Business rates relief and reductions

How can I reduce my business rates?

Small Business Rate Relief

You may qualify for a reduction in the amount of business rates you pay if the rateable value of your business property is less than £12,000.

There are changes to SBRR for those who are taking on a second property. In previous years, if you took on a second property with a rateable value of more than £2,599, you would no longer qualify for SBRR. You will now be entitled to receive SBRR on your first property for another 12 months, even if you take on a second property, from the date of occupation of that second property.

When applying for SBRR please note this reduction can only be applied to one account.

Find out how to apply for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) .

The government of 2010 temporarily doubled SBRR entitlements from 1 October 2010, and subsequent governments have continued with the doubling of this discount and this will continue in 2016/2017 and will now continue until 31 March 2017.

The Government has also announced in the 2016 Spring budget that from 1 April 2017, SBRR may be permanently doubled and the thresholds will increase to benefit a greater number of businesses. Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £12,000 and below will receive 100% relief. Businesses with a property with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 will receive tapered relief. However, please note that the Valuation Office Agency is currently re-assessing all rateable values, with the revaluation taking effect 1 April 2017.

Further information on rateable values can be found at The Valuation Office Agency.

Although currently businesses have to apply for small business rate relief, the council supports the Federation of Small Businesses' rate relief campaign which is calling for small business rate relief to be granted automatically.

Empty Rates

Shops and offices are exempt from rates for the first three months after the property becomes empty. After this period full rates become payable.

Industrial properties are exempt from rates for the first six months after the property becomes empty. After this period full rates will become payable.

Some properties are exempt from empty property rates.

  • properties with a rateable value under £2,600* (*in 2010/11 the threshold was £18,000; this change has been made by the government)
  • empty properties of companies in administration or liquidation
  • listed buildings

Please note that the above is intended as a guide only, it is not a definitive statement of law. Further information is available from the council's Business Rates Team on 01273 291981 and the Valuation Office Agency's business rate pages.

Charities and discretionary relief

Charities are entitled to 80% relief from the rates on properties that are wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.  Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are also eligible to claim mandatory relief of 80%.  The council can grant the additional 20% at its discretion. Where relief is applied, then the charge is calculated on the standard multiplier.

The council can also grant 100% discretionary relief for a property if it is occupied by an organisation that is not established or conducted for profit.

For further details please contact the Business Rates team on 01273 291981.

Retail Relief

Support for retail businesses occupying properties that have Rateable Values (RV) up to £50,000. This award was automatically applied to existing businesses at annual billing.

From 1 April 2014 there was an automatic £1,000 discount on shops, restaurants, cafes, bars or clubs that have a rateable value of £50,000 or less.

For 2015/2016 the government increased the discount up to £1,500. This discount will not continue in 2016/2017 tax year.

For further details please refer to the Retail Relief page.

If this award has not been applied to your business premises and you think your premises should have qualified for this award, please contact the Business Rates team on 01273 291981.

Government Reoccupation Relief

This is discount for those who occupy retail properties that have been empty for at least one year. These properties will attract a 50% discount for up to 18 months, between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016 for properties previously used for retail. This relief is not ongoing into 2016/2017 tax year,but can be applied for retrospectively within the qualifying periods,up until 30 September 2016.

For further details please refer to the Government Reoccupation Relief page.

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