If you fail to pay your business rates

If you fail to pay your business rates you will face recovery action which may result in court action and costs will be added.

If you are having difficulty paying

It is important that you contact us as soon as possible. We may be able to set up an arrangement. 

Telephone: 0300 373 3730

Allerdale area: recovery1@cumberland.gov.uk
Carlisle area: recoverym@cumberland.gov.uk 
Copeland area: nndr3@cumberland.gov.uk 

You can also talk to a trained advisor online about your debt issues on the Citizen Advice website.

Chat to a trained advisor online

Local Citizen Advice offices

Town Hall
Oxford Street
CA14 2RS
Telephone: 01900 604735

Carlisle and Eden
Broadacre House
Lowther Street
Telephone: 0808 278 7844

Phoenix House
3 to 5 Jacktrees Road
Cleator Moor
CA25 5BD
Telephone: 01946 693321

If you miss your payments

We will commence the following recovery process.

Business Rates Demand Notice and instalments

Instalments are requested in accordance with a statutory instalment plan, and you are issued with a demand notice (your bill). There will be at least 14 days before your first payment is due. 

Different notices are to be served for each year.

The first of the month is the cash instalment date and direct debit is offered on:

  • Allerdale area – 5 of the month
  • Carlisle area – 1 of the month
  • Copeland area – 1, 8 15 and 22 of the month

Where the demand notice is issued between 1 January and 31 March in the relevant year, the amount is payable in a single instalment as specified in the demand notice.

Further Notice

Issued if payment is not made in accordance with the statutory demand notice. You must pay the amount due within seven days, failure to do so will result in instalments being cancelled. 

Reminder Notice

Issued if you fail to pay a second time in the same financial year. The right to pay by instalments is lost and the full balance is due. 


A summons to attend the Magistrates Court is served if you don’t pay the total amount shown on the Further Notice or Reminder Notice within seven days. A date will be set for a court hearing and the cost of serving the summons will be added to the balance outstanding. 

You can pay in full, including the costs, before the hearing to avoid further recovery action. You can also request an arrangement before the hearing.

If you reach an agreement, you do not need to attend court.

If you want to provide a defence against the liability order obtained at court, you should read the notes included with your summons. The court can only consider a limited number of issues in these proceedings.

If you think you have an arguable case, you may want to speak to us first about this.

Telephone: 0300 373 3730

Allerdale area: recovery1@cumberland.gov.uk
Carlisle area: recoverym@cumberland.gov.uk 
Copeland area: nndr3@cumberland.gov.uk 

Liability Order 

Provides the authority to instruct an enforcement agent to recover the debt outstanding or commence bankruptcy or winding up (liquidation) proceedings. 

A repayment plan will be considered at Liability Order stage. 

Refer to an Enforcement Agency

If you fail to pay in accordance with these requirements, your account will be referred to an external enforcement agency for collection. 

Further costs are added and you must contact the enforcement agency to discuss repayment. 

Fee stage

Fixed fee

Percentage fee (regulation 7): percentage of sum to be recovered exceeding £1500

Compliance stage



Enforcement stage



Sale or disposal stage



Fees recoverable under regulation 4 of The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014

Commitment to prison

If all other options fail, a Summons may be issued for you to attend the Magistrates’ Court for a committal hearing. If the outcome of this hearing considers you should have paid your business rates, a warrant of commitment may be issued which means you could have to go to prison for up to 90 days. In addition, further costs are added.