From 1 April 2005 the Government introduced a new rate relief scheme to help small businesses.
From 1 April 2017, an eligible ratepayer will pay no rates on properties with rateable values up to £12,000, declining in percentage terms on a sliding scale until it is 0% at £15,000.
Generally, the relief is only available to ratepayers who are not entitled to another mandatory relief and occupy either:
one property; or
one main property and other additional properties with rateable values of less than £2,900 and a combined rateable value limit of £20,000 (The additional properties cannot qualify for this relief)
If your property has a rateable value below £51,000 your bill will be calculated by the small business multiplier as opposed to the standard multiplier.
Full details can be obtained from the Business Rates section.
What do you need to do?
If you already claim small business rate relief, you do not need to do anything else at this stage.
If you continue to meet the conditions for small business rate relief (which apply at the time, to the property and the ratepayer) you'll automatically continue to receive this in each new valuation period
If a business property is unoccupied, full business rates are usually still charged. These are waived for the first three months after a property becomes empty. For certain industrial properties, this is extended to six months. After this period, the 'person entitled to possession' becomes liable for the full charge.
There are a number of exemptions, including:
Properties with a rateable value of less than £2,900
Properties owned by a charity and when next in use will be occupied by a charity
Partly unoccupied properties:
A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is only partly occupied for a short time, we have the discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.
What do you need to do?
Ratepayers must notify the council immediately when a property becomes vacant.
3. Charity and other organisations
Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCS) are entitled to 80% mandatory rate relief when the property is occupied by the charity or club and is wholly or mainly used for charitable or club purposes.
We have discretion to give further rate relief on the remaining bill and give relief to non-profit making organisations.
Local Authorities have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts. Full details can be obtained from the Business Rates Team.
5. Exempt properties
Some properties are exempt from Business rates. The District Valuer will not include an exempt property in the Valuation List.
Exempt properties include:
Agricultural land and buildings
Places of religious worship
Trinity House property (e.g. lighthouses, buoys and beacons)
Sewers and accessories
Property of Drainage Authorities
Property used for the disabled
Air raid protection works
Road crossings over watercourses
Property in Enterprise Zones
All of the above are stated in broad terms. Within each of the classes a number of conditions may need to be met before the exemption is satisfied. If you need further details about any of these classes, please contact the local authority. Appeals against an entry in the list should be made to the District Valuer.
6. Supporting Small Business
The scheme is intended to help those ratepayers who have lost some or all of their Small Business Rate Relief as a result of the 2017 revaluation. This relief will run for 5 years from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2022 and ratepayers will receive this relief until this date or until they reach what their bill would have been within the relief scheme, whichever is first.
The scheme will ensure that the increase per year is limited to the greater of either a percentage increase per year of 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 15% and 15% 2017/18 to 2021/22 all plus inflation, or an increase of £600 per year.
In the first year of the scheme, all ratepayers losing some or all of their SBRR will see the maximum increase in their bill of £600. The minimum increase will be £600 per year thereafter.
7. Discretionary Scheme
The government is providing a £300 million discretionary fund to local authorities over 4 years from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2021, for businesses across the country that have had a significant increase in the rates payable between the 2010 and 2017 valuation lists. Further details can be obtained from the local authority.
This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Further information can be obtained from the Business Rates Team.
8. Expanded Retail discount
From April 2019, a one-third discount was available for eligible retail businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, up to state aid limits. This scheme was for two years from April 2019.
From 1 April 2020, the retail discount increased from one-third to 100 per cent. It was also extended to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. There was also no rateable value limit on the relief and it was not subject to state aid.
As part of the Budget on 3rd March 2021 the Chancellor announced that, as a temporary measure for 2021/22, relief would continue for eligible properties:
at 100% from 1st April 2021 to 30th June 2021.
at 66% from 1st July 2021 to 31st March 2022. This will be subject to a 'cash cap' of £2m for businesses that were required to close as at 5 January 2021, and up to £105,000 for businesses permitted to open at that date.
The government introduced 100% Business Rates relief for nurseries for the 2020-2021 tax year. This relief will apply to hereditaments occupied by providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage. There is no rateable value limit on the relief.
As part of the Budget on 3rd March 2021 the Chancellor announced that relief would continue for eligible properties:
at 100% from 1st April 2021 to 30th June 2021
at 66% from 1st July 2021 to 31st March 2022, with a 'cash cap' of £105,000.
10. Relief for Local Newspapers
The Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year on office space occupied by local newspapers.
This was due to run for 2 years from 1st April 2017. At Autumn Budget 2018, the Government extended the scheme for an additional year (2019/20). This scheme provides up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits.
The Government has announced an extension of the £1,500 business rates discount for office space occupied by local newspapers for an additional 5 years until 31 March 2025
11. Other Reliefs
Please contact the Business Rates Team for further information regarding other reliefs that may be available, on 0191 424 4299 or email email@example.com.