We have been made aware that some business are receiving emails from rating agents offering a free assessment to see if you have been overcharged business rates due to  the 2017 revaluation. Ratepayers do not have to be represented in these discussions regarding their rateable value of their rates bill which can be done directly with the Valuation Office Agency or by contacting the business rates office. 

If you do decide to employ a rates adviser then you should check they have the necessary knowledge and expertise as well as appropriate indemnity insurance.

Enforcement Agents (formerly Bailiffs)

From April 6th 2014, there are important changes to the way Council Tax and Business Rates are collected.

The Taking Control of Goods (fees) regulations 2014 comes into effect from 6th April 2014. These Regulations set out the procedure Enforcement Agents (formerly known as bailiffs) must follow when taking control of goods for Council Tax and Business Rates and, if necessary, selling them to recover a debt.

From that date the Council can instruct an Enforcement Agent to collect the outstanding Council Tax or Business Rate debt from you if a Liability Order has been issued in your name. We may do this if you have not made or kept to an agreed repayment plan or have not completed and returned the personal information form sent to you.

Before we ask the Enforcement Agent to visit you, we will send you a letter to tell you about the extra costs which may be charged to you if Enforcement Agents are instructed to collect the debt.

If your debt has been passed to the Enforcement Agent, you will incur a fixed fee of £75. Any payments or offers of repayment should then be made to the Enforcement Agent and not to the council.

If the Enforcement Agent has not received a response from their initial contact then they will arrange to visit you and this will incur a further fixed fee of £235 plus 7.5% for any money owed over £1,500.

The Enforcement Agent will normally ask you for payment in full; however, if you are able to show that you cannot meet this request, the Enforcement Agent may make a repayment arrangement with you.

The Enforcement Agent, may enter into a Controlled Goods Agreement, where the agent makes a list of your possessions that will cover the value of your debt. If your possessions are subject to a Controlled Goods Agreement you cannot dispose or sell them without the Enforcement Agents permission.

If you do not pay as agreed and you have signed a Controlled Goods Agreement, the Enforcement Agent may enter your property, to take the goods listed. You will be charged for the removal and sale of the goods. It is an offence to stop an Enforcement Agent from carrying out his duties.

Unpaid Council Tax or  Business Rate bills means that everyone who pays Council tax or Business Rates has to pay more to cover the debts not paid. Therefore the council will take all recovery options open to it, where possible, this will include Bankruptcy, imprisonment or a charging order against your property. Naturally, these are steps we do not want to take and we urge you to contact us to make a payment arrangement.

Please contact us at:

 Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Recovery Section
 Council Offices
 The Campus
 Welwyn Garden City
 AL8 6AE
 Tel: 01707 357000
 Email: c.tax@welhat.gov.uk

If you need independent advice , please contact the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) at:

Queensway House
Tel: 01707 262607

Website: www.welwynhatfieldcab.org.uk

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