Business rates charges can be backdated and any backdated liability is classed as the ‘unpaid liability for the period from the effective date of the alteration to the date that the list was altered’. 

Backdated rates can be due even if the cause of the delay is due to errors by the valuation office. Failure to issue a demand as soon as practicably possible is not reason alone for the demand to be invalid, the delay has to have caused the ratepayer to have suffered prejudice. 

The Limitation Act 1980 restricts the backdating of liability to no more than 6 years, and this has been supported in case law. The Act states that : 

Time limit for actions for sums recoverable by statute. 

  • An action to recover any sum recoverable by virtue of any enactment shall not be brought after the expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued. 
  • Subsection (1) shall not affect any action to which section 10 of this Act applies. 

Backdated liabilities for unpaid liabilities can be agreed to be paid in equal instalments over no more than 8 years. These instalments are payable in addition to any current instalments that are due.