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bigduckontax, Accountant
Category: Tax
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We have been presented with a demand for non domestic rates

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We have been presented with a demand for non domestic rates going back to 2008 for an empty premises which we was on the understanding was exempt from rates. We have not had any correspondence from our local council since 2009. Are they within thier rights to do this? Can you help us with this please. Regards Denis.

Hello Denis, I'm Keith and happy to help you with your question. Before I can proceed where in the UK is the property?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Keith, the property is in Sudbury, Suffolk.

Hello Denis, sorry for the delay.

Under the statutory limitation rules a creditor has 6 years in which to claim an outstanding bill. Once the creditor makes that claim the 6 years starts to run again.

Non-domestic rates are payable on empty premises although the first 3 months are waived (6 for certain industrial premises). Unless you have some written evidence to the contrary (ie a letter from the Council saying that there is no liability to rates) the local authority are entitled to the rates. Your Council would appear to be within their rights to demand the payment. I agree though that such a delay smacks of poor administration.

I am so sorry to have to convey this dismal news to you. You could try to negotiate, but I fear local authorities are as strapped for cash as the rest of us and will probably not play ball, save, perhaps, staggered payments of the debt.
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Thank you for your support.
An afterthought, if the property has a rateable value less than GBP 2600 then it can be exempt. Worth a gander, I think. Sorry not to have mentioned it before.