Business rates (NNDR) ~ popular questions


What are National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR) / Business Rates?

National Non-Domestic Rates are a statutory tax levied by central government on those responsible for commercial property. National Non-Domestic Rates are also referred to as Business Rates. They are the equivalent of Council Tax for non-domestic properties.


How can I pay my National Non-Domestic Rates?

We accept payment by various methods, please visit our payment page for more details.


My premises are empty, is there an exemption from charges?

If your premises become vacant, you may be eligible to an exemption from rates charges for up to three or six months. Commercial premises are entitled to three months exemption, after which full rates are payable. Premises which are classed as industrial, such as warehouses and factories are entitled to six months exemption, after which full rates are payable.

From 1 April 2017 all vacant premises with a rateable value of less than £2,900 are exempt from paying empty property rates. (For 2010/11 the threshold was £18,000, however was been changed by the Government for 2011/12 onwards to £2,600 until 31 March 2017.)

If your property is a listed building you will not have to have pay business rates while the property is vacant.

Unoccupied properties that were newly completed before 30 September 2016 will be exempt from Business Rates for up to 18 months (up to state aid limits). The 18 month period includes the initial three or six month exemption mentioned above. 


What do my National Non-Domestic Rates pay for?

From 1 April 2013, along with all other Local Authorities, Brighton & Hove City Council will receive less Government grant but will keep about half of the Business Rates we collect locally providing a financial incentive to improve the local economy. The remainder will continue to go to Central Government for re-allocation to Local Authorities through various grants. Central Government will continue to set the amount of rates you must pay each year.

Part of the money is used to fund services and amenities nationally. Some of the money kept by the local authority will go to pay for local services such as the Police and Fire services. Collection of commercial waste is not covered by National Non-Domestic Rates charges. However, the council now offers a commercial waste collection service offering competitive pricing and flexible solutions with no hidden costs.


How do I apply for Small Business Rate Relief?

See the small business rate relief page for the application form to download information about relief which may be available.


How can I find out the rateable value of my premises or other premises in Brighton and Hove?

The rateable values of all commercial properties in Brighton and Hove are available by either contacting the Business Rates department on 01273 291981 or by looking on the Valuation Office website.


How can I dispute the rateable value of my premises?

The rateable values of properties in Brighton and Hove are set by the Valuation Office. You can write to the Valuation Office at their district headquarters in Eastbourne or you can submit your dispute by emailing

You must maintain your rates payment whilst in the process of appealing with the Valuation Office.

If your appeal is successful you may be entitled to a credit refund and interest for any overpayments not subject to recovery action. 

      The Valuation Office

      St Anne's House
      2 St Anne's Road
      Eastbourne BN21 3XX
      Tel:  03000 501501
      Fax: 03000 501506


Do we have to pay National Non-Domestic Rates if we are a charity?

Charitable organisations can be entitled to mandatory charitable relief which equates to an 80 per cent discount on rates charges. If you wish to apply for mandatory relief you will need to provide the registered charity number from the Charities Commission and demonstrate that the premises are used for charitable purposes.

There are also concessions available for ‘not -for-profit’organisations ‘not -for-profit’ organisations and ‘Community Amateur Sports Clubs’(CASCs). Please contact the Business Rates team on 01273 291981 to discuss eligibility for additional relief and to request an application form.


Why do I have to pay Rates for my beach hut/chalet?

Businesses and other occupiers of non-domestic properties pay Business Rates to directly contribute towards the costs of local authority services. Council Tax is payable for domestic property, and Business Rates are payable for just about everything else – from offices and shops to beach huts and advertising hoardings.

If your beach hut or chalet is your only non-domestic property, you will currently be entitled to a 100% discount off the full liability – see small business rate relief for details.


What happens if I do not pay my National Non-Domestic Rates?

National Non-Domestic Rates are a tax and therefore if you fail to make payments in accordance with your payment schedule the local authority is obliged to take recovery action.

A reminder will normally be sent within 12 days of a late payment. If no payment is received within seven days of the reminder, a Summons for the full rates charges for the year can be issued through the Magistrates’ Court.

The Summons removes the right of the ratepayer to pay by instalments and there is a charge levied. If you do not pay after receiving the Summons, the Council will apply for a Liability Order through the Court and the debt can be passed to the enforcement agents for collection.

It is important to contact the Business Rates Team if you receive a Summons or Liability Order as there may be the option of a repayment plan. The team will also be able to advise if there is any additional relief or discounts that you are able to claim. 

If you do not pay your bill after receiving the Liability Order, the Council can apply for insolvency action. The final stage will be a committal hearing at Court which can result in a custodial sentence.


Where can I go for additional information and advice about running a business in Brighton and Hove?

Information and advice regarding running a business is available at or by calling 08450 600 9 006.  

The Economic Development Department based at Kings House offers assistance to sole traders and companies in the city by providing a variety of services. You can contact this department by e-mailing