Overview of business rates

What are Business Rates?

The Non-Domestic Rates, or Business Rates, collected by local councils is the way that businesses and others 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, the Council keeps a proportion of the business rates paid locally.

The money that is retained is apportioned between the District Council, the County Council and the Fire Authority. This provides a direct financial incentive for the District Council and the County Council to work with local businesses to create a favourable environment for growth as they will both benefit from growth in business rates revenue. 

This money, together with revenue from council tax payers, revenue support grants provided by the Government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by your local council and other local authorities in your area.

For more information on business rates and how they are spent, download and read our business rates explanatory notes leaflet. [PDF]

How is your Business Rates bill calculated?

We work out the business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the multiplier or 'poundage'. 

Central Government sets the multipliers from 1 April each year for the whole of England. There are two multipliers. The small business non-domestic rating multiplier which is used for those properties with a rateable value below £51,000; and the non-domestic rating multiplier, paid by properties above those levels and which includes the supplement to pay for the small business rate relief scheme.

The Government normally changes the multiplier every year in line with inflation.

By law, the multiplier cannot go up by more than the rate of inflation, except in the year of a revaluation when it is set at a level which will keep the total amount raised in rates after the revaluation the same as before, plus inflation for that year.

From 1 April 2022 the standard multiplier is 51.2p with the Small Business Rate multiplier set at 49.9p

Valuation and rateable value

Apart from properties that are exempt from Business Rates, each non-domestic property is brought into the rating list and has a rateable value set to it.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of HM Revenues & Customs, values all non-domestic properties, draws up and maintains a full list of all rateable values, which are available on the Valuation Office Agency website.

We use the rateable value provided by the VOA to work out your business rates bill.

The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill.

The rateable value broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on 1 April 2017, this date was set as 1 April 2015.

The Valuation Officer may alter the value if circumstances change. 

Checking and challenging your rateable value

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 wrong. Go to the Valuation Office Agency's website Find and Check Your Business Rates Valuation page in order to:

  • request changes to property or valuation details if you think they’re wrong
  • view the valuation details of other properties
  • challenge the rateable value if eligible

You may choose to appoint an agent to carry out this work on your behalf.

If you choose to appoint an agent, you should be aware that there are a number of fraudulent Council Tax and Business Rates agents operating around the country. Someone may telephone you or appear at your door claiming to be able to reduce your Council Tax or Business Rates bill. You can find out how to avoid and report internet scams and phishing.

Until your check or challenge is processed, you should pay the full amount shown on your rate demand notice.

Any overpayment resulting from a subsequent reduction will be refunded and interest may be added to the refund. This applies only if payments have been made strictly in accordance with the regulations for the payment of Non-Domestic Rates.

Any reduction in your gross charge resulting from a successful challenge against your rateable value may lead to an equal loss in transitional relief. The amount you are required to pay therefore may not change until you no longer qualify for transitional relief.

For information on how properties are valued and the process of checking and/or challenging your valuation, contact your local Valuation Office by:

Telephone: 03000 501 501
 Valuation Office Agency, Rosebery Court, Central Avenue, St Andrews Business Park, Norwich NR7 0HS.

Billing authorities can only backdate any business rates rebate to the date from which any change to the list is to have effect.

The Valuation Office Agency will continue to fulfil their legal obligations to alter rating assessments if new information comes to light indicating the valuation is inaccurate.

Payment of business rate bills, is automatically set on a 10-monthly 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 our business rates team as soon as possible.

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.

Every 5 years the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) gives all non-domestic (business) properties new ratable values, so local authorities can work out the business rates.

The new ratable values will broadly reflect the yearly open-market rental value of each property.

The purpose of the revaluation is not to change the amount of money collected in rates nationally, but to make sure that individual ratable values reflect the changes that have taken place in the property market since the last revaluation.

Whilst the 2017 revaluation will not increase the amount of rates collected nationally, within this overall picture, over 7 out of 10 ratepayers will receive a reduction or no change in their bill and some ratepayers will see increases.

For those that would otherwise see significant increases in their rates liability, the Government has put in place a £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme to limit and phase in changes to rate bills as a result of the 2017 revaluation.

To help pay for the limits on increases to bills, there also have to be limits on reductions in bills.

Under the transitional scheme, limits continue to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount is due (rateable value times the appropriate multiplier).

The scheme applies only to the bill based on a property at the time of the revaluation. If there are any changes to the property after 1st April 2017, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of a bill that relates to any increase in rateable value due to those changes.

Changes to your bill as a result of other reasons (such as changes to the amount of small business rate relief) are not covered by the transitional arrangements. The transitional arrangements are applied automatically and are shown on the front of your bill. 

It is important to realise that any reduction in the gross charge arising from a successful appeal against your rateable value may lead to an equal loss in your transitional relief award. Consequently the amount you pay may remain the same until you no longer qualify for transitional relief

Contact our Business Rates Team for more information about the transitional arrangements or visit the Business rates section on the Government website.


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