The council recognises the fact that cashflow is very important to the business rate payers in the borough, and makes every effort to refund overpaid business rates promptly, whilst still ensuring that any opportunities for the fraudulent claiming of refunds are minimised.
To that end the council follows the following process in cases where a business rate account goes into credit:
- If payments of business rates have been made by direct debit to the business rate account that is in credit, the refund will automatically be refunded to the Bank account the direct debit payments are made from. A credit bill will be sent advising the payer of the refund.
- If payments of business rates have been made by non-direct debit payment methods, the council will send the payer an amended (credit) bill, together with a refund application form. On receipt of the completed form the council will verify the payers’ details and within five working days refund the credit amount to the payer via BACS.
- If the business that is in credit doesn’t return the completed refund pro-forma within one month of it being sent, the council will attempt to contact the business and if that isn’t possible, send them a copy of the credit bill.
- If this process does not subsequently prompt a refund of the credit, then credit balances under £10,000 will be held on the payers account until such time as the payer makes contact. If the credit is over £10,000 in value, one of the council’s visiting officers will call at the business premises of the payer to arrange the refund and as appropriate ensure that the business is still trading.
- Any refunds over £20,000 will require authorisation by the Compliance Manager, or Head of the Contact Centre.
- In order to minimise the opportunities for the fraudulent claiming of business rate credits the council does not provide information in response to FOI requests for the details of businesses whose business rate accounts are in credit.