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Business rates

Herefordshire Council has a legal duty to collect business rates. Of the money collected 50% is paid to central government, 1% to the Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority and 49% is retained by Herefordshire Council.

Herefordshire Council does not control the amount of rates payable by businesses and the level of rates paid is not linked to the level of services businesses receive.

You can check the rateable value of any property on the Valuation Office website.

You can manage your account online.

How is my business rates bill calculated?

Larger businesses (rateable value £18,000 or over)

To calculate a business rates bill, the rateable value is multiplied by the national multiplier. This is set by central government each year.

For the financial year 2016/17 it is £0.497 pence in the pound.

Therefore if your rateable value is £20000 your business rates bill would be £9940.

Small business rate relief multiplier (less than £18,000)

Small businesses whose rateable value is less than £18,000 and who qualify for small business rate relief are charged rates using a lower multiplier.

For 2016/17 the lower multiplier is £0.484 pence in the pound. 

Therefore, if you qualify for small business rate relief and your rateable value is £12000 your full rates would be £5808.

For a more detailed explanation of small business rate relief please view Can I get relief on my business rates? 

What are transitional arrangements for business rates?

Rateable values are revalued nationally every five years and can increase or decrease significantly between revaluations. The last revaluation came into force on 1 April 2010 and the next one will be 2017. The revaluations are carried out by the Valuation Office Agency based within the Inland Revenue. 

To protect ratepayers, changes in the rates bills can be phased in over a period of time. These are called transitional arrangements.

Different transitional arrangements apply depending on whether your bill has increased or decreased, and whether your business is small or large.

Small businesses have a rateable value of less than £18,000, and large businesses have a rateable value of over £18,000.

Transitional arrangements are based on the change in your rates bill from 2009/10 to the rates bill for 2010/11.

The table below shows the proposed limits for any rates bill increase in a single year.

YearSmall businessLarge business
2010/11 5% 12.5%
2011/12 7.5% 17.5%
2012/13 10% 20%
2013/14 15% 25%
2014/15 15% 25%

The table below shows the proposed limits for any rates bill decrease in a single year.

YearSmall businessLarge business
2010/11 -20% -4.60%
2011/12 -30% -6.70%
2012/13 -35% -7.00%
2013/14 -55% -13.00%
2014/15 -55% -13.00%

We automatically calculate your transitional arrangements. If you qualify, this is shown on your bill.

How do I pay my business rates?

Paying by direct debit

The easiest way to pay your business rates is by direct debit. You will always be told about any changes and you can cancel it at any time. You are guaranteed an immediate refund of any payment which breaks the terms of your instruction.

You can set up direct debit payments by calling us on 01432 260373. You can also download a direct debit instruction. After completing it with your bank details, please send it to our offices.

By credit card

You can pay by credit card. There is a 1.6% surcharge. 

Pay your bill online 

Pay by calling 01432 260360.  

You will need your eight digit reference number. This is on the top right corner of your bill.

Pay online

You can use your debit card to pay with our online payments service.

Pay by telephone

You can pay us at any time on our 24-hour payment line, by calling Allpay on 0844 557 8321. Please quote the 19-digit number on the front of your bill - it is beneath the bar code.

You need a debit card to pay by telephone.

Pay at the Post Office

You can pay at any Post Office free of charge. Find your nearest Post Office.

Please take your bill with you, so that the Post Office can scan the barcode.

Pay with PayPoint

You can pay free of charge anywhere that you see the PayPoint sign. Please take your bill with you, so that they can scan the barcode.

Pay by BACS or faster payment

If you wish to pay by BACS or faster payment from your bank you can do so. Please use the bank account details below ensuring you quote your 8-digit account reference number on all payments made to ensure they are allocated against your account. (You can find the 8-digit account reference number in the top right hand corner of the bill, below the 'Date of issue'.)

  • Sort code:          53-50-41
  • Account no:       10313443

What if I have problems paying my business rates?

If you have problems paying your business rates, contact us immediately on:

We will be able to check that you are receiving all reliefs that you are entitled to.

What happens if I don't pay my business rates?

If you don't pay your business rates on time we will send you a reminder.

If you fail to bring your account up to date within seven days, or fall behind a second time, we will send you a final notice. This means you have lost the right to pay by instalments and all of your business rates for the year must be paid immediately.

If you do not pay after you receive a final notice, you will be sent a summons to the Magistrates Court. You will be charged £85 costs for the issue of the summons.

