Frequently asked questions

Common Questions About Business Rates

There is no such thing as a silly question. If you think we can help please get in touch.

If you would like to appoint us as your Non-Domestic Rating agent, you will need to create a Government Gateway account in order for the Business Rates on your premises to be challenged. The system for doing so is maintained by the Valuation Office Agency, but if you contact us we can talk you through the process.

Government Gateway -

Tax Service -

Mostly the answer is YES, however there are some discrepancies. In England and Wales there is no rates payable for the first three months if a property is vacant, or for the first six months for industrial and warehouse property. After that, rates are payable at the full occupied rate. Some new property and some retail property may be temporarily exempt from rates for new occupiers. The local council (billing authority) has discretionary powers to grant relief for various reasons as well. If relief is granted, the rateable value will be apportioned by the valuation officer and full rates will be payable on the part that is occupied, and empty rates will apply to the unoccupied parts of the property. This can be negotiated by any rates specialist.

Please Note: There are schemes that have been upheld in Court to assist in mitigating reliability with empty properties. These should be implemented with great care and the assistance of a rating specialist to avoid potential legal issues.

City Supplements are a mitigation on the Business Rate in order to fund particular local projects that influence primarily to the economic development or regeneration of the local area. These are called BID Schemes (Business Improvement Districts) which, if successful, run for five years. There are over fifty BIDs already established across the UK with more planned in the future. Examples include additional anti-terrorism projects. Other supplements may be included, for instance there is one to fund Cross-Rail development in London. Hyperlink to all BIDS

Recently announced reliefs include a Retail Scheme that discounts rates demands by £2,500 for nearly all retail establishments with an RV under £50,000 over this year and next year. It is important to ensure you get this if you are entitled to it. Pubs, restaurants, some gyms and even some plant hire companies may well be entitled even though they do not fit the general idea of what a retail establishment is. Get in touch with us to make sure you are not missing out(Hyperlink to contact form).

Charity Organizations and Community Amateur Sports Clubs may receive up to 80% mandatory relief. Non-profit-making organizations may apply to the billing authority for discretionary relief (up to 100%). This application must be renewed each year. Small businesses can apply for Small Business Rates relief as long as the aggregate RVs of their main and any ancillary properties are below £18,000 Relief is available at 100% for assessments less than £6,000 and the amount of relief reduces on a sliding scale to nil at RV £12,000 (for £12,000 to £18,000 RVs a slightly smaller rate in the pound is used).

It may be worth investigating if other reliefs – such as Rural Relief and Hardship Relief – may be applied to your bill. Temporary discounts for the effects of issues such as fire or flood can also be pursued.

For the most up to date information, please visit our 'Grants, Reliefs and Other Support' page.

Occupied Properties: The person or company that occupies the premises needs to pay the business rates. Sometimes the landlord of the property may charge the occupier a rent that also includes an amount for the business rates. However, it remains a private matter between the landlord and the occupier to decide who is going to make payment, however the bill will remain in the name of the occupier, and if it is not paid, action will be taken against the occupier, not the landlord, to recover the amount due.

Unoccupied Properties: The person or company that has the right to occupy the property needs to pay any charge that is due (e.g. the leaseholder, tenant or the freeholder). If a tenant moves out of a property but still holds the lease, the tenant remains liable to pay any unoccupied rate charge that becomes due until the expiry of the lease. If, however the tenant’s lease ends, the landlord will be liable for the charge.

The Local Billing Authority work out your bill by multiplying the rateable value of your property by the appropriate rate multiplier, which the Government sets each April.

For example, the rate poundage for 2016/2017 is 49.7 pence in the £ (for larger properties in England outside of the City of London). If your rateable value was £20,000 you would multiply this by 49.7 pence and the amount you would have to pay for the year would be £9,940.

The amount quoted in the example may be subject to any transitional arrangements that may apply to the property and does not include any entitlement to Small Business Rate Relief which the occupier may be entitled to apply for.

Most commercial premises are assessed for business rates and have a rateable value set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). Residential accommodation is generally treated as domestic premises and is subject to council tax. Although having a Rateable Value, some properties may be exempt from some or all Business Rates liability – anything related to agriculture, religion or charity are examples.

The Rateable Value of a property is based upon the open market rental value at the Antecedent Valuation Date (AVD) – 1st April 2015 for the current rating period. The AVD fixes the date at which the rental value is assessed which is two years before each rating list comes into force. The most recent revaluation became effective on the 1st April 2017. Values are normally derived from gathering average rental amounts from a group of similar properties in the same area – an averaging system that may not take into account conditions at your individual property.

This does not mean however that the current economic climate is a considering factor. However, changes to trading conditions, or physical changes to property or local area, can be argued to have an effect on values as the reasonable hypothetical tenant would have taken these into consideration had they been in place at the AVD

This is the new system brought in by the Valuation Office on 1st April 2017. It allows for a more structured process with markers at certain points of the process. LINK to this page on web.

The following are a list of Phrases that may need some elaboration on the website to allow for easier reading when viewing the site.
  • Non-domestic Rating Sector/ Business Rates 
    • The terms applied to the bill received by every company where Business rates is applicable. This is prepared by the local authority and is based on the multiplier. A standard multiplier is used if your rateable value is £51,000. Anything below £51,000 uses the Small business multiplier.
  • Valuation Office Agency
    • This is an executive agency sponsored by HMRC. The VOA gives the government the valuations and property advice needed to support taxation & benefits.
  • RV x Multiplier
    • This is the amount used to calculate the Non-domestic business rates. The calculation is the RV x Multiplied = the amount payable.
  • Check, Challenge, Appeal
  • City Supplements/ Area
    • These are a Business Rates partnership which looks at improving an arear. It usually involves both the local community & the local authority.
  • Rural Relief / Hardship Relief
    • Rural relief applies if there is only 1 type of a business within a community i.e. the only Post office or Village shop. Hardship Relief is only available if you would be experiencing financial difficulty without.
  • Transitional Arrangements
    • This is a Scheme in place for the rate payers who would see a significant increase in the bills they receive. The schemes are applied to properties at the point of revaluation.
  • Antecedent Valuation Date of 2015
    • This is the specific date when the Valuation Office have taken the open market rental value.
  • Uniform Business Rates
    • It is the business equivalent of the Council Tax. However, business do not get any of the same benefits that residential properties receive.
  • Valuation Tribunal
    • This is the Hearing carried out when it is necessary.
  • Retail Price Index / Consumer Price Index
    • These are measures of inflation published on a monthly basis by the national statistics office.
Contact us if you have any other other questions

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