Billing of business rates

For information on rateable values, checking your balance, obtaining help with your business rates, mobile businesses running a business from your home, and how to report business rates fraud.

What are Business Rates?

Business rates are collected by local authorities and they are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services.

Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is calculated by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs:

Valuation Office Agency (external website)

The rateable value 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.

The council calculates the business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by one of the two multipliers. The standard multiplier is 51.2p for properties with a rateable value of above £51,000. The small business multiplier is 49.9p for properties with a rateable value below £51,000.

If the new rateable valuation would mean a significant change in your rates bill, the Government has put in place a transitional arrangements scheme which phases in the increase or decrease in your bill. Limits continue to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount is due (rateable value x the appropriate multiplier). The scheme applies only to the bill based on a property at the time of the revaluation. The transitional arrangements are applied automatically and are shown on the front of your bill and are referred to as 'Transitional Adjustment'.

Can I get any help with my business rates?

Unoccupied properties

You do not have to pay rates for the first three months that a property is empty, or for the first six months where the property counts as a qualifying industrial premises.

  • If the property has a rateable value under £2,900 or the property is listed or the property is classified as land then an exemption can be applied for as long as the property is empty
  • If the property has a rateable value of over £2,900 and is an industrial property then a six month period of exemption can be applied
  • If the property is over £2,900 and is not industrial then there is a period of three months exemption.

In all cases the exemption applies to the property. To start a new exempt period, the property must be occupied continuously for six weeks before becoming empty again.

You cannot get a further exempt period if there is a change in ownership, leaseholder or tenant.

Business rates reliefs

There are a number of different types of business rate reliefs available. The types of reliefs available can change from year to year.

If you apply for rate relief, you must keep paying the amount shown on your original business rates bill until we confirm any reduction by sending you a revised bill.

Some types of reliefs are mandatory, some are discretionary, and some have both a mandatory and a discretionary element. The cost of reliefs is shared between central government and the council.

Small business rates relief

Small business rate relief is a discount for small businesses and other organisations based on certain criteria.

You are not entitled to small business rate relief if any of the following apply:

  • the property is empty
  • you can get mandatory charity rate relief
  • you can get mandatory rural rate relief.

Small business rate relief based on the rateable value of the property in relation to lower and upper threshold figures set by central government.

The lower threshold is £12,000 and the upper threshold is £15,000.

To receive small business rate relief, either of the following must apply:

  • you occupy a single property with a rateable value of up to the upper threshold
  • you occupy one property with a rateable value up to the upper threshold and other properties that each have a rateable value below £2,900 and the total rateable value of all properties is below £20,000
  • the relief is 100 per cent for properties with a rateable value under £11,999. For those properties with a rateable value are between £12,000 and £14,999 there is a tapering of the relief and the discount ranges from 100% at £12,000 to zero at £14,999
  • For properties with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £50,999 then the multiplier applied in calculating the rates payable is changed from 51.2p to 49.9p.

You can only get small business rate relief for the main property.

If you take on another property that means your business no longer meets these conditions, you can still keep getting small business rate relief for another year.

To apply for the relief or to discuss your eligibility for the relief please contact the Business Rates section on (01482) 394748.

Charities, not for profit organisations 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).

A registered charity can receive 80% mandatory relief, they can also apply for an extra discretionary relief of up to 20%.

A not for profit organisation can apply for discretionary relief. The types of organisations that can benefit from this relief include groups whose main objectives are charitable, religious, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or fine arts. Sports and social clubs can also claim.

Community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) can also apply for 80% mandatory relief if they are registered as a CASC with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. They can also apply for an extra discretionary relief of up to 20%.

If you wish to apply for any of the above reliefs please contact the business rates section on (01482) 394748.

Relief for local newspapers

Office space that is occupied by local newspapers can receive business rate relief of £1,500 for the financial year. This was initially due to run for two years from 1 April 2017 but this has been further extended by the Government for until 31 March 2025.

If you wish to apply for the above relief please contact the business rates section on (01482) 394748.

Retail relief

At the Autumn Statement on 17 November 2022 the Chancellor announced the introduction of a new business rates relief scheme for retail, hospitality and leisure properties. he 2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief scheme will provide eligible, occupied, retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a 75% relief, up to a cash cap limit of £110,000 per business. Find more information about Business Rates Relief: 2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme on the GOV.UK website.

Pub relief

On 27 January 2020, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury made a Written Ministerial Statement announcing that all eligible pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 will receive a £1,000 discount. This is in addition to the retail discount and will apply after the retail discount. State Aid Rules will apply to Pub Relief.

Rural rate relief

Rural rate relief is open to any businesses that fall within a designated rural settlement. They can apply for a mandatory 100 per cent relief if they meet one of the criteria below:

  • Sole post office or general store (selling household goods and food for human consumption that isn't mostly sweets), where the rateable value is less than £8,500
  • Sole pub where rateable value is less than £12,500
  • Sole petrol station - on an A road and where the rateable value is less than £12,500
  • Sole petrol station - not on an A road, and where the rateable value is less than £12,500
  • Food shop where the main business is the sale of food for human consumption and where the rateable value is less than £8,500. Not catering businesses or shops selling mostly sweets
  • Business of benefit to the community and where the rateable value is less than £16,500.

