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 non-domestic 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 2013/14 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)
- Rateable value £12,000 to £17,999 - reduced multiplier only
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 have any queries about the relief, please contact: email@example.com
To apply for small business rate relief, please complete the small business rate relief application form.
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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.
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.
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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Retail rate relief
Starting from 1 April 2014, a retail relief has been introduced by the Government for 2014/15 and 2015/16.
Properties that will benefit from the retail relief will be occupied properties with a rateable value of £50,000 or less, that are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafés and drinking establishments.
Types of properties that qualify for retail rate relief
The Government considers shops, restaurants, cafés and drinking establishments to mean:
1. Properties that are being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public:
- Shops (such as florists, bakers, butchers, off licence, stationers, jewellers, chemists, hardware stores, supermarkets)
- Charity shops
- Post offices
- Furnishing shops or display rooms (such as carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
- Second hand car lots
- Petrol stations
- Garden centres
- Art galleries (where art is for sale or hire)
2. Properties that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:
- Hair and beauty services (such as hair dressers, nail bars, tanning shops)
- Shoe repairs or key cutting
- Travel agents
- Ticket offices (for example for theatre)
- Dry cleaners
- PC, TV or domestic appliance repairs
- Funeral directors
- Photo processing
- DVD or video rentals
- Tool hire
- Car hire
3. Properties that are being used for the sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public:
- Sandwich shops
- Coffee shops
To qualify, the property should be wholly or mainly used as shown above, this is a test on use rather than occupation. Therefore, properties which are occupied but not wholly or mainly used for a qualifying purpose will not qualify for the relief.
Types of properties that are not considered to be retail use for the purposes of retail rate relief
The list below shows some uses that are not considered to be retail use for the purposes of this relief.
1. Properties that are used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:
- Financial services (banks, building societies, cash points, bureau de change, payday lenders, betting shops, pawn brokers)
- Other services (estate agents, letting agents, employment agencies)
- Medical services (vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
- Professional services (solicitors, accountants, insurance agents, financial advisors, tutors)
- Post office sorting office
2. Properties that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public
Amount of relief available
The amount of relief available for each property is up to £1,000 a year for 2014/15 and 2015/16. The amount does not vary with the rateable value of the property and there is no taper. There is no relief available for properties with a rateable value over £50,000.
The eligibility for the relief and the relief itself is assessed and calculated on a daily basis. The retail relief will be applied against the net bill after all other reliefs have been applied. The retail relief applied is up to £1,000 and the amount granted will not exceed the net rate liability.
You can have this relief on more than one property, subject to State Aid De Minimis Regulations. For further information see the State Aid page on the GOV.UK website.
For further information about retail rate relief see the Department for Communities and Local Government guidance on retail rate relief.
For further enquiries please contact the business rates section on 01432 260373 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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