Business Rates

Business Rates are an integral cost of running a business and need to be considered when calculating the costs for any non-residential property you are looking to rent or buy.

Your annual business rates bill is calculated and collected by your local council who multiply the rateable value set by the Valuation Office Agency with a multiplier which is often know as the Uniform Business Rate or UBR which is set by central government.

The multiplier, set by Communities and Local Government in England or the Welsh Assembly Government, represents the number of pence in each pound of rateable value that will be payable in business rates before any reliefs or discounts are applied. It is reviewed each year in April to reflect changes in inflation.

Rates Relief

There are several rate relief schemes available in England & Wales. You will need to discuss your eligibility for these with your local council.

Are you a small business?

You may be eligible for small business rate relief if your rateable value is below a certain level. Small business rate relief is administered by your local council and the system varies between England and Wales.

In England (and outside London) you may be eligible for small business rate relief if your rateable value is below £51,000.

2017 rateable value
Relief available
£11,999 or below
The small business rate multiplier is used
The bill is reduced by 100%
between £12,000 and £14,999 inclusive
The small business rate multiplier is used
The bill is reduced on a sliding scale from 100% at the bottom of the range to 0% at the top
between £15,000 and £50,999 inclusive
The small business rate multiplier is used only (even if you have more than one property).

I have more than one business property: do I still get the relief?

When you get a second property, you will keep getting any existing relief on your main property for 12 months. You can still get small business rate relief on your main property after this if both the following apply:

  • none of your other properties have a rateable value above £2,899
  • the total rateable value of all your properties is less than £20,000 (£28,000 in London).

Has your rateable value changed significantly since revaluation?

Transitional relief in England is designed to reduce the impact of any large changes in the rateable value, whether the change is up or down. Your local council will automatically include transitional relief when they calculate your bill. There is no transitional relief in Wales.

Enterprise Zones

If you are starting up or relocating to an enterprise zone you could qualify for business rates relief.The council works out how the relief is applied. You could get up to £55,000 a year over 5 years. Find your local enterprise zone to check whether it offers business rates relief, and how and when to apply.

Are you a charity or an amateur community sports club?

Charities and amateur community sports clubs can apply for charitable relief. This can reduce the bill by 80 per cent. In some areas, this could be reduced even further. Contact your local council to find out more.

Are you another type of non-profit organisation?

Non-profit organisations can apply for discretionary relief. This can reduce the bill by 100 per cent. Contact your local council to find out more. Are you a rural business like a village shop or petrol station? You may be eligible to apply for discretionary relief. Contact your local council to find out more.

Hardship Relief

In England, councils can reduce your business rates bill with hardship relief. To be eligible, you must satisfy your council that both:

  • you would be in financial difficulties without it
  • giving hardship relief to you is in the interests of local people

Contact your local council and explain your situation if you think you are eligible.

Pub Relief

 You will get £1,000 off your business rates bill if you are a pub in England with a rateable value of less than £100,000. The relief will be applied from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018. The government is currently developing this scheme and will confirm how you get the relief.

Is your property empty?

All empty properties are exempt from paying business rates for three months after they become vacant. There are additional exemptions for certain types of property, or for properties under a set rateable value. You should contact your local council to let them know if your property becomes vacant:

  • Industrial premises, such as warehouses, are exempt for a further three months
  • Listed buildings are exempt until they become occupied again
  • Buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 are exempt until they become occupied again
  • Properties owned by charities are exempt if the properties next use is likely to be wholly or mainly for charitable purposes
  • Community amateur sports club buildings are exempt if their next use is likely to be wholly or mainly for a sports club.

After the exemption period ends, you will be liable for the full business rate bill.

Useful Links:

Valuation Office Agency

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