If you receive a summons and would like to make an arrangement to pay your business rates before the court hearing, contact the Recovery Section on 01432 260380.

If we issue a summons, we will apply for a liability order which will help us to collect the money you owe. The order gives us the power to recover the money you owe by:

  • Sending bailiffs to your property
  • Declaring you bankrupt or insolvent
  • Sending you to prison

Unless the summons is served incorrectly, the only defence against the granting of a liability order is to pay the full charge including costs.

If you receive a summons but do not have a valid defence and cannot pay in full as required, you do not need to attend the hearing. The liability order will be granted in your absence. Instead, contact us immediately.

How do I appeal against my business rates bill?

All non-domestic property has a rateable value set by the Valuation Office, unless it is exempt. Exempt properties include churches, public parks, agricultural land and buildings.

The Valuation Office draws up, and maintains, a full list of all rateable values. Revaluations are carried out every five years. The rateable value broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. On 1 April 2010 a new rating list came into force and the valuation date was set as 1 April 2008.

If you wish to check your rateable value or that of any other property, visit the Valuation Office website

Rateable value appeals

The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can appeal against the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Further information on the grounds for making an appeal, and on how to make one, can be found in the Valuation Office's Business rates - getting professional advice leaflet.

Business rates is a national scheme devised by central government over which local councils have very little discretion.

To find out more information about making an appeal, visit the appeals page of the Valuation Office website.

Can I get relief on my business rates?

There are several kinds of relief for business rates payers:

Small business relief

Some ratepayers are eligible for relief on the grounds that they are a small business. 

You will be classed as a small business if:

  • You have only one property*, in England, on which you are liable (wholly or jointly) for the payment of business rates
  • The rateable value of that property is £17,999 or less and remains below £18,000 throughout the financial year and
  • The property is occupied and you are not entitled to claim any other mandatory relief

* If you do pay rates on other properties they will be disregarded if their rateable value is £2,599 or lower, provided that the total of all properties' rateable values is £18,000 or less.

If you qualify, you will have your rates calculated using a lower multiplier. Visit the how business rates are calculated page for further details.

Properties with a rateable value of less than £12,000 will receive additional relief depending on the rateable value of the property, as shown below:

For the 2016/17 financial year

  • Rateable value £1 to £5,999 - 100 per cent relief
  • Rateable value £6,000 to £11,999 - relief reducing from 100 per cent to 0.01 per cent (2 per cent for every £120 above £6,000) as listed below
  • Rateable value £12,000 to £17,999 - reduced multiplier only
Rateable value% Reduction up to 1.10.10% Reduction from 1.10.10
6000 50 100
6120 49 98
6240 48 96
6360 47 94
6480 46 92
6600 45 90
6720 44 88
6840 43 86
6960 42 84
7080 41 82
7200 40 80
7320 39 78
7440 38 76
7560 37 74
7680 36 72
7800 35 70
7920 34 68
8040 33 66
8160 32 64
8280 31 62
8400 30 60
8520 29 58
8640 28 56
8760 27 54
8880 26 52
9000 25 50
9120 24 48
9240 23 46
9360 22 44
9480 21 42
9600 20 40
9720 19 38
9840 18 36
9960 17 34
10080 16 32
10200 15 30
10320 14 28
10440 13 26
10560 12 24
10680 11 22
10800 10 20
10920 9 18
11040 8 16
11160 7 14
11280 6 12
11400 5 10
11520 4 8
11640 3 6
11760 2 4
11880 1 2
12000 0 0

If the criteria are satisfied where a ratepayer has more than one property, small business rate relief can only be applied to one property.

If you take on additional property valued at £2,600 or more, you would normally lose your SBRR. However the Government has introduced additional support to small businesses, so that if you take on an additional property on or after 14 February 2014, you will be allowed to keep your SBRR on your existing property for 12 months.

If you have any queries about the relief, please contact:

To apply for small business rate relief, please complete the small business rate relief application form.

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Hardship relief

Section 49 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 allows a local authority to reduce or remit the whole or part of the rates payable by the ratepayer provided that:

the ratepayer would sustain hardship if the authority did not do so


it is reasonable for the authority to do so having regard to the interests of persons subject to council tax. 

