Business rates FAQs
How do I apply for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR)?
Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) is a mandatory relief, which means the local authority is required by law to apply them, providing the qualifying criteria are satisfied. The qualifying criteria can be found on our website. Please note that an application form will need to be completed to help us ensure that the qualifying criteria are satisfied. Please complete the Contact Us form to request an application form.
I wish to pay by direct debit. How do I set one up?
This is our preferred method of payment. We offer a choice of the 1st or 15th of the month as payment dates for this collection method. To obtain a direct debit mandate for completion please use the Contact Us form. Alternatively, you can complete the Contact Us form with the details (sort code, bank account number and name account is held in) you wish us to use, we will then set up the direct debit and advise when this has been completed.
What information do I need to provide to register for business rates?
If your business is moving into a new/different property in our area, please use the contact us form to provide the following:
- The full name of your business – if you are a sole proprietor, this will be your name and any trading name; for a partnership, this will be the names of ALL the partners and any trading name; and for limited companies, this will be the name of the company as registered at Companies House along with confirmation of the registration number;
- The full postal address of the property you are moving to;
- The exact date your tenancy agreement began or the date the sale was completed (as appropriate). Please provide a copy of the tenancy agreement, if available;
- If the property was not occupied immediately, please confirm the date that items were moved into the property;
- Your contact details.
I wish to close my account. What information do I need to provide?
If you are moving out of a property, please use the contact us form to provide the following:
- The exact date your business is vacating the property;
- The exact date the tenancy agreement ends or the completion date of the sale (as appropriate). If this date is different from the date the property is vacated, please provide dated photographs of the inside and outside of the property to show it has been completely emptied;
- The name and address of the landlord or new owner (as appropriate); and
- A forwarding address/contact details to enable us to finalise your account.
How do I obtain a refund?
If we have advised you that there is a credit on your business rates account, you can apply for a refund. Refunds are made via the BACS system. To make the refund via the BACS system, we will require the bank account details of the entity the business rates are held in: sort code, bank account number, and name as shown on the bank account. Please provide these details via the Contact Us form.
Please note if the account is paid by direct debit, any credit will automatically be returned to the account the direct debit is collected from.
How do I set up an online account?
You can request to receive your business rates bills electronically and view your account online by registering for an online account. Sign up to our OPENPortal service.
Please note: as only one access is available per business rates account, we would recommend that a generic company email is used, for example, admin@... or accounts@... The online account is password protected so your business will be able to authorise appropriate members of staff to access the account.
I would like a copy bill
The best way to obtain a copy bill is to set up an online account, you will then have access to this function – If you are not sure how to set up an online account then you can find out how do I set up an online account?
Business Rates are a yearly charge which are normally paid in ten instalments starting in April. We send you an annual bill in March each year showing your monthly payment dates and instalment amounts. If your Business Rates change, we will send you an adjusted bill. Payment should be made in accordance with the instalments listed on your latest bill.
If you do not pay an instalment on time, you will be sent a reminder notice. If you pay the arrears on the reminder notice within seven days your instalments will continue as scheduled. If you do not comply with the reminder notice a Summons will be issued without further notice and costs will be incurred.
The Summons will give you at least 2 weeks' notice that you are to appear before the Justices at Cambridge Magistrates' Court. The Summons will carry costs of £90. If you pay the amount in full including the costs before the court hearing, the proceedings will be withdrawn.
At the court hearing, the Council will apply for a Liability Order. If granted, the Magistrates will have decided that you are liable to pay the Business rates for which you have been billed. The liability order enables the Council to recover the money owed.
What reliefs and exemptions might I be entitled to and how do I apply?
We offer a number of different Discretionary Reliefs (meaning they are applied using the local authorities’ discretion). A full list of the reliefs and exemptions available, along with qualifying criteria and how they are administered, can be found in our Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy. [PDF, 0.5MB] [PDF] Please complete the Contact Us form if you wish to apply for one of these reliefs or exemptions
Who are the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and what do they do?
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is a government body in England and Wales. It is an executive agency of His Majesty's Revenue and Customs. The agency values properties for the purpose of Council Tax and for National Non-Domestic Rates (Business Rates) in England and Wales. It sets the rateable value of all non-domestic properties in England and Wales. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can check and/or challenge the value shown for free if they believe it is incorrect by going to the Valuation Office Agency's website Find and Check Your Business Rates Valuation page.
Please note: The VOA is a separate organisation to South Cambridgeshire District Council, who are the Billing Authority for business rates and responsible for the billing and collection of the business rates set.
What is Revaluation?
Revaluation is when the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) adjusts the rateable value of business properties to reflect changes in the property market.
The most recent revaluation came into effect in England and Wales on 1 April 2017, based on rateable values from 1 April 2015.
The next revaluation will come into effect on 1 April 2023, based on rateable values from 1 April 2021.