Business Rates - Reductions and Reliefs

    Certain types of business property qualify for rate relief. Some types of relief are prescribed by Government (mandatory), and some are awarded by the Local Authority (discretionary).

    Please also see Unoccupied and Partly Occupied Property and Small Business Rate Relief

    Transitional relief

    After each revaluation there is a period of transition. No bill is allowed to increase or decrease by more than a set percentage. Any property with a large increase or decrease in its rateable value will therefore come under the transitional relief scheme, which has the effect of phasing the valuation in over a period of time. If transitional relief applies to your rates bill, it will be applied automatically.

    Charity Relief

    If your property is used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes, you are automatically entitled to an 80% reduction of your bill (mandatory relief), though you will need to apply to the Council to make sure you receive it. In addition, the Council may award discretionary rate relief for all or part of the remaining 20% of the bill (discretionary relief). If the property is a charity shop, the property must be wholly or mainly used for the sale of goods donated to the charity and the proceeds must be applied to the purposes of the charity.

    If your organisation is not a charity but is another type of non-profit making organisation, you are not automatically entitled to relief, but the Council may award discretionary rate relief for all or part of the bill. To qualify, the organisation must be charitable, religious, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts, or the property must be used wholly or mainly for the purpose of recreation. If your business property is in a designated rural area, you may be able to claim rural rate relief. Application forms can be requested by telephoning the Business Rates section.

    Rural Rate Relief

    If your business is in a rural village with a population below 3000, and it is one of the following types of business:

    • The only village general store or post office, and the rateable value of the property is less than £8,500.
    • A food shop with a rateable value of less than £8,500. (Restaurants and take-away premises are not included).
    • The only village pub, or the only village petrol station with a rateable value of less than £12,500.

    The above premises are entitled to a 50% reduction in the Business Rates bill (mandatory relief), or more if the Council awards discretionary rate relief for all or part of the remaining 50% (discretionary relief).

    If you own a business with a rateable value of less than £16,500 situated in a qualifying rural village, the Council may decide to award up to 100% (discretionary) rate relief, as long as your business is of benefit to the community.

    Hardship Relief

    If you are suffering severe hardship and cannot pay your Business Rates bill the Council may decide to award up to 100% (discretionary) rate relief. The Council will only do this in extreme cases of hardship and for businesses which are particularly important to the local community. 

    Supporting Small Businesses

    In his 2017 Spring Budget the Chancellor announced this scheme to support small businesses. This scheme of relief made available to those ratepayers facing large increases as a result of the loss of rural rate and small business rate relief due to the revaluation.

    To support these ratepayers, the ‘Supporting Small Businesses’ relief will
    ensure that the increase per year is limited to the greater of:

    1. a percentage increase of 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 15% and 15% in 2017/18 to 2021/22 all plus inflation.  Unlike the transitional relief scheme, for the first year of the scheme the percentage increase is taken against the bill for 31 March 2017 after small business rate relief or rural rate relief; and
    2. a cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month).  This cash minimum increase ensures that those ratepayers paying nothing or very small amounts in 2016/17 after small business rate relief are brought into paying something

    Ratepayers remain in the Supporting Small Businesses relief scheme for either 5 years or until they reach the bill they would have paid without the scheme. 

    This relief has been automatically applied to eligible accounts and therefore there is no formal application process.

    Discretionary Rate Relief Policy

    Details of the current discretionary rate relief policy (pdf 432kb).

    How to Claim

    You can claim rate relief by writing to, or telephoning, the Business Rates section.


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