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Rate relief and reductions


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Small business rate relief

You can get small business rate relief if you:

  • only use one property, and its rateable value is less than £15,000 or
  • use more than one property, and the rateable value of each of your other properties is less than £2,900

The rateable values of the properties are added together and the relief applied to the main property. Second properties will receive no additional reduction.

Amount you can receive:

  • if your 2017 rateable value is £12,000 or below, small business rate relief will be given at 100%
  • if your 2017 rateable value is between £12,001 and £15,000, the small business rate multiplier is used and relief will be given on a sliding scale - from 100% at the bottom of the range to 0% at the top
  • if your 2017 rateable value is between £15,001 and £51,000, the small business rate relief multiplier is used (even if you have more than one property)

Apply for small business rate relief.

The following table gives examples of the how the relief is effected by the rateable value of a property:

Rateable value % Reduction
£12,000 100%
£12,300 90%
£12,600 80%
£12,900 70%
£13,200 60%
£13,500 50%
£13,800 40%
£14,100 30%
£14,400 20%
£14,700 10%
£15,000 0%

Where applicable, relief can be backdated to 1 April 2012. The relief cannot be applied to empty properties.

Charitable rate relief

There are two types of charitable rate relief - mandatory and discretionary. You can get up to 80% relief for mandatory and up to 100% relief for discretionary.

You can apply if you meet any of the following:

Mandatory

  • a property that is in use by a charity or trustees for a charity and is used for charitable purposes
  • amateur community sports clubs can apply for relief if a property is used for charitable purposes
  • an empty property where the ratepayer is a charity or trustee for a charity and the property will be used for charitable purposes when next used

Discretionary

  • the ratepayer is a charity or trustees for a charity and the property will mainly be used for charitable purposes in the future
  • all or part of the property is in use for charitable purposes for one or more non-profit organisations
  • all or part of the property is occupied for the purpose of a non-profit club, society, or other organisation

Apply for charitable rate relief

Rating exemptions

Some types of land and property won’t have to pay Business Rates, these are:

  • agricultural land and buildings
  • fish farms
  • places of religious worship
  • sewers and properties belonging to drainage companies
  • parks
  • properties used for disabled people for example training, welfare services, workshops
  • air raid protection works
  • swinging moorings
  • road crossings over a river
  • property in enterprise zones
  • visiting forces

More information on the definitions of each of the types of properties and land is available on the legislation website.

Rural rate relief

The rural rate relief scheme was introduced to help protect the last retail outlets and similar services in rural settlements with a population of less than 3,000.

Designated rural areas have been defined by the Housing Act 1996 and for this council the following twelve parishes are affected:

  • Benenden
  • Bidborough
  • Brenchley
  • Capel
  • Cranbrook
  • Frittenden
  • Goudhurst
  • Hawkhurst
  • Horsmonden
  • Lamberhurst
  • Sandhurst
  • Speldhurst

The population of the parishes of Cranbrook, Goudhurst, Hawkhurst and Speldhurst exceed the 3,000 qualifying criteria.

Under the scheme, the following businesses in designated rural settlements are entitled to 100% mandatory rate relief:

  • the only food shop, general store or post office with a rateable value of less than £8,500
  • the only public house or petrol station with a rateable value of up to £12,500

The property must be occupied.

It is possible for both a general store and a Post Office in the same rural area to qualify for mandatory rate relief, if they both meet the conditions.

To qualify for mandatory relief, a general store must mainly sell both food and general household goods. Only part of the property need be used as a general store. For example, the business of a general store and another business could be carried on side-by-side in one premises. If there are two general stores in the same rural area, neither will qualify for mandatory relief, although, if either functions as a Post Office, relief for this can be claimed separately.

The council can also give discretionary relief of up to 100% for a property in a rural area with a rateable value of £16,500 or less, if we are satisfied that:

  • the property is used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community; and
  • it would be reasonable for the council to award relief, having regard to the interest of the Council Tax payers in the district

Apply for rural rate relief

Expanded retail discount

The government announced in the budget on 29 October 2018 that it would provide a Business Rates retail discount, to apply in the years 2019/20 and 2020/21. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, in the budget on 11 March 2020, the government announced that it would increase the discount to 100% and extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. Following the announcement on 23 March 2020 of further measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, the government confirmed that some of the exclusions for this relief have been removed, so that retail, leisure, and hospitality properties that will have had to close as a result of the restriction measures will now be eligible for the relief.

This relief will apply to occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties in the year 2020/21. There will be no rateable value limit on the relief.

Other

Empty property

You may be eligible for relief if your property is empty and unfurnished. You can receive 100% relief for the first three months the property is empty and unfurnished. If the property is industrial, for example a warehouse, you will receive the relief for six months. When the 100% relief period has ended you will need to pay the full amount.

If the property is a listed building or has a rateable value which is less than £2,900 you won’t have to pay Business Rates on an empty property. Once your property is occupied the exemption will stop.

Apply for empty property relief

Hardship relief

If you’re having trouble paying your Business Rates you can apply for hardship relief. This is given at our discretion, is only a short-term relief and will only be given if it is in the interest of the community and taxpayers of the borough.

Apply for hardship relief

Part occupied property

You can apply to pay less Business Rates if only part of your property is occupied. The unoccupied part must only be empty for a short time. We will ask the valuation officer for a certificate advising what the rateable value of the occupied part of your property is and you will only get charged for that part.

Apply for part empty relief

Supporting small businesses

This relief is available to ratepayers who have lost some or all of their small business rate relief or rural rate relief as a result of an increase in rateable value in the 2017 revaluation. This relief was introduced from 1 April 2017 to help phase-in large percentage increases for those affected.

This scheme limits any increase in Business Rates to £600 per year and will apply for a maximum of five years. Relief will automatically be applied each year that the business is eligible to receive it; this could be every year for the five years or could end sooner if the bill amount without the relief is reached.

This means that in the first year of the scheme, all ratepayers losing some or all of their small business rate or rural rate relief will have the increase in their bill capped at £600. For year two to five onwards, the bill will increase by no more than £600 per year. This means that by year five, overall bills will increase by a maximum of £3,000.

Should your property become empty during the period of the scheme or if you are entitled to mandatory relief for charities or community amateur sports clubs, you will no longer be eligible to receive supporting small businesses relief and your bill will return to the full amount due without this relief.

We have automatically identified those ratepayers who should receive this relief and have applied it to their bill.

If you feel that you qualify for this relief but it is not showing on your bill, please contact the Business Rates team.

Local discretionary relief

The government has given local authorities a set amount of money to help local businesses experiencing large increases in their Business Rates bills following the 2017 revaluation.

We have put together a scheme to help those in our area with their Business Rates bills, taking into account the money we have been given.

We have automatically identified those ratepayers who should receive this relief and have applied it to their bill. If you feel that you qualify for this relief but it is not showing on your bill, please contact the Business Rates team.

Apply for local discretionary relief