Key information about your Business Rates bill

Non-Domestic Rates, or Business Rates, collected by local authorities is the way that those who occupy non-domestic property make a contribution towards the cost of local services. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced on 1 April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This money, together with revenue from council tax payers, revenue support grant provided by the Government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by local authorities in your area. Further information about the business rates system, including transitional and other reliefs may be obtained at gov.uk.

To find out more about how the money you pay is spent locally, please visit the following websites:

If you do not have access to the internet and would like a copy of this information, please contact us using the details on your bill.

Payment of business rate bills is automatically set on a 10-month cycle. However, the Government has put in place regulations that allow businesses to require their local authority to enable payments to be made through 12 monthly instalments. If you wish to take up this offer, you should contact your local authority as soon as possible. Contact details are shown on your bill.

Depending on individual circumstances, a ratepayer may be eligible for a rate relief (for example, a reduction in your business rates bill).

There are a range of available reliefs. Some of the permanent reliefs are set out below, but temporary reliefs are often introduced by the Government at Budgets. You should contact your local authority for details on the latest availability of business rates reliefs and advice on whether you may qualify. View our business rates section for further details on reliefs or the gov.uk website

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the club, and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the
purposes of the club (or of that and other clubs). Your local authority has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Full details can be obtained from your local authority.

The local authority has discretion to give hardship relief in specific circumstances. Full details can be obtained from your local authority.

Local authorities have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts and to give hardship relief in specific circumstances. View our business rates section for further information.

The Government is providing £300 million of funding to local authorities over 4 years to 31 March 2021 to provide discounts to ratepayers in their area on a discretionary basis. Each authority has been allocated a share with which to design and implement a scheme to deliver targeted support to ratepayers.

The £300m will cover the four years from 2017/18: £175m in 2017/18, £85m in 2018/19, £35m in 2019/20 and £5m in 2020/21. View local authority allocations.

This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Please contact us for further information.

The local authority works out the business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the multiplier. There are two multipliers which are the standard non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The former is higher to pay for small-business rate relief. The Government sets the multipliers for each financial year, except in the City of London where special arrangements apply. The multiplier for a financial year is based on the previous year’s multiplier, adjusted to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figure for the September prior to the billing year. The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999, (and who are not entitled to certain other mandatory relief(s) or are liable for unoccupied property rates) will have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the national nondomestic rating multiplier.

A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short period, the local authority has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Full details can be obtained from your local authority.

The Government is providing funding for local authorities to provide a £1000 discount to pubs with a rateable value below £100,000.

This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Please contact us for further information.

Certain types of properties in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000 may be entitled to relief. The property must be the only general store, the only post office or a food shop with a rateable value of less than £8,500 or the only public house or the only petrol station and have a rateable value of less than £12,500. The property has to be occupied. An eligible ratepayer is entitled to relief at 100% of the full charge.

Apart from properties that are exempt from Business Rates, each non-domestic assessment has a rateable value which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an Agency of HM Revenues and Customs. The gov.uk website has a full list of all rateable values. The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the current rating list, this date was set as 1 April 2015.

The Valuation Office Agency may alter the value if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can also check and challenge the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Further information about the grounds on which challenges may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the VOA website.

Your billing authority can only backdate any amendment from the date from which any change to the list is to have effect.

Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV) are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a rating advisor, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract

The Government has extended funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 to office space occupied by local newspapers. This relief commenced 1 April 2017, and has now been extended to 31 March 2025.

This is up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits. The relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988) Eligibility criteria for this relief is set out in a guidance note: The case for business rates relief for local newspapers.

From 1 April 2019, the Government introduced a discount for occupied retail properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000, of one third of the bill, after mandatory relief. For 2020/21, the Government has increased this discount to 50%.

Visit our business rates reliefs and exemptions for further details.

All non-domestic property rateable values are reassessed at revaluation. The most recent revaluation took effect from 1 April 2017. Revaluations ensure that business rates bills are up to date and more accurately reflect current rental values and relative changes in rents. Frequent revaluations ensure the system continues to be responsive to changing economic conditions.

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 (and who are not entitled to other mandatory relief or are liable for unoccupied property rates) will have their bills calculated using the lower small business nondomestic rating multiplier, rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier. In addition, generally, if the sole or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value which does not exceed £15,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 100%. For a property with a rateable value of not more than £12,000, the
ratepayer will receive a 100% reduction in their rates bill.

Generally, this percentage reduction (relief) is only available to ratepayers who occupy either:

  • one property, or
  • one main property and other additional properties, providing
    those additional properties each have a rateable value which does
    not exceed £2,899.

The rateable value of the property mentioned above, must not exceed £19,999 outside London or £27,999 in London on each day for which relief is sought. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable value, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase. For those business that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, the Government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.

Where a ratepayer meets the eligibility criteria and has not received the relief they should contact their local authority. Provided the ratepayer continues to satisfy the conditions for relief which apply at the relevant time as regards the property and the
ratepayer, they will automatically continue to receive relief in each new valuation period.

Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the local authority by a ratepayer who is in receipt of relief (other changes will be picked up by a local authority). The changes which should be notified are:

  • The property falls vacant
  • The ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property
  • An increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted the relief.

The award of such discounts is considered likely to amount to state aid. However, it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407 / 2013. The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 ‘de minimis’ aid over a rolling three year period. If you are receiving, or have received, any 'de minimis' aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), you should inform the council immediately with details of the aid received.

Ratepayers losing Small Business Rate Relief as a result of the 2017 revaluation will have their increases limited to the greater of either a cash value of £600 per year or the matching cap on increases for small properties in the transitional relief scheme. Those that qualify will have their bill adjusted automatically.

At a revaluation, some ratepayers will see reductions or no change in their bills, whereas some ratepayers will see increases.

Transitional relief schemes are introduced at each revaluation to help those facing increases. This relief is funded by limiting the reduction in bills for those that have benefitted from the revaluation. Transitional relief is applied automatically to bills. Further information may be obtained from your local authority or on the gov.uk website.

Business rates are generally payable in respect of unoccupied non-domestic property. However, they are generally not payable for the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order. In most cases the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate. Full details can be obtained from gov.uk's apply for business rate relief

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