Business Rates reductions

There are several Business Rate reductions (reliefs) that you may be eligible for.

To apply for a reduction please complete an application form using the links below. For free information or advice contact the team on 0121 704 8175.

Retail discount

At Autumn Budget 2018, the Government announced a one-third discount for eligible retail businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, up to state aid limits. This scheme will run for two years from April 2019. This discount will be applied to the bill after the application of any reliefs, excluding any local discounts.

The Government has issued guidance on the operation of the scheme.

This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). For further information please refer to our Retail Relief Policy.

Your 2019/20 rates bill will include the relief and so you will not have to make an application.

However, if you believe that you should be entitled to the relief and it does not appear on your bill then please contact the Business Rates Team on 0121 704 8175 or email

Transitional relief

As property values often change between valuations, transitional arrangements are used to help phase the changes in.

After a valuation, the amount by which a bill can rise or decrease is limited. These limits continue to apply every year until the full amount is due (the rateable value times the multiplier).

Unoccupied properties

In general, for commercial properties, there will be no Business Rates to pay for the first 3 months a property is empty. Industrial buildings will not have to pay Business Rates for the first 6 months a property is empty. After the free period the full charge becomes payable.

Listed buildings and small properties (those with a rateable value of less than £2,900) pay no Business Rates until occupied again.

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, we have discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.

To apply you will need to supply us with:

  • a letter explaining the changes including the date of when your property became or will become partly occupied
  • a floor plan which identifies the unoccupied area

Charities and registered community amateur sports clubs

Charities and registered community amateur sports clubs can get an 80% set discount off their Business Rates.

We advise you to read our application guidance notes before applying.

In some circumstances, we may apply discretionary rate relief to reduce the bill further.

Discretionary relief is awarded to charities and not for profit organisations who are most in need, for example organisations who have limited funds who work with the Council to support local residents.

You will need to complete an application form and supply your most recent financial accounts for the last 2 years.

There are two decision making sessions a year, in September and March.

We advise you to read our discretionary rate relief policy before applying.

Rural rate relief areas

If your business property is in a designated rural area (which has no more than 3,000 residents) you may be able to claim a rural rate discount of 50%, increasing to 100% with effect from 1 April 2017.

To qualify you must meet 1 of the following criteria:

  • run the only village store, or the only post office, or a food store, with a rateable value of less than £8,500
  • run the only pub, or the only petrol station, with a rateable value of less than £12,500
  • run any other business of benefit to the community and council tax payers (as decided by us), with a rateable value of less than £16,500. (Discount up to 100% in this case).

You can apply for either:

Hardship relief

We may be able to provide hardship relief if you are experiencing hardship and your business is of importance to the local community.

Small business relief

You can get small business rate relief if you only use one property, or, additional properties have a rateable value of less than £2,899 and do not exceed £20,000 when added together.

With effect from 1April 2017 eligible businesses with rateable values of below £12,000 will get 100% rate relief on their liability. This relief will decrease on a sliding scale for rateable values over £12,000 up to £15,000.

From 1 April 2017 ratepayers who are not entitled to another mandatory relief or are liable for Unoccupied Property Rates and occupy a property with rateable value of less than £51,000 will have their bill calculated using Small Business Non-Domestic Rating Multiplier rather than the National Non-Domestic Rating Multiplier.

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.

Mazars Ruling - the effect on Business Rate Payers

A recent Supreme Court case changed the way that the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) assessed the rateable value of premises where there is more than one occupier. 

This may have resulted in some ratepayers being liable for multiple rating assessments and they may have lost any entitlement to Small Business Rates Relief.

The government has decided to introduce legislation that reverses this in a number of ways. If you have been affected by this ruling please contact the VOA.

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