Unoccupied Property Rating
Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order. In most cases the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate. Full details on exemptions can be obtained from the local authority. If the unoccupied property rate for the financial year has been reduced by order, it will be shown on the front of this bill. The Government has introduced a new temporary measure for unoccupied new builds from October 2013. Unoccupied new builds will be exempt from unoccupied property rates for up to 18 months (up to state aid limits) where the property comes on to the list between 1st October 2013 and 30th September 2016. The 18 month period includes the initial 3 or 6 month exemption and so properties may, if unoccupied, be exempt from non-domestic rates for up to an extra 15 or 12 months.
Partly Occupied Property Relief
A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the local authority has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
Small Business Rate Relief
Ratepayers who are not entitled to other mandatory relief or are liable for unoccupied property rates and occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 will – subject to a small number of exemptions - have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier.
In addition, generally, if the sole or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value which does not exceed £15,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 100%. For a property with a rateable value of not more than £12,000, the ratepayer will receive a 100% reduction in their rates bill.
Generally, this percentage reduction (relief) is only available to ratepayers who occupy either-
(a) one property, or
(b) one main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value which does not exceed £2,899.
The rateable value of the property mentioned in (a), or the aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b), must not exceed £19,999 outside London or £27,999 in London on each day for which relief is being sought. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable value, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase.
The Government has introduced additional support to small businesses. For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, the Government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.
An application for Small Business Rate Relief is not required. Where a ratepayer meets the eligibility criteria and has not received the relief they should contact the Revenues section (tel: 01629-761222 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). Provided the ratepayer continues to satisfy the conditions for relief which apply at the relevant time as regards the property and the ratepayer, they will automatically continue to receive relief in each new valuation period.
Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the local authority by a ratepayer who is in receipt of relief (other changes will be picked up by the local authority). The changes which should be notified are--
(a) the ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property, and
(b) an increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted the relief.
Charity and Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) Relief
Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the club, and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the purposes of the club (or of that and other clubs).
The local authority has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
Non-Profit Making Organisation Relief
The local authority has discretion to give relief to Non-Profit Making Organisations. Full details can be obtained from the Revenues Section.
Local authorities have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
The local authority has discretion to give hardship relief in specific circumstances. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
Rate Relief for Businesses in Rural Areas
Certain types of properties in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000 may be entitled to relief. The property must be the only general store, the only post office or a food shop and have a rateable value of less than £8,500, or the only public house or the only petrol station and have a rateable value of less than £12,500. The property has to be occupied. An eligible ratepayer is entitled to relief at 50% of the full charge whilst the local authority also has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Full details can be obtained from the Revenues section (tel: 01629 761261 e-mail email@example.com).
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 for 2 years from 1st April 2017, 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 is set out in a guidance note: “The case for a business rates relief for local newspapers”, which can be obtained at Relief for local newspapers