Business rate reliefs and exemptions

Small Business Rate relief

From 1 April 2017, small businesses with a rateable value of up to £14,999 may qualify for a reduction from their full rate bill. The cost of this relief is paid for by all other ratepayers. Small businesses which qualify, with a rateable value of less than £51,000, will have a lower multiplier used to work out their rate bill.

Businesses with a rateable value up to £12,000 will be entitled to 100% relief.

For businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £14,999 will be entitled to relief on a sliding scale between 100% and 0%, as well as having their bill calculated on the basis of the small business rate multiplier.

For businesses with a rateable value from £15,000 to £51,000 there is no discount, but the business will continue to be entitled to have their rates bill calculated using the small business rate multiplier.

Do I need to meet any criteria?

Small Business Rates Relief is available to all businesses who occupy property with a rateable value of less than £14,999. To qualify for the relief, businesses must satisfy their local authority that:

  • the sole or main property they occupy must have a rateable value of less than £14,999, and
  • if they occupy any additional properties, each of the additional properties must have a rateable value of less than £2,899 and the total rateable value of all of their properties must be less than £19,999, in which case the relief would be applied to the property with the highest rateable value

Also, businesses can occupy an additional property with a rateable value below £14,999, without losing entitlement to the relief on their original property, for an initial period of 12 months.

How do I apply?

To apply, complete the small business rate relief form.

Mandatory relief

If your organisation is a registered charity or a charity that is exempt from registration or a registered community amateur sports club, it may get mandatory relief equivalent to 80% discount provided the premises are wholly or mainly occupied for charitable purposes.

The Council also has the discretion to award a further 20%‘top-up’ relief where 80% mandatory relief has already been allowed. However, this is only ever allowed in exceptional circumstances. Contact us for more details.

Do I have to pay rates while my application is being assessed?

Yes, rates are still due and payable. If an organisation is successful in their application, any overpayment will be refunded.

How do I apply?

To apply, complete the mandatory relief form.

Rural rate relief

Certain properties in rural areas can receive help with their business rates. The rural areas concerned are contained in the council's current rural settlements list which includes:

  • Burley Woodhead
  • Crossroads
  • Dean Head
  • Denholme
  • East Morton
  • Eastburn
  • Egypt
  • Esholt
  • Hainworth
  • Harden
  • Harecroft
  • Keelham
  • Laycock
  • Micklethwaite
  • Mountain
  • Oldfield
  • Oxenhope
  • Stanbury
  • Tong
  • Well Heads
  • West Scholes
  • Cullingworth - this will be removed from 1 April 2018 as the population total now exceeds the limit.

A rural settlement is defined as a settlement with a population of no more than 3,000 which is wholly or partly within a council's area.

The council must give 100%* relief to the following properties which are situated in a rural settlement:

  • Post Office where it is the only Post Office in the settlement and has a rateable value of £8,500 or less
  • general store where it is the only general store in the settlement and has a rateable value of £8,500 or less
  • all food stores - where they have a rateable value of £8,500 or less.
  • public houses - where they are the only public house in the settlement and has a rateable value of £12,500 or less
  • petrol station - where it is the only petrol station in the settlement and has a rateable value of £12,500 or less.

*Prior to 1/4/2017 the relief was 50%

The council also has the discretion to allow up to 100% relief to any non-domestic property in a rural settlement with a rateable value of £16,500 or less .

The council can only use its discretion to allow such relief if it is satisfied that the property is used for a purpose that benefits the local community.

How do I apply?

To apply, complete the rural rate relief form.

Relief for partly occupied properties

In certain circumstances, the council can request that the valuation officer provides a certificate to apportion the rateable value of a property which is partially occupied for ‘a short time only’. This is called a Section 44a certificate.

This is normally used in situations where a property is occupied or vacated in stages, or where part of the property is unusable eg due to fire, flood or redevelopment.

The effect of the apportioned values enables a reduction of 100% to be made against the rateable value of the un-occupied part.

This is a discretionary power and exceptional circumstances need to apply in order for the council to do this.

To apply, contact us.

Exempt properties - unoccupied

Class Description
1 Unoccupied newly built properties or those where structural alterations or major repairs have taken place (exempt for up to 6 months from completion of work)
2 Unoccupied hereditaments (exempt for up to 6 months)
3 Hereditaments where occupation is prohibited by law
4 Hereditaments where occupation is prohibited by action taken by the Crown or any local or public authority
5 Listed buildings (subject to a preservation notice under s.58 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971)
6 Ancient monuments (as scheduled under s.1 to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979)
7 Hereditaments with a rateable value of less than £2.899 from 1 April 2017
8 Unoccupied hereditaments where the owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person
11 Unoccupied hereditaments where the owner is subject to a bankruptcy order or a winding-up order under the Insolvency Act 1986
12 Unoccupied hereditaments where the owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as a trustee under a deed of arrangement or as a liquidator under the Insolvency Act 1986

Some hereditaments (or properties) are exempt from Business Rates. These include some hereditaments which are occupied and most empty hereditaments. There are several classes of exemption, some of which only apply for a specified length of time.

To apply, contact us.

New Reliefs for Business Rates from 2017

At the Spring Budget 2017 the Government announced additional funding was available to support businesses facing significant increases in rate bills following the 2017 business rates revaluation.

Three new schemes were announced and are detailed below. The council has awarded relief for all three schemes to those ratepayers it has identified as meeting the eligible criteria for each scheme.

If after reading the information below, you believe you may qualify and have not heard from us please use our general enquiry form to apply to make an application for the scheme you believe you should be considered for.

All ratepayers should continue to pay the amount of Business Rates you have been billed for until notified otherwise.

