Business rates charges can be charged retrospectively but due to the Limitations Act 1980 any retrospective billing can only go back as far as 6 years.

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. 

Any retrospectively billed rates are classed as the ‘unpaid liability for the period from the effective date of the alteration to the date that the list was altered’.

Business rates can be billed retrospectively even if the valuation office has caused the delay. 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 prejudice.

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.