Skip header

Rate reliefs and exemptions

1. Small Business Rate Relief

2. Unoccupied properties

3. Charity and other organisations

4. Local discounts

5. Exempt properties

6. Spring Budget 2017 Relief Scheme

7. Retail discount

8. Other reliefs

1. Small Business Rate Relief

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 you think you meet the criteria, but have not applied, you can download the application form here597.51KB


2. Unoccupied properties

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: 

  • Listed buildings
  • 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 so that an inspection can be arranged to verify that it is fully unoccupied.

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.

What do you need to do?

If you think you meet the criteria, but have not applied, you can download the Charitable rate relief application form137.2KB.

4. Local discounts

Local Authorities have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.

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
  • Fish farms
  • Places of religious worship
  • Trinity House property (e.g. lighthouses, buoys and beacons)
  • Sewers and accessories
  • Property of Drainage Authorities
  • Parks
  • Property used for the disabled
  • Air raid protection works
  • Swinging Moorings
  • 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. Spring Budget 2017 Relief Scheme

At the Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced several measures designed to help businesses with the potential impact of the 2017 revaluation. The changes include:

Supporting Small Business:

Ratepayers losing Small Business Rate Relief as a result of the 2017 revaluation will have their increases limited to a cash value of £600 per year. This relief will run for 5 years to 31st March 2022 and ratepayers will receive this relief until this date or they reach what their bill would have been within the relief scheme, whichever is first.

Discretionary Scheme:

The government is providing a £300 million discretionary fund to local authorities over 4 years 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.

7. Retail discount

At Autumn Budget 2018, the Government announced a one-third discount for eligible retail businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, up to state aid limits. This scheme will run for two years from April 2019. This discount will be applied to the bill after the application of any reliefs, excluding any local discounts.

What do you need to do?

If you are eligible you do not need to do anything as we will send you a revised demand once this relief has been awarded. If you have not heard from us, and you think you are eligible for this relief, please contact the Business Rates Team.

8. Other reliefs

Please refer to the Explanatory Notes Booklet for further details regarding other reliefs that may be available for the financial year.


Contact the Business Rates Team on Telephone 0191  4244299 or e-mail

How would you rate the information on this page?

  • Business rates
  • Hawthorne
    Rolling Mill Road
    Viking Industrial Park
    Tyne & Wear
    United Kingdom
    NE32 3DP

  • 0191 424 4299

Share this page