Business rates explanatory notes 2018

Non-domestic rates (business rates)

Business rates are collected by local authorities. This money, together with revenue from council tax payers, revenue support grant provided by the government and certain other sums is used to pay for local services.

From 1 April 2013, local authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This provides an incentive for us to work with local businesses to create a favourable local environment for growth.

You can find further information about the business rates system, including transitional and other reliefs on the GOV.UK website

Rateable value

Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The VOA draws up and maintains a full list of all rateable values.

The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on 1 April 2017, this date was set as 1 April 2015. All rateable values are calculated using this date so each assessment is considered fair.

The valuation officer may change the rateable value if circumstances change. 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. Full details on your rights of appeal are available from the VOA. We can only backdate any business rates rebate to the date from which the list is changed.

Further information about the grounds on which you can make an appeal and the process for doing so can be found on the VOA section of the GOV.UK website or from your local valuation office.

Business rates multiplier

We work out your business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by a multiplier. There are two multipliers: the standard business rates multiplier and the small business rates multiplier. The standard multiplier is higher to pay for the cost of small business rate relief.

Except in the City of London where special arrangements apply, the government sets the multipliers for each financial year for the whole of England. The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.

Business rates instalments

Payment of business rate bills is automatically set to 10-monthly instalments. However, you are able to make payments in 12-monthly instalments if you so wish. If you wish to do this you should contact us as soon as possible.

Revaluation 2017 and transitional arrangements

All rateable values are reassessed at a general revaluation to ensure that business rate bills reflect changes over time in the value of property relative to others. This helps maintain fairness in the rating system by updating valuations in line with changes in the property market. Revaluation does not raise extra money for government.

The 2017 revaluation takes effect from 1 April 2017. The majority of ratepayers received a reduction or no change in their bill whereas some ratepayers saw increases. The revaluation didn't increase the amount of rates collected nationally.

The government has put in place a £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme to limit changes in rate bills as a result of the 2017 revaluation. Transitional relief limits the percentage your business rates bill can be increased or decreased each year following revaluation. The transitional relief will apply each year until the full amount is due and your bill reaches what your full bill should be.

The scheme only applies to the bill based on a property at the time of the revaluation. If there are any changes to the property after 1 April 2017, any increase in rateable value due to these changes will not usually be eligible for transitional relief. Other changes to your bill, such as changes to the amount of small business rate relief, are not covered by the transitional arrangements.

The transitional arrangements are applied automatically and are shown on the front of your bill. 

Find out more about the 2017 revaluation on the GOV.UK website.

Unoccupied property rating

You don’t have to pay business rates 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, business rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the government by order. If the unoccupied property rate for the financial year has been reduced by order, it will be shown on the front of your bill.

In most cases properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs don't have to pay business rates whilst they are empty. Other properties that are exempt from business rates whilst empty

Partly occupied property relief

You are liable for the full business rates bill whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, we can award relief in certain cases for the unoccupied part. If this applies to you please complete the partly occupied online form.

Small business rate relief

You can get small business rate relief If you:

  • only use one property, and its rateable value is less than £15,000
  • use more than one property, and the rateable value of each of your other properties is £2,899 or below, with the rateable value of all these properties combined being £19,999 or less

You can only get small business rate relief on one property.

The rateable values of the properties are added together and the relief applied to the main property.

Amount of relief

  • For properties with rateable value £12,000 or below, small business rate relief will be given at 100%
  • For properties with rateable value between £12,001 and £14,999, small business rate relief will be given on a sliding scale – from 100% at the bottom of the range to 0% at the top
  • For properties with rateable value £50,999 or less, the small business rate multiplier is used only (even if you have more than one property)

For the small business rate multiplier to be used, you must not be entitled to:

  • other mandatory relief for the property, or
  • an unoccupied exemption for the property.

The government has introduced additional support to small businesses. Businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief will be allowed to keep that relief for 12 months.

If you believe you should be getting small business rate relief but have not received it, please complete the small business rate relief online form.

If you continue to satisfy the conditions for relief which apply at the relevant time, you will automatically continue to receive relief in each new valuation period.

If you get small business rate relief, you need to tell us about the following changes in circumstances (we will pick up on all other changes):

  • if you take up occupation of an additional property
  • an increase in the rateable value of a property you occupy outside of our council area.

Rural rate relief 

You could get rural rate relief of 100% if your business is in an eligible rural area with a population below 3,000. To get this relief, the business must be:

  • the only food shop, general store or post office with a rateable value of up to £8,500, or
  • the only public house or petrol station with a rateable value of up to £12,500.

Find out more and apply

Charity and 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 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).

We may also give further relief on the remaining bill. To apply please complete the charities and non-profit organisations online form.

Relief for local newspapers

The government is providing funding to local authorities so that we can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year for two years from 1 April 2017, to office space occupied by local newspapers.

This is up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per property, and up to state aid limits. 

Supporting small business relief

Ratepayers losing small business or rural rate relief as a result of the 2017 revaluation will have increases to their bill limited to £600 per year.

This relief will run for five years to 31 March 2022. Ratepayers will receive the relief until this date or until their bill reaches what it would have been in the relief scheme, whichever is first. 

Local discretionary discount

The government is providing £300 million in funding to local authorities over four years to provide discounts to ratepayers on a discretionary basis. 

Each authority has been given a share of the funding to design and implement a scheme to deliver support to ratepayers. The £300 million will cover the four years from 2017/18: £175 million in 2017/18, £85 million in 2018/19, £35 million in 2019/20 and £5 million in 2020/21. Find out more about the local discretionary discount and apply

Public house (pub) relief

The government is providing funding for local authorities to provide a £1,000 discounts to pubs with a rateable value of below £100,000. Originally this relief was going to be available for 2017/18 only but the government has extended the scheme for another year. Pubs with a rateable value of below £100,000 will now also receive a £1,000 discount for 2018/19. Find out more about pub relief

Local discounts

We can also grant discretionary local discounts.

State aid

The award of such discounts is considered likely to amount to state aid. However, it will be state aid complaint 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 are receiving, or have received, any 'de minimis' aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), you should contact us straight away with details of the aid received.

Hardship relief

We can give relief to ratepayers experiencing hardship in certain circumstances. Find out more about hardship relief and apply

Rating advisers

Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. Appeals against rateable values can be made free of charge. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV) are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. 

Before you employ a rating adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care, and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract. 

Information supplied with demand notices

Information relating to this and previous financial years gross expenditure is available on our council tax pages. Please contact us to request a hard copy if you would like one.

See previous years business rates explanatory notes

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