SMEs, Can You Claim These Business Rate Reliefs?

The reassessment of rateable values and consequent changes in business rates have been big news recently. Help is available for many small businesses, but not all businesses are claiming the reliefs they should. Councils are urging small business to get their applications in before they face big bills.

Is your business entitled to any of these reliefs?

Small Business Rate Relief

Currently:

  • Small businesses do not have to pay business rates on a property with a rateable value of £6,000 or less until 31 March 2017. Relief is then given on a sliding scale for properties up to a rateable value of £12,000.
  • If your property has a rateable value below £18,000 (£25,500 in London), you won’t get small business rate relief, but you’re still classed as a small business, meaning your bill will be calculated using the small business multiplier, which is lower than the standard one.
  • If you have more than one property, you’ll keep getting any existing relief on your main property for 12 months and can carry on doing so if neither property has a rateable value above £2,600 and the total rateable value of all your properties is less than £20,000 (£28,000 in London).

From 1st April 2017:

  • These limits are increased. You won’t pay business rates on your property if its rateable value is £12,000 or less. For properties with a rateable value of £12,001 to £15,000, the rate of relief will go down gradually from 100% to 0%.
  • If your property has a rateable value below £51,000, you will be classed as a small business and your bill will be calculated using the small business multiplier.
  • If you have more than one property, you will still get small business rate relief on your main property for 12 months. You’ll retain the relief after this if none of your other properties have a rateable value above 2,900 and the total rateable value of all properties is less than £20,000 (£28,000 in London).

To apply for small business rate relief, contact your local council to apply for small business rate relief.

There may be alternative or additional reliefs that you can claim on behalf of your business.

Transitional Relief

Transitional relief limits how much your bill can change each year as a result of revaluation. If you qualify, your bill change will be phased in gradually. To be eligible, your property must be in England and your business rates must have increased or decreased by a certain amount.

If you’re eligible, changes to your bill will be phased in gradually. This will be done automatically by your local council, but if you would like to estimate your business rates and discover how much transitional relief you can search for your property and business rate details. The Department for Communities and Local Government has details of transitional relief following the 2017 revaluation.

Rural Rate Relief

If your business is in a rural area with a population of below 3,000, it may qualify for rural rate relief. If it is:

  • the only village shop or post office, with a rateable value of up to £8,500
  • the only public house or petrol station, with a rateable value of up to £12,500

Currently: You can receive a 50% relief on your business rates (which local councils may top up to 100%).

From 1 April 2017: You’ll get 100% off your business rates if you apply and qualify for rural rate relief.

Contact your local council to apply for rural rate relief.

Other Reliefs

  • Enterprise Zones: If you’re starting up a business in an enterprise zone (or relocating it to one), you could qualify for business rates relief amounting to £55,000 a year over 5 years. Find your local enterprise zoneto check whether it offers business rates relief, and how and when to apply.
  • Charitable Relief: Charities and community amateur sports clubs can apply for charitable rate relief of up to 80% if a property is used for charitable purposes. Your local council may also give ‘discretionary relief’ to top this up to 100% – and they may give discretionary relief to other non-profit or voluntary organisations. Contact your local councilto check if you’re eligible.
  • Hardship Relief: This is given by local councils in England. To be eligible, you must satisfy your council that you would be in financial difficulties without it and that giving this this aid to your business in the interests of local people. Contact your local council to explain why you think you’re eligible.
  • Exempted Buildings Relief should be applied automatically. You may not have to pay business rates on agricultural land and buildings, buildings used for training or welfare of disabled people, buildings registered for public religious worship or church halls. However, there are strict legal requirements for these exemptions. If you think your business’s property should be exempt, appeal to the Valuation Office Agency(VOA).
  • Empty Buildings Relief should be applied automatically, so if you think your business qualifies but isn’t receiving it, contact your council. The relief exempts you from paying business rates on empty buildings for 3 months. This may be extended in certain circumstances for industrial buildings, listed buildings and premises owned by charities or sports clubs.

 

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