Business rates, like tax, are one of the sure things in life, so it’s surprising that business rates catch out so many small businesses each year, tipping the balance and plunging them into insolvency. Even the most basic cash flow projection will guard against the sting of business rates day, but what can you do, if for whatever reason, it’s time to pay and you simply don’t have the resources?
The first thing to do is to pick up the phone and contact the Business Rates Department (Swansea Council Business Rates Department can be reached on 01792 635 939). In just the same way as dealing with other creditors, you need to make sure you communicate as much as possible and as honestly as possible. Let them know that you have received their bill and forsee an issue in meeting the payment date and would like to know what your options are. You may be eligible for Business Rates Relief or even a revaluation, so be sure to explore these avenues.
As with other creditors, it is in the best interest of the council to agree an affordable repayment plan. You will stand a much better chance of negotiating an agreeable plan if you have cash flow forecasts to present to them. Drawing up a cash flow forecast gives you the ideal opportunity to ask some difficult questions. Is your business viable? Can your business afford it’s premises? Do you need to downsize or sell excess stock and equipment?
Whatever you do, don’t ignore this red flag. Get in touch with the Business rates department immediately and start planning ahead for the next business rates payment date.