companies who were issued a liability order for non-payment of business rates. There are empty cells in the sheets as these are individuals who owed business rates. They cannot be named due to data protection law.
In 2019/20 forty five individual/companies in total had a liability order raised against them for non-payment of business rates. The total sum owed was £374,910
In this year one can see that Sunningdale House Developments Limited owed £3,492 in unpaid business rates, according to the Council. Sunningdale are a company we have written about quite a lot of late.
In 2020/21 no liability orders were issued by the magistrates court
In 2021/22 sixty three individuals/companies in total had a liability order raised against them for non-payment of business rates. The total sum owed was £514,487
In this year one company, Town Walk Properties Ltd, owned by Rochelle Godden, the wife of deceased business man Jimmy Godden, owed £5,719, according to the Council.
In 2022/23 seventy individuals/companies in total had a liability order raised against them for non-payment of business rates. The total sum owed was £493,165
In this year Cepf II Meteor Investments S.A.R.L, an offshore company based in Luxembourg, and who previously owned Queens House on Guidhall Street owed £48,946 according to the Council.
So far in 2023/24 nineteen individuals/companies in total have had a liability order raised against them for non-payment of business rates. The total sum owed so far for this financial year is £82,243
There are reliefs, reductions and exemptions for Business rates. If you as an individual or as a company are having issues paying your business rates, we urge you to contact Folkestone & Hythe District Council at the earliest opportunity, as they may well be able to help and assist.
They can be contacted on
business rates – 01303 853223
And by visiting the Civic Centre in Castle Hill Avenue
Remember you can be sent to prison for up to 3 months if the court decides you do not have a good reason to not pay your business rates and you refuse to do so. Please Note: committal to prison applies to individuals not to limited companies, and happens very rarely.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful