This page gives you information about how you can apply for business rate reductions.
Empty business premises
If you are a leaseholder or own an empty property, you are liable to pay rates on that property.
You will not have to pay business rates for the first three months after the property becomes empty. In the case of certain industrial properties such as factories or workshops, it is six months.
The exemption starts from the date the property first becomes empty. If you buy or lease a property that is already unoccupied, the exemption does not start again when you get it. The empty property must be occupied for at least six weeks before another three or six-month exemption can begin.
After the initial exemption, rates are payable in full unless
- the rateable value of the property is under £2,900
- the property is a Grade I or Grade II listed building
- the Valuation Office Agency removes the property from the rating list
- the occupation of the property is prohibited by law
- action is taken by the Crown or any local or public authority to prohibit occupation of the property or to acquire it
Or if the person entitled to possession of the property is acting in their capacity as a personal representative of a deceased person, a liquidator, an administrator or as a trustee under a deed of arrangement or is subject of bankruptcy proceedings up to the date the property is sold or the lease is disclaimed by the Official Receiver or the insolvency practitioner.
Properties that are owned by charities and communities such as amateur sports clubs are not liable to pay empty property rates. This includes if the property’s next use will be mainly for charitable purposes or for the purposes of a sports club,
Partly occupied properties
The full rate will usually be applied for properties that are partially occupied.
However, where a property is partly occupied for a short time, we can use our discretion in certain cases and award relief in respect of the unoccupied part by apportioning or splitting the rateable value between the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property.
To qualify for this reduction, both the occupied and unoccupied parts must be in the possession of the same person or company.
Please contact us if you think you may qualify for this reduction.
Please note that we may visit and inspect your property. If you do qualify for the relief, we will request a certificate from the Valuation Office Agency to confirm the temporary split.
Charities and community amateur sports clubs (CASC)
Charities and registered community amateur sports clubs can apply for charitable relief, which can reduce the bill by 80%
The property must be
- occupied by the charity or the club
- wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity
- used by other charities
- used for the purposes of the club or of that and other clubs
To apply for these reliefs, you generally need to be registered either as a charity on the Charity Commission website or as a CASC on the HMRC website.
You can apply by completing and returning a rate relief application form.
Other non-profit organisations
Discretionary relief can be granted for up to 100% of the rates charged to certain non-profit making bodies.
To be eligible, the organisation must be a non-profit making body and the property used for charitable, philanthropic or religious purposes, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts, or used wholly or mainly for recreation by a not-for-profit club or society (i.e. objectives which are broadly charitable).
Charities and community amateur sports clubs can also apply for this relief as a top-up to the 80% reduction. Please see above.
You can apply by completing and returning a Rate Relief application form.
Small business rate relief
You can get this relief if you only occupy one business property in England and that property has a rateable value (RV) of less than £15,000. The relief does not apply to empty properties.
From 1 April 2017, you will get 100 percent relief for a property with an RV of £12,000 or less. This means you will not pay any business rates for it.
Please complete and return a small business rate relief application form.
For properties with an RV of between £12,001 and £14,999, the rate of relief is awarded on a sliding scale decreasing from 100 percent to 0 per cent.
Small business rate relief table
| Rateable value || Percentage reduction |
| Up to £12,000 || 100% |
| £12, 750 || 75% |
| £13,500 || 50% |
| £14,250 || 25% |
| Over £14,999 || 0% |
Under the current legislation, if you take on a second property you can still keep the relief on your original property for a year.
If you occupy more than one property, you can get small business rate relief as long as the RV of each of your other properties is less than £2,900 and the total RV of all the properties (including the main one) is less than £20,000. The relief is applied to the main property.
If your property has an RV below £51,000, your business rates will be calculated using the small business multiplier instead of the standard one. This is the case even if you have multiple properties. The higher multiplier will apply if you are liable to pay rates on an empty property or if you are in receipt of mandatory relief.
You can apply by completing and returning a small business rate relief application form or call customer services 01572 722577
Supporting small businesses relief scheme (revaluation)
The government has made funds available to local authorities to put in place the supporting small businesses relief scheme, following the valuation office agency’s 2017 revaluation of non-domestic properties.
This relief is to help ratepayers who have lost some or all of their small business rate relief (SBRR) as a result of the increase in their business property’s rateable value (RV) and have had large increases in their business rates bills from 1 April 2017.
To support these ratepayers, the supporting small businesses relief scheme will ensure that the increase per year in the bills of these ratepayers is limited to the greater of either a percentage increase of 5 percent, 7.5 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent and 15 percent per year from 2017-2018 to 2021-2022 (all plus inflation) or an increase of £600 per year.
Discretionary rate relief policy (revaluation)
We have been allocated £328,000 of government funding spread over four years to provide a relief scheme to support those ratepayers who have faced a steep increase in their business rates from 1 April 2017, following a national revaluation of all non-domestic properties.
£192,000 of that funding was allocated for 2017-2018, £93,000 for 2018-2019, £38,000 for 2019-2020 and £5,000 for 2020-2021.
The policy document for the scheme is available to download.
Retail discount and expanded retail discount
The government has introduced a retail discount scheme for all occupied properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.
The value of the discount is one third of the bill for 2019/20 and half of the bill for 2020/21, after any reduction of other reliefs.
As the scheme comes under discretionary rate relief powers, a local policy has been implemented under which all eligible businesses will be considered for relief.
To be eligible for the discount, the property must be
- have a rateable value of less than £51,000
- wholly or mainly being used as a shop, restaurant, café, drinking establishment, cinema or live music venue
The scheme was expanded from 1st April 2020 as a measure to help businesses impacted by Covid-19.
For 2020/21 the discount is increased to 100% and extended to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. There is no rateable value limit.
For more information download and read our policy document.
Relief for local newspapers
The Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year up until 31 March 2025, to office space occupied by local newspapers.
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 are set out in a guidance note: “The case for a business rates relief for local newspapers”.
Most nurseries are entitled to 100% rate relief and will pay nothing in 2020-2021.
This relief will be available to those properties occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and which are mainly used to provide the Early Years Foundation Stage.
We have written a policy to cover this discount.
Rural rate relief
Certain types of properties in rural settlements with a population below 3,000 may be entitled to relief.
The property must have a rateable value of less than £8,500 and be
- the only general store,
- the only post office
- the only food shop
Or have a rateable value of less than £12,500 and be
- the only public house
- the only petrol station
The property has to be occupied.
An eligible ratepayer is entitled to relief at 100% of the full charge. You can apply by completing and returning a Rate Relief application form.
Any business suffering hardship can apply for help with their rate charge.
A reduction in your rates bill is discretionary and must be in the council taxpayers’ interest.
We review applications on an individual basis and consider such things as
- the effect of unemployment and its impact on the community
- loss of service provided to the taxpayer
- level of hardship and the steps the business has taken to improve its situation
- details of the business accounts over several years.
You can apply by email to firstname.lastname@example.org