Since 1 April 2017 the Government introduced a scheme to enable councils to double the amount of rural rate relief from 50% to 100%, which the Council implemented. This will continue for the 2019-20 financial year so eligible businesses will receive 100% relief from their business rates.

Supporting small business

This scheme was implemented on 1 April 2017 and was designed to help small businesses who lost some or all of their small business rate relief or rural rate relief following the 2017 revaluation so that businesses did see their bill increase by more than £600 per year.

The scheme is to last for five years, but the discount will end:

  • when your bill reaches the amount you would have paid without the scheme
  • if the property falls vacant.

There is no need to make an application for this relief. If you qualify we will automatically apply the relief to your account and send you a revised bill. If you think you are entitled to the relief but haven’t received it, please contact the business rates section on 01482 394748.

Any relief awarded under this scheme will be adjusted if there is a change in your circumstances, for example, if you vacate the premises or there is an amendment to the rateable value of your premises.

Discretionary revaluation relief

The discretionary revaluation relief was introduced to provide support to local businesses facing an increase in their business rates as a result of the 2017 revaluation. The relief is cash limited based on funding from central government and is subject to state aid limits.

The relief was effective from 1 April 2017 and is available for four years, the amount of relief provided will reduce over the four year period. Please contact the business rates section for further information.

Tel: (01482) 394748

Local discounts

The council has a general power to grant discretionary local discounts. For further information please contact the business rates section:

Tel: (01482) 394748.

Part-occupied properties

You can sometimes get part-occupied property relief if you are temporarily not using part of a property included in the rating assessment. This is a discretionary relief, which means it's not guaranteed.All cases are considered on a case by case basis, You must not be able to occupy part of your property for a short period of time, and this cannot be part of your normal business operations.

You must apply before the relevant part of the property is back in use again, and granting of the relief is at the Councils discretion

Each award would end at the end of the financial year in which your award was granted.

If the Council decided to grant the relief we would then ask the Valuation Office Agency to provide a section 44A certificate to provide a split of the assessment between the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property.

Hardship relief

In exceptional circumstances, we can give hardship relief to a ratepayer in difficulty. Hardship relief is a discount on the rates payable for a specific period. It is a discretionary relief, which means it is not guaranteed.

You might be able to get hardship relief if your business is suffering unexpected hardship (financial or otherwise) and all the following apply:

  • the circumstances leading to the hardship are both beyond the control of the business and outside of the normal risks associated with running a business
  • the difficulties are temporary and the business has a good chance of being viable in the long term
  • the business might fail if we do not give hardship relief.

You must be able to show you are taking reasonable steps to help yourself. We would expect you as a business owner to do everything you can to tackle the problems you are facing. This might mean, for example, getting business advice, reducing overheads, reviewing pricing, offering discounts, extending the range of stock or services, or negotiating with creditors.

You cannot get hardship relief to help establish a new business, unless the viability of the business is threatened by events you could not reasonably have foreseen.

Holiday Lets

The Government is changing the business rates rules for self catering properties. From 1 April 2023, new business rates eligibility rules will apply to self catering properties. If you don't meet these rules, your property will be eligible to pay Council Tax. To continue to be eligible for business rates, your property must be:

  • available for letting commercially for short periods that total 140 days or more in the previous and current year.
  • actually let commercially for 70 days or more in the previous 12 months.

The Valuation Office Agency and not the Council will determine which holiday let properties qualify for business rates and which properties are eligible for Council Tax. Find out more about changes to business rates rules for self-catering properties on the GOV.UK website.


From 1 April 2023, all business rates properties will have a new rateable value. This is known as the Re-Valuation. The Government sets the rules about when and how revaluations happen. And the Valuation Office Agency sets the new rateable values for properties. Find out more about business rates revaluation on the GOV.UK website.

Do I pay rates if I run a business from home?

If part of the property is set aside, modified and only used for business purposes then business rates may be payable for that part.

The council tax for the remaining domestic part of the property may be adjusted accordingly. Each case is determined by the Valuation Office Agency.

The Valuation Office Agency website can provide further information:

Valuation Office Agency (external website)

Do I pay rates if my business is mobile?

No, business rates are only assessed on property that is used permanently for business purposes, however, if you have a license to occupy a temporary site permanently, then business rates are payable.

If you need any further information please get in touch by:


Can I appeal against my property’s valuation?

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) values all business properties for business rates. The valuation is based on information the VOA holds about your property.

You can view and update this information at:

GOV.UK - VOA valuation (external website)

You can contact the VOA at:

GOV.UK - Contact VOA (external website)

If you are unable to use the online service you can also contact the VOA on 03000 501 501.

How do I report someone I believe is committing business rates fraud?

Your can report suspected fraud by any of the following methods:

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