As a sole trader, if all other methods of trying to recover the money you owe have been unsuccessful, then the Council can apply to the Magistrates' Court for you to be committed to prison.
You are required to either pay the total sum due in full or attend the Court hearing as you have been summonsed.
At Court you will have to appear before the Magistrates to explain why the Business Rates have not been paid.
Magistrates will conduct an enquiry into your means at the time the debt became due. You will be required to tell the court of your income and how that income was spent. If the Court finds you guilty of wilful refusal to pay or culpable neglect to pay the Rates then they may commit you to prison for up to 90 days for each Liability Order that you owe.
If you are committed to prison you will still owe the National Non-Domestic (Business) Rates plus additional costs.
If you have received a summons for a committal application you are strongly advised to seek legal advice.