Revealed: One in five Manchester businesses summoned to court for not paying taxes – 20 EVERY DAY

Exclusive by Sam Richardson

A staggering one in five Manchester business premises were summoned to court for failing to pay their business rates last year, MM can reveal.

An average of 20 businesses EVERY DAY were summoned between April 2012 and March 2013.

A freedom of information request by MM shows that of 23,572 premises on the rating list for the Manchester Billing Authority, 5,169 were summoned to court between April 2012 and March 2013.

The findings highlight the pressure that struggling Manchester firms are under to keep on top of their payments.

A Manchester City Council spokesman said: “Summonses are only issued once businesses have already had a bill and reminder, so they do not come out of the blue.

“Businesses have a duty to pay their business rates just as individual taxpayers must pay their council tax.

 “We will always pursue non-payers to make sure this money is recovered.”

Almost 7,000 summons were issued in 2011/12, meaning last year saw a 26% drop in the amount of summonses.

This year 2,363 court summons have already been issued to business premises because the occupier has fallen behind on payments.

This means more than 10% of business premises within the borough of Manchester have been summoned to court.

Eleanor McGrath, Campaign Manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “At a time when business rates are through the roof it’s no wonder some are struggling to pay these bills.

“Businesses of all kinds struggle with rates as they are a major bill that they have to pay in good times and bad, whether or not they are making the money to pay it.  

“If the Government are serious about kick-starting the economy then they need to freeze business rates and restore relief on empty properties.” 

Picture courtesy of Images of Money, with thanks.

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