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Thread: Business rates demand notice - court

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  1. #1
    peter.k's Avatar

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    Default Business rates demand notice - court

    Hi everyone,


    Story so far - myself and ex business partner owned a business back in 2011-2013 (ltd). Business was closed in 2013 and this July i received a letter stating that i owe business rates. I contacted council and explained that it was not me personally liable for rates but company and provided all profs (bills, company registrations, Invoices, etc). Council lost my first letter. After a months or so i posted a second letter with all proofs and explanations. Based on tracking it was delivered to them and signed by reception. Council kept it quiet for 6 weeks after which i received a Court Summons this week. I have tried to call them and email for last few days - no reply or response.


    What is the procedure if i have to go to court as i haven't been in one and dont know what to do.


    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    wales01man's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Was this a LTD company

  3. #3
    peter.k's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Hi wales01man - yes it was an LTD company.

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    wales01man's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Should be no problem defending this as long as any payments were made from LTD company funds

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    Amethyst's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    How was the business closed in 2013 ? and was the council informed at that point ?
    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

    Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

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    ploddertom's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Whose name is the Summons in? What date do they allege the debt is owing from & were payments made prior to this?

  7. #7
    peter.k's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Amethyst - business was closed by informing Companies house (usual route of advertising companies closure, etc)

    ploddertom - in summons it is my name as well as ex-business partners name (who emigrated to Germany 4 years ago and dont care). Debt alleged from 2012.

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    Amethyst's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Voluntary Strike Off (s1003 companies act 2006) or Liquidation ?
    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

    Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

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    ploddertom's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    I assume you never gave a Personal Guarantee?

  10. #10
    peter.k's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Amethyst - voluntary strike off.

    ploddertom - sorry, what personal guarantee? On what?

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    ploddertom's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Sometimes even as director you may be asked to sign a Personal Guarantee meaning you will pay what is owing if the Company is defunct.

  12. #12
    peter.k's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    ploddertom - only personal guarantee i signed for the garage rental contract stating that business partners will pay for the rent. No other guarantees signed.

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    I would hazard a gues as this is an old debt that the Council are trawling trying to get every last penny back. It could be they think you will not have any records that prove this was a Company debt & died when the Company did. They may realise they cannot trace your partner and see you as the person they are going to chase. Eventually they may come to their senses and then tell you not to attend Court. Given their track record to date I certainly would not believe anything they say.

    If it were me I would go, sidestep the Council on the day & insist on going in front of the Magistrate and having taken all proof with you ask this be thrown out.

  14. #14
    peter.k's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    ploddertom - thank you for your help and comments. I have never been in court and not sure what to say or whom to. Of course i will go and participate, more worried of what i need with me and what to say to whom.

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    With LO Hearings the basics are that the Council "hires" the Court and if anyone turns up then some Council employees may try to dissuade you from going in front of the Bench by "sorting" it all out beforehand. For the majority this may be OK but you have sufficient to show you are not liable and it is your right as ex-Director to put the case for your dissolved Company. Although it has serious outcome these affairs are reasonably casual.

    If you get in front of the Bench then you address them as Sir or Ma'am according to gender. Speak clearly when spoken to and remember your please & thank you. You don't need to dress in a 3 piece but scruffy is also out.

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    peter.k's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    ploddertom - thank you so much for help and information.

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    ploddertom's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    You are more than welcome as that is what we are here for. A lot of us have learned from our own misfortunes & like to help others who are just starting out.

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    Amethyst's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    I just have a concern over this part of the Companies Act re Voluntary Strike Off

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga...6/section/1003

    (6)However—

    (a)the liability (if any) of every director, managing officer and member of the company continues and may be enforced as if the company had not been dissolved, and

    (b)nothing in this section affects the power of the court to wind up a company the name of which has been struck off the register.
    which I think means
    In order to apply for voluntary striking off the company must be solvent: the directors can be held to be personally accountable if the company is struck off without settling all its debts.
    But of course that depends where the business rate debt has risen up from and whether I've understood the rules correctly - it's not my area so I could be reading too much into it / looking for pitfalls that don't exist - If you can get some formal legal advice from someone who deals with company dissolutions and understands the business rates rules, before this gets to court I would.
    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

    Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

  19. #19
    peter.k's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Amethyst - thank you for additional and helpful information. Unfortunately i am keeping my hard earned cash ready in case if i have to pay this council and dont have any spare to pay any lawyers for their help. Can only go there and hope for the best. And cross fingers.

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    Amethyst's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Could be worth seeking some knowledgable peoples thoughts over on the UK Business Forums - there's a few threads over there about business rates on dissolved companies I've found - seems to rely on when you stopped using the business premises ...

    http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk/th...rector.368767/
    http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk/th...demand.368579/
    http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk/th...s-bill.358996/
    etc.
    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

    Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

  21. #21
    peter.k's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Company was sold to other director who operated from the same premises for another couple of months before moving away. Only issue i see is that few of the Rental agreements were in my and ex-business partners names (for landlords security purposes) even do we traded as a company from the same premises.

  22. #22
    Amethyst's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    So was the company sold or dissolved ? If sold the liability for the business rates would presumably have transferred to the new owner.

    What does it say on companies house ? If you look at the Filing History page on your company entry on https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/ it should say something like "Final Gazette dissolved via voluntary strike-off " - you'll want those documents for court anyway to evidence the business was dissolved and when.
    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

    Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

  23. #23
    peter.k's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Company was sold to new owner for £1,- in November 2012 and new owner dissolved it 6 months after as he could not get contracts with companies extended.

    Companies house - Jul 2013 Final Gazette dissolved via voluntary strike-off

  24. #24
    Amethyst's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    Is the business rate debt for that Nov '12 to Jul '13 period ?

    Did you resign as directors when you sold it ?
    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

    Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

  25. #25
    peter.k's Avatar

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    Default Re: Business rates demand notice - court

    No, the alleged debt is for 2012 Jan-March, at the time i was one of the directors of the company. And after selling company in November i did resign with immediate effect (Companies house shows this on records).

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