What are Business Rates?

Business rates (also known as National Non-Domestic Rates) are a tax on business properties. The tax is set by the government, however, local councils are responsible for collecting it.

Under the business rates retention arrangements (introduced in April 2013), councils keep a proportion of the local business rates to spend on local services. By 2020 the Council will be able to retain all its business rate income.

Who is responsible for paying business rates?

Property occupied solely by you/your company

A person (or company) is responsible for business rates for any property they occupy. Even if you only occupy part of the property, you will still be responsible for 100% of the business rates bill.

Unoccupied property

Business rates (100%) are also payable on unoccupied property.

For the first 3 months that a property is unoccupied, or the first 6 months for industrial properties, it is exempt from the empty charge

After this period, the owner or leaseholder of the property (that is, the person who is entitled to possession of the property), is responsible for the empty charge.

There are exemptions for certain other properties eg listed buildings, property owned by companies in administration or liquidation, and properties with a rateable value of below £2900. More information can be found in the "exempt properties" part of our Business rate reliefs and exemptions page.

Joint responsibility

There can be more than one person or company responsible for business rates. Joint occupiers / owners are ‘jointly and severally’ responsible for the business rates bill for the property. This means any of the named parties can be held liable for the whole bill.

How are business rates calculated?

We work out your annual business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate multiplier. The rateable value of your property is shown on your bill and usually represents the annual rent for which the Valuation Office considers the property could have been let on a particular date (currently 1 April 2015).

The multiplier is set annually by the Secretary of State. Any increase in the multiplier cannot exceed the rate of increase in the Retail Price Index, except in a revaluation year.

Multipliers for 2017/18

  • Standard rating multiplier 49.3p (0.493)
  • Small business rating multiplier 48.0p (0.480)

The final bill may be subject to the government's Transitional Relief Scheme. This compares the amount of business rates that were paid in the previous year with the rate that is due in the current year. For more information, see our transitional arrangements page.

More information about Business Rates can be found at www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates.

Previous years' multipliers


Standard rating multiplier

Small Business rating multiplier

2017/18 47.9 46.6
2016/17 49.7 48.4
2015/16 49.3 48.0
2014/15 48.2 47.1
2013/14 47.1 46.2
2012/13 45.8 45.0
2011/12 43.3 42.6
2010/11 41.4 40.7
2009/10 48.5 48.1
2008/09 46.2 45.8
2007/08 44.4 44.1
2006/07 43.3 42.6
2005/06 42.2 41.5
2004/05 45.6  
2003/04 44.4  
2002/03 43.7  
2001/02 43.0  
2000/01 41.6  
1999/00 48.9  
1998/99 47.4  
1997/98 45.8  
1996/97 44.9  
1995/96 43.2  
1994/95 42.3  
1993/94 41.6  
1992/93 40.2  
1991/92 38.6  
1990/91 34.8  

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