Reliefs and Exemptions

Charitable and discretionary relief

Discretionary rate relief application form [word document]

Discretionary Rate relief (DRR) can be given subject to organisations meeting the criteria in the guidance notes attached to the application form. Generally DRR is granted to all organisations that are in receipt of mandatory rate relief although it should be noted that each organisation can only receive a maximum of £2000 discretionary rate relief. This change was introduced to ensure that the funding available can be used to help the maximum number of organisations. 
Sports clubs generally do not have charitable status for non domestic rates purposes, but they can apply for this status through the Inland Revenue. If they meet certain criteria they will then receive mandatory rate relief. We do not give top up DRR where sports clubs have this status. Sports clubs without charitable status can apply for DRR and the % relief varies 10% to 50% depending on whether the club runs a licensed bar.

Organisations must apply every year. 

We also have the discretion to give relief on all or part of any rate bill for property occupied by certain non-profit making bodies.

Charitable relief, relief for Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and discretionary relief

Charities (and some other organisations) are entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property that is completely or mainly used for charitable purposes. 

Registered CASCS are also entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property that is completely or mainly used for the purposes of that club, or that club and of other such registered clubs.

In both cases, relief is given at 80% of the charge and the Council has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill.

Mandatory relief application form [pdf document]

Small business rate relief

Relief is available to ratepayers who occupy:

  • only one business property in England with a rateable value below £18,000
  • one main business property and other additional properties, providing all the additional properties have individual rateable values below £2,600 and the total of the rateable values of all the properties is under £18,000 - relief will apply to the main property only.

There are two elements to the relief - eligible businesses will qualify for relief as follows;

  • the rate bill will be calculated using the small business non-domestic rating multiplier
  • businesses with rateable values below £6,000  will get relief of 50% of their liability while this relief will be reduced by 1% for every £120 of rateable value for businesses with rateable values between £6,001 and £11,999

The small business non-domestic rating multiplier for 2016/17 is 48.4p while the standard multiplier for 2016/17 is 49.7p

Where a property is eligible for charitable relief and small business relief, charitable relief only will apply. Where a property is eligible for rural rate relief and small business rate relief, rural rate relief only will apply. Any transitional relief will be applied before any small business rate relief is applied.

From 1 April 2014 the criteria for eligibility to pay the lower multiplier will continue until March 2017. Every occupied property with a Rateable Value of less than £18,000 will pay the lower multiplier of 48.4p in the £ rather than the standard 49.7p for 2016/17 regardless of whether it is the ratepayer’s only occupied property, unless the rate payer is also in receipt of a mandatory rate relief.

Eligible ratepayers will continue to receive relief at 100% on properties with rateable values of not more than £6,000 with a tapered relief of between 100% and 0% for properties with rateable values between £6,001 and £11,999 for that period.

We will automatically apply this lower multiplier to eligible properties - you do not need to do anything.

From April 2014 ratepayers receiving small business relief that take on an additional property which would previously have disqualified them from receiving relief, will continue to receive their existing relief for 12 months.

If you think you meet these criteria and you haven't already applied for small business rate relief then please contact us or complete an application form.

More information on small business rate relief [external link]

Small business rate relief application form [pdf document]

Rate relief for rural businesses

Certain types of business in rural villages, with a population below 3000 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 village, provided it has a rateable value of up to £8500
  • any food shop with a rateable value of up to £8500
  • the sole pub and the sole petrol station in the village provided it has a rateable value of up to £12,500

We have discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill on such property. We may also decide to give up to 100% relief to any other business in such a rural village, with a rateable value of up to £16,500, if it is satisfied that the business is of benefit to the community and having regard to the interests of the council tax payers.

Rural Settlements Rate Relief Application Form [pdf document]

Unoccupied property rating

Unoccupied property application form [pdf document]

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.

The Government is introducing 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 into the rating list between 1 October 2013 and 30 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.

If your property is not capable of beneficial occupation – for instance, if it is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired – the Valuation Office may judge it should be taken out of rating altogether. 

The quickest and easiest way to find the rateable value of any non-domestic property in England is on the Valuation Office Agency website [external link]

Reoccupation relief

From 1 April 2014, if you occupy a ‘retail’ property that has previously been vacant for 12 months or longer, you may qualify for a 50% reduction in your rates for up to 18 months between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016. Please contact 01325 405666 for further details.