Reduce your business rates bill
Small business rate relief
Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value of less than £51,000 (and who are not entitled to other mandatory relief or are liable for unoccupied property rates) will have their bills calculated using the small business rate multiplier.
In addition, generally, if the sole or main property's rateable value does not exceed £15,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their bill for that property, of up to a maximum of 100%. For a property with a rateable value of not more than £12,000, the ratepayer will receive 100% reduction in their rates bill.
Small business rate relief is only available to ratepayers who occupy either:
- one property, or
- one main property and other additional properties, providing those additional properties each have a rateable value of less than £2,900.
The rateable value of the property mentioned in (1), or the aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (2), must not exceed £19,999 on each day for which relief is being sought. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable values, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase.
The Government has introduced additional support to small businesses. For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of Small business rate relief, they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.
If you are receiving Small Business Rate Relief you must contact us if you take up occupation of another property, or if you occupy a property in another local authority area and the rateable value is increased.
Mandatory rate relief for charities
Mandatory rate relief of 80% of the business rates bill is available to charities.
Where a property is occupied by a charity or the trustees of a charity, and is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes (whether of that charity or of that and other charities), the ratepayer will qualify for a mandatory allowance of 80% of the liability that would otherwise apply.
In such cases, the charge is therefore 20% of the full rate.
Where the ratepayer is a charity or the trustees of a charity and it appears that when next in use the property will be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes (whether of that charity or of that and other charities), an exemption from unoccupied business rates will apply.
What is a charity?
A charity is defined by the Local Government Finance Act 1988 as 'an institution or other organisation established for charitable purposes only, or any persons administering a trust for charitable purposes only'.
Entry in the Register of Charities, which is maintained by the Charity Commissioners, is conclusive evidence that an organisation is a charity. However, absence from the register does not necessarily mean that an organisation is not a charity as it may be 'excepted' from registration, e.g. units of the boy scouts / girl guides, together with the Church Commissioners.
In the absence of registration or exception, a charity is:
- a trust for the relief of poverty
- a trust for the advancement of religion
- a trust for the advancement of education
- a trust for other purposes beneficial to the community
Mandatory charitable rate relief can also be extended to a charity shop where:
- it is wholly or mainly used for the sale of goods given to the charity, and
- the proceeds of the sale of the goods, after any deductions of expenses, are used for the purposes of the charity.
Mandatory rate relief for Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs)
Mandatory relief of 80% of the business rates bill is available to Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs).
To qualify as a CASC, a sports club must:
- be open to the whole community
- be run as an amateur club
- be a non-profit-making organisation
- aim to provide facilities for, and encourage people to take part in, eligible sport
Before you can apply for rate relief, you will need to register as a CASC with HM Revenue & Customs. Once you have received CASC status, you will need to complete an application form for rate relief and supply your CASC registration number to us.
Discretionary rate relief
Discretionary rate relief for up to 100% of the business rates liability may be allowed.
For charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs already qualifying for the 80% mandatory relief, discretionary relief may be allowed on the remaining 20% of the charge.
Discretionary rate relief may be awarded where one of the following applies:
- All or part of the hereditament is occupied for the purposes of one or more institutions or other organisations which are not established or conducted for profit and whose main objectives are charitable or otherwise philanthropic or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts.
- the hereditament is wholly or mainly used for the purposes of recreation, and all or part of it is occupied for the purposes of a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit.
Exemptions to unoccupied property rate
In most cases, the owner or leaseholder of an empty property will be liable to pay the unoccupied property rate, which is equivalent to the normal business rates charge for the property.
Legislation provides that should any of the following conditions apply to the empty property or the owner/leaseholder, then an exemption will apply, where no unoccupied property rate will be payable.
- The property has been unoccupied for a period not exceeding three months;
- The property is a qualifying industrial hereditament, which has been unoccupied for a period not exceeding six months;
- The owner or leaseholder is a charity or a Community Amateur Sports Club; and the property, when next in use, will be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes;
- The owner is prohibited by law from occupying the property or allowing it to be occupied;
- The property is kept vacant by reason of action taken by or on behalf of the Crown or any local or public authority with a view to prohibiting occupation or to acquiring the property;
- The property is the subject of a building preservation notice within the meaning of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 or is included in a list compiled under Section 1 of the Act;
- The property is included in the Schedule of Monuments compiled under Section 1 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979;
- The rateable value of the property is less than £2,900;
- The owner is entitled to possession of the property only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person;
- The owner's estate is subject to a bankruptcy order within the meaning of Section 381 (2) of the Insolvency Act 1986;
- The owner is entitled to possession of the property in his capacity as trustee under the Deed of Arrangement Act 1914;
- The owner is a company which is subject to a winding-up order, made under the Insolvency Act 1986 or which is being wound up voluntarily under that Act;
- The owner is a company in administration within the meaning of Paragraph 1 of Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986 or is subject to an Administration Order made under the former administration provisions within the meaning of Article 3 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (Commencement No 4 and Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2003;
- The owner is entitled to possession of the property in his capacity as Liquidator by virtue of an order made under Section 112 or Section 145 of the Insolvency Act 1986;
Partly Occupied Properties
Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the Local Authority has the discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Please email email@example.com to provide information.
In the Autumn Budget 2018, the government announced a new relief scheme for retail properties that have a rateable value of less than £51,000 that are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments. Under this scheme eligible retailers have received a one third discount on their business rates bill for the 2019/20 year. State aid rules apply to this type of relief.
From 1 April 2020 the government has increased the level of relief to 50%.
Further information on the Retail Discount Scheme: