Reliefs & Exemptions

Please note that the rateable values referred to are those shown in the 1st April 2010 rating list.

Charitable and Discretionary Relief

Charities are entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property that is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. Relief is given at 80% of the bill. The Council has the discretion to give further relief on the remaining 20% of the bill.

The Council also has the discretion to give relief on all or part of any rate bill for a property occupied by certain organisations that are not established for profit.

Please refer to the Discretionary Rate Relief and Enterprise Zones Policy document within the Documents section.

Rural Rate Relief

Certain types of businesses in rural areas with a population below 3,000 (the Government has designated these areas) may qualify for rate relief of 50%. Businesses that qualify for this relief are the sole general store and the sole post office in the rural area, providing it has a rateable value not greater than £8,500, and any food shop with a rateable value of not greater than £8,500. The sole pub and the sole petrol station in the village will also qualify providing it has a rateable value not greater than £12,500. The Council has discretion to give further relief on the remaining 50% of the bill.

The Council may also give up to 100% relief to any other business in the designated rural area, with a rateable value not greater than £16,500, if it is satisfied that the business is of benefit to the community and is in the interests of its council taxpayers.

Small Business Rate Relief

The Government introduced the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme (SBRR) from 1st April 2005 to help small businesses pay their rates bill.

If you are entitled to Rural Rate Relief, Former Agricultural Relief or Mandatory Relief you will not be entitled to SBRR. If you receive discretionary rate relief you should still apply for SBRR even if you do not have anything to pay.

The Rateable Value (RV) is the one shown in the Non - Domestic Rating List. The RV will be shown on your business rates bill.

There are two non-domestic rating multipliers. The standard multiplier, which is the higher of the two, and the lower multiplier which is used to calculate the bills of ratepayers entitled to SBRR.

The SBRR scheme 1st April 2005 to 31st March 2010

You were entitled to apply for SBRR if you occupied only one property in England with a Rateable Value (RV) less than £15,000. When counting the number of properties you occupied any properties with an RV of less than £2,200 were not counted provided the total RV of all properties was less than £15,000.

Eligible properties with an RV of up to £4,999 received 50% rate relief. The amount of relief decreased in percentage terms of 1% for every £100 rateable value up to £9,999

Eligible properties with an RV between £10,000 and £14,999 did not receive any rate relief but their business rates were based on the lower non-domestic rating multiplier.

For the period 1st April 2005 to 31st March 2009 the relief could only be granted if the property the business occupies was in the rating list on the 1st April. The date of occupation was irrelevant, the key date was the effective date given to the property in the rating list. If the property had an effective date after 1st April then the relief could only be applied from 1st April of the following year. From 1st April 2009 the requirement for the property to be in the list on the 1st April has been removed.

An application form had to be completed to apply for SBRR even for properties with an RV between £10,000 and £14,999 where the lower non-domestic rating multiplier was to be used.

Please note that the closing date for applications for the 2005 Rating List was 30th September 2010

The SBRR scheme from 1st April 2010

With the 1st April 2010 revaluation the thresholds for the SBRR scheme changed. The basics of the scheme are as follows.

You can apply for SBRR if you occupy only one property in England with a Rateable Value (RV) less than £18,000. When counting the number of properties you occupy any properties with an RV of less than £2,600 will not be counted provided the total RV of all occupied properties is less than £18,000.

Eligible properties with an RV of up to £6,000 will receive 50% rate relief. The amount of relief will decrease in percentage terms of 1% for every £120 rateable value up to £11,999

Eligible properties with an RV between £12,000 and £17,999 will not receive any rate relief but their business rates will be based on the lower non-domestic rating multiplier.

An application form must be completed to apply for SBRR even for properties with an RV between £12,000 and £17,999 where the lower non-domestic rating multiplier is to be used.

Level of Relief for the period 1st October 2010 to 31st March 2016

Please note that in the Autumn Statement of 2014 the Government extended the increased relief through the 15/16 billing year. 

For the above period the Government have increased the amount of SBRR. For the eligible property with an RV up to £6,000 the relief will be increased from 50% to 100%. Eligible ratepayers with RV's between £6,001 and £11,999 will receive double their usual entitlement. This will be calculated automatically for ratepayers who currently receive SBRR.

Changes with effect from 1st April 2012

From 1st April 2012 all businesses with an RV up to £17,999 who are not entitled to another mandatory relief will automatically have their rates bill calculated using the small business rate multiplier which is the lower of the two multipliers. This is for occupied properties only; bills for unoccupied properties are to be calculated using the standard multiplier.

Please note that you still need to apply for the additional relief on a 'single' property where the RV is below £12,000.

Charity and Registered Community Amateur Sports Club Relief

Charities and Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the Charity or Club and is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes or as a Registered Community Amateur Sports Club.

The Council also has the discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill.

If you would like further details or an application form for any of the above rate relief's please contact the Customer Services section.

Hardship Relief

The Council has the discretion under Section 49 of the Local Government Finance Act to grant relief on your business rates bill if you are suffering hardship.

However, we will normally only do this in extreme cases of hardship and for businesses which are particularly important to the local community, taking into consideration the effect of unemployment and the loss of service to the community if the business were to close. This takes account of the fact that local Council Tax payers will cover part of the cost of the relief awarded.

To apply for this relief you should make a written claim to the Council supplying the following information:

  • The date hardship is being claimed from
  • The last three years' audited business accounts
  • A statement of your current income and expenditure together with supporting documentation
  • Details of any debts outstanding together with supporting documentation
  • Details of the number of people the business employs
  • Any other information you feel is relevant and will support your claim.

Transitional Relief Scheme

The scheme caps increases to rates bills over a five year period and is funded by capping reductions in other rates bills. The caps are instructed as follows:

Downward cap
(large properties)
4.6%6.7%7%13%13%
Downward cap
(small properties)
20%30%35%55%55%
Upward cap
(large properties)
12.5%17.5%20%25%25%

Upward cap
(small Properties)

5%7.5%10%15%15%
Type of Cap2010/112011/122012/132013/142014/15

NOTE: There are year on year caps on increases. For instance, the maximum increase for small properties over 5 years would be 64%. But a small property with an increase of 7% would reach their fill bill in year 2.

Partly Occupied Premises

Under Section 44A of the Local Government Finance Act if part of your property is not being used and is completely unoccupied for a short time, the Council may consider giving you relief to reduce the amount you have to pay.

Each case is judged on its own merits and will only be allowed if it is clear that part of your property is beyond your use for the short term.

To apply for this relief, you should make a written claim supplying the following information:

  • A detailed plan of the premises showing clearly which areas are currently occupied and which are unoccupied
  • The date that the part-occupation commenced and when it is expected to cease
  • The reason why the part-occupation became necessary
  • Is there any intention to sublet or sell the unoccupied area?
  • Will any machinery, equipment etc be stored in this area?
  • Any other information you feel is relevant and will support your claim.

If the Council decides to award relief, an application will be made to the Valuation Office Agency for details of how the rateable value is split between the occupied and unoccupied areas. Relief will then be awarded to your property in line with the appropriate empty charge for the unoccupied area.

If you would like further details, or an application form, if appropriate, for any of the above rate relief's please contact the Customer Services section on 0115 917 7777.

Retail Relief

A discount of up to £1,000 a year in 2014/15 and as announced by the Government in the Autumn Statement of 2014, up to £1,500 for 2015/16 may be available for retail premises with a rateable value of up to £50,000, in certain circumstances, where they are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments. This relief is granted at the discretion of the Council.

The Department for Communities and Local Government guidance advises that they consider shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments to mean:

i. Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public:

Shops (such as: florist, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off licence, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets, etc)

  • Charity shops
  • Opticians
  • Post offices
  • Furnishing shops/ display rooms (such as: carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
  • Car/ caravan show rooms
  • Second hard car lots
  • Markets
  • Petrol stations
  • Garden centres
  • Art galleries (where art is for sale/hire)

ii. Hereditaments 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, beauty salons, tanning shops, etc)
  • Shoe repairs/ key cutting
  • Travel agents
  • Ticket offices e.g. for theatre
  • Dry cleaners
  • Laundrettes
  • PC/ TV/ domestic appliance repair
  • Funeral directors
  • Photo processing
  • DVD/ video rentals
  • Tool hire
  • Car hire

iii. Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of food and/ or drink to visiting members of the public:

  • Restaurants
  • Takeaways
  • Sandwich shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Pubs
  • Bars

To qualify for the relief the hereditament should be wholly or mainly being used as a shop, restaurant, cafe or drinking establishment. Therefore, hereditaments which are occupied but not wholly or mainly used for the qualifying purpose will not qualify for the relief.

The list set out above is not intended to be exhaustive as it would be impossible to list the many and varied retail uses that exist.

The Department for Communities and Local Government do not consider the following to be considered as retail use for the purpose of this relief:

i. Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

  • Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureau de change, payday lenders, betting shops, pawn brokers)
  • Other services (e.g. estate agents, letting agents, employment agencies)
  • Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
  • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers, tutors)
  • Post office sorting office

ii. Hereditaments that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public.

The Department for Communities and Local Government advise that the award of such discounts is considered likely to amount to state aid. However it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013. The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 'de minimis' aid over a rolling three year period. If you apply for the retail rate relief and are receiving, or have received, any 'de minimis' aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), you should inform the Council immediately with details of the aid received. An application form to apply for this retail relief is available to download from within the documents section.

Re-Occupied Retail Relief

This relief is a temporary measure that may apply to ratepayers moving into previously empty retail premises between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016. The relief is 50% of the occupied rates liability (after other reliefs). Please see the section above on Retail Relief for details of what the Department for Communities and Local Government considers are retail hereditaments. This relief is granted at the discretion of the Council.

Properties which will benefit from relief will be occupied hereditaments that:

  • When previously in use, were wholly or mainly used for retail as set out above.
  • Were empty for 12 months or more immediately before their reoccupation.
  • Become reoccupied between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016.
  • Are being used for any use (i.e. not just retail use) except if they are wholly or mainly being used as betting shops, payday loan shops or pawn brokers.

Local Authorities may choose not to grant relief if they consider that appropriate for example if the granting of relief would go against the wider objectives for the local area or where it would not help a shopping area to thrive.

The relief runs with the property rather than the ratepayer.

The Department for Communities and Local Government advise that the award of such relief is considered likely to amount to state aid. However it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013. The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 'de minimis' aid over a rolling three year period. If you apply for the re-occupation retail rate relief and are receiving, or have received, any 'de minimis' aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source) for example the £1,000 Retail Relief, you should inform the Council immediately with details of the aid received. An application form to apply for this retail relief is available to download from within the documents section.

New Build Empty Property Relief

This relief is a temporary measure that may apply to newly built non-domestic rate property completed after 1 October 2013 and before 30 September 2016, for the first 18 months that it is empty. This relief is granted at the discretion of the Council.

The relief may be awarded in respect of unoccupied non-domestic hereditaments that are 'wholly or mainly comprised of qualifying new structures'.

Structures are defined as:

  • a. Foundations and/or
  • b. Permanent walls and/or
  • c. Permanent roofs

New is defined as:

  • a. Completed less than 18 months previously, and
  • b. Completed after 1 October 2013 and before 30 September 2016

This relief runs with the property rather than the ratepayer.

The Department for Communities and Local Government advise that the award of such relief is considered likely to amount to state aid. However it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013. The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 'de minimis' aid over a rolling three year period. If you apply for the new build empty property rate relief and are receiving, or have received, any 'de minimis' aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source) for example the Re-occupied Retail Relief, you should inform the Council immediately with details of the aid received. An application form to apply for this relief is available to download from within the documents section.

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Page Last Updated: 07/03/2016