Central government has given the following guidance on hardship as follows:

  • Although authorities may adopt rules for consideration of hardship cases, a blanket policy either to give or not to give relief should not be adopted; each case should be considered on its own merits
  • Reduction or remission of rates on grounds of hardship should be the exception rather than the rule
  • The test of hardship need not be confined strictly to financial hardship. All relevant factors affecting the ability of a business to meet its liabilities for rates should be taken into account
  • The interests of local taxpayers in an area may go wider than direct financial interests, for example where the employment prospects in the area would be worsened by a company going out of business, or the amenities of an area might be reduced by, for instance, the loss of the only shop in the village; and
  • Where the granting of relief would have an adverse effect on the financial interests of local taxpayers, the case for a reduction or remission of rates payable may still on balance outweigh the cost to the local taxpayers

In addition, the Secretary of State advised that hardship could apply to companies as well as individuals.

For further details please refer to the council’s current Discretionary Rate Relief policy. For the 2016/17 year the council’s policy dated 2015/16 will remain in place. 

To apply for hardship relief, please complete the hardship relief application form.

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Rural rate relief

If your business is in a rural village with a small population, you may qualify for rate relief of 50 per cent.

Your business qualifies for rural rate relief if it is:

  • The only general store or post office in the village, and has a rateable value of up to £8,500
  • A food shop with a rateable value of up to £8,500
  • The only pub or petrol station in the village, and has a rateable value of up to £12,500

We can give up to 100 per cent relief on the above categories or any other property with a rateable value up to £16,500 in such villages. The decision is at our discretion and is based on the benefits to the community and council tax payers.

For further details please refer to the council’s current Discretionary Rate Relief policy. For the 2016/17 year the council’s policy dated 2015/16 will remain in place. 

To apply for rural rate relief, download the rural rate relief application form. You can download a list of eligible villages.

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Do I have to pay business rates on a holiday home?

If you make your holiday home available for letting more than 140 days per year, you will be charged business rates even if nobody rents it from you.

If you make your holiday home available for less than 140 days per year, you will be charged 100 per cent council tax as a second home.

Do I have to pay business rates on bed and breakfast accommodation?

If you provide bed and breakfast accommodation in your own home for more than six people at a time, you will be charged business rates.

Double rooms count as accommodating two people and single rooms as one person.

If you offer bed and breakfast to six people or fewer, and the main use of your property is as a residence, you will only be charged council tax.

Does a charity have to pay business rates?

Registered charities automatically get an 80 per cent reduction in their rates bill if the property is used for charitable purposes. 

Registered community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) are also entitled to 80 per cent relief on any non-domestic property that is mainly used for the purposes of that club.

We also have the discretion to reduce the bill even further.

For further details please refer to the council’s current Discretionary Rate Relief policy. For the 2016/17 year the council’s policy dated 2015/16 will remain in place. 

We may also reduce the rates bills of some other not-for-profit bodies. These include not-for-profit recreational clubs and organisations concerned with:

  • Education
  • Social welfare
  • Science
  • Literature
  • Fine arts

Application form for rate relief for charities and non profit making bodies

Do I have to pay business rates on an unoccupied property?

If your business premises have been empty for more than three months, full business rates are payable. Industrial and warehouse property may remain empty for six months before rates become payable.

We may exempt unoccupied property from business rates if:

  • The owner of the property is prohibited by law from occupying the property
  • The property is a listed building
  • The rateable value is less than £2,600 
  • The owner is in administration or liquidation

The Council does not have the authority to negate the rates charge whilst a property is empty. If your property is undergoing substantial renovation works or is in a state of disrepair and you feel that it should be removed from the rating list please contact the Valuation Office Agency on 03000 501501.

Do I have to pay business rates if I work from home?

If part of your home is clearly a business and not a dwelling, you may have to pay council tax on the part you use as a home and pay business rates on the part of your property which is used for commercial purposes. 

The Valuation Office makes the decision if part of a home should be liable for business rates. To find out more, contact them on 03000 501501 or visit the Valuation Office website.

Business rates - budget information 2016/17

Of the business rate income collected throughout Herefordshire:

  • The council retains 49%
  • 1% is paid to the fire and rescue authority
  • 50% is paid to central government

The council's share of this income equates to approximately £23m per year which represents 15.5% of the council's net budget requirement of £148m.

For a detailed breakdown of how the net budget is spent please view agenda item 53 for the Council meeting on 5 February 2016.

Can't find what you're looking for?

You can contact us regarding business rates in the following ways:

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