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Advertising policy

Business rate reductions, relief and exemptions

If you are responsible for paying business rates, there are certain situations where you may not have to pay the full amount, or may be exempt completely. You can apply for relief, reduction or exemption online, but before you do so please read the information on this page and on our Business Rates page.

If you are applying for any Discretionary Relief please email for details of the specific application process you will need to follow.

Charities and discretionary relief

Charities are entitled to 80% business rate relief for properties used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes. We can top this up by 20% at our discretion. We can also grant up to 100% discretionary relief for a property if it is occupied by a not-for-profit organisation. Contact our Business Rates team for more information. 

Small business rate relief 

You can get small business rate relief if:

  • You only use one property, and you are liable for rates on just one occupied property.
  • Your property’s rateable value is less than £12,000.

What you get

You’ll get 100% relief (doubled from the usual rate of 50%) until 31 March 2017 for a property with a rateable value of £6,000 or less.  This will be a permanent change from the 1st of April 2017 and will apply to all qualifying properties with rateable values below £12,000.

If the rateable value is between £6,001 and £12,000 the small business relief is worked out on a sliding scale from a 50% to a 0% reduction (for a property with a rateable value of £12,000). This will be increased to values between £12,000 and £15,000 from the 1st of April 2017.

If you have more than one property;

You can get small business rate relief if the rateable value of each of your other properties is less than £2,600, and the combined value is no more than £18,000.00.

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

You’ll keep getting any existing relief for one year when you get a second property.

Rural rate relief

If your shop is in a rural area with a population below 3,000 you can apply for rural rate relief for the whole cost of your rates if your business is:

  • A village post office/general store or food shop with a rateable value of £8,500 or less.
  • Another shop with a rateable value of not more than £16,500.
  • A sole public house or petrol station with a rateable value of not more than £12,500.

The rate relief is made up of 50% mandatory relief (ie laid down by government) and 50% discretionary relief granted by the Council. 

Exempted buildings and empty buildings relief

Certain properties are exempt from business rates, including:

  • Agricultural land and buildings, including fish farms.
  • Buildings used for training or welfare of disabled people.
  • Buildings registered for public religious worship or church halls. 

Empty properties

You don’t have to pay business rates on empty buildings for three months. After that, most businesses must pay full business rates.

Some properties can get extended empty property relief:

  • Industrial premises (eg warehouses) are exempt for a further three months.
  • Listed buildings - until they are reoccupied.
  • Buildings with a rateable value under £2,600 - until they’re reoccupied.
  • Properties owned by charities - only if the property’s next use will be mostly for charitable purposes.
  • Community amateur sports clubs buildings - only if the next use will be mostly as a sports club.

If your property cannot be occupied, for example because it is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired, the Valuation Office may agree to take it out of the rating list.

Please let us know as soon as possible when your property becomes empty. 

Partly occupied properties

If a property is only partly occupied the Council has the discretion to ask the Valuation Officer to apportion its rateable value between its occupied and unoccupied parts. The empty part will receive a complete exemption from rates for three months (or six months for industrial property). After that, usually the apportionment stops and the occupied business rate applies to the whole property, allowing any occupier to benefit from any occupied business rate relief they may be entitled to – for example small business rate relief – for the whole property. 

If the property would qualify for the zero rate or for an exemption from rates when empty, the apportionment stays in effect and the owner will not be liable for rates on the empty part.