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Non-domestic rate collection: never too late?

In the first of his three-part series on debt recovery, Marc Samuels revisits the circumstances in which local authorities can issue late demands for non-domestic business rates.

National non-domestic rating (NNDR) recovery is a chore for local government practitioners for a variety of reasons – pursuit of the often unknown occupant, evidential gaps on the file, the amalgam of civil applications within criminal courts, etc. It nevertheless represents big money in a time of budgetary austerity. According to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s latest statistical release (“National non-domestic rates to be collected by local authorities in England 2016-17”), local authorities estimate the non-domestic rating income in 2015-16 to be £23.5bn, this figure representing what authorities expect to collect after all relief, accounting adjustments and sums retained outside the rates retention scheme are taken into account. As we know, however, a significant proportion of collectable rates go uncollected year on year.

So what restrictions are there on local authorities’ ability to issue late demands for rates?

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