Support for Pubs

Eligibility criteria - which properties should benefit

The scheme will be available to eligible occupied properties with a rateable value of less than £100,000.

The majority of pubs are independently owned or managed and will not be part of chains.

Where pubs are part of a chain, relief will be available for each eligible property in the chain, subject to meeting State Aid requirements

The relief is up to £1000.00 for 17/18 year only

There is no definitive description of a traditional pub or public house in law which could be readily used to determine eligibility

Therefore for the purposes of this scheme eligible pubs should:

  • be open to the general public
  • allow free entry other than when occasional entertainment is provided
  • allow drinking without requiring food to be consumed
  • permit drinks to be purchased at a bar.

For these purposes, it should exclude:

  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • nightclubs
  • hotels
  • snack bars
  • guesthouses
  • boarding houses
  • sporting venues
  • music venues
  • festival sites
  • theatres
  • museums
  • exhibition halls
  • cinemas
  • concert halls
  • casinos

The proposed exclusions in the list are not intended to be exhaustive and it will be for the council to determine those cases where eligibility is unclear. We will consider broader factors in making this decision but have regard to meeting the stated intent of scheme so that property/business should be able to demonstrate it operates within the characteristics that would lead it to be classified as a pub, for example being owned and operated by a brewery.

Please use our general enquiry form to apply

Supporting Small Business Scheme (SSBR)

This relief will help those ratepayers who as a result of the change in their rateable value at the revaluation are losing some or all of their small business or rural rate relief and, as a result, are facing large increases in their bills.

The scheme will ensure that during the first year 17/18 the bill will not increase by more than £600.00.

The scheme will run for five years and future years increases will be limited to the greater of:

  1. a percentage increase p.a. of 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 15% and 15% 2017/18 to 2021/22 all plus inflation; or
  2. a cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month)

Ratepayers remain in the Supporting Small Businesses relief scheme for either five years or until they reach the bill they would have paid without the scheme.

Please use our general enquiry form to apply

Local West Yorkshire Business Rates Revaluation Relief Scheme

West Yorkshire councils have agreed to award an additional amount of rate relief to those smaller organisations that are facing an increase in the business rates they have to pay because of the revaluation. Initially for one year from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, but may be extended further

The government have made it clear that any relief awarded should only support smaller ratepayers who are facing an increase in their bills following the 2017 revaluation

The Local Scheme

  • The relief applies to all properties with the Rateable Value less than £100,000
  • In 2017/18, the scheme will award all eligible ratepayers 50% of the increase in rates due to the revaluation from 2016 to 2017.
  • Properties that are empty will not be eligible as they do not add to the prosperity of the Region.
  • Legislation prevents the award of any relief to properties occupied by Local or Precepting Authorities (such as the police or fire services) and hence, are likewise ineligible.
  • All national, statutory reliefs and exemptions will be applied before any calculation for this relief can be considered.
  • ALL other relief schemes recently announced, additional small business relief and public house relief should be deducted, before applying the % reduction. This will maximise the funding available to each Council
  • Finally, no relief can be awarded if it would mean an organisation exceeds the state aid de-minimis level (currently €200,000 over 3 years)

It is intended that the relief will follow the property, ie new business will receive relief if they take on a qualifying property part way through the year. Relief will also be adjusted if the amount payable changes.

Please use our general enquiry form to apply

West Yorkshire Business Rates Revaluation Relief Scheme - FAQs

Q. Why is the local West Yorkshire Revaluation Relief scheme only for small and medium RV properties?

  • Councils are looking for a simple scheme that is easy to administer
  • The WY scheme mirrors the existing TR statutory thresholds for small and medium properties.
  • This means that relief will be available to those with a rateable value of up to £100,000
  • The criteria matches the government's ambition that relief is only available to smaller sized ratepayers (This assumes that business with large properties may be better placed to absorb the existing rise in rates without additional support.)

Q. How will different funding levels be dealt with each year?

  • The % awarded across WY Councils (in year 1) should be the same or very similar based on the agreed criteria and design principles.
  • The WY Councils (in year 1) are all seeking to award 50% of any rise in business rates following the award of all other reductions and reliefs, ie TR, Pubs, SBR etc.
  • All WY Councils reserve the right to amend this % awarded (in year; and at for each new financial year) based on any additional information, the level of grant funding and/ or legislative guidance.

Q. Are any properties specifically excluded from the WY scheme?

  • State schools and other council buildings are excluded due to section 47 of the of the Local Government Act 1988
  • Police and Fire authority premises are also excluded under section 47 of the of the Local Government Act 1988
  • Empty properties are excluded from the WY scheme, therefore relief can only be awarded if the property if occupied and trading
  • Large RV properties as defined by the existing national TR scheme are excluded.
  • Multi-National companies have been excluded due to the State Aid restrictions.

Q Will the relief end if the occupier changes in a property?

  • The relief would follow a property, ie new occupiers would also receive the relief up to 31 March

Q. Will business rate accounts be adjusted after the relief is awarded if there is a change in circumstances? (ie backdate RV reductions, additional relief awarded, or property vacated etc.)

  • Yes the business rate charge will be amended due to any changes in circumstances where it would affect the level of relief awarded. The effective date would be the date of change.

Q. Can awards be made for the same company with more than one property?

  • Yes, the proposal is to award a set % for all increases in Rates after all reductions and reliefs have been awarded.
  • It is not the intention to make any award to those that will be affected by the state-aid provisions. However, if an award is made, then the organisation is responsible for notifying the WY Councils to this effect.

Q. What will happen if we don’t spent or use up all of the proposed funding?

  • The government have not confirmed if underspends will have to be re-paid or if they can be moved between years. This will therefore be determined later in the year.

Please use our general enquiry form to apply

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