Unoccupied and unfurnished

Properties that have been empty for less than three months, or in the case of some industrial properties, for less than six months will receive an exemption from Business Rates. After those initial three or six months rate-free periods, the responsible party will then be liable for 100% of the Business Rates. Please note that this exemption applies from the first day that the property becomes unoccupied, regardless of any change in liable party. Properties with a rateable value of under £2900 will remain exempt until they are no longer unoccupied.

If you would like to apply for this exemption then please complete the online form below.

Partially occupied

If a property is only partly occupied, the Council has the discretion to request that the Valuation Officer apportions the property’s Rateable Value between its occupied and unoccupied parts. Normal rates would then be charged on the occupied part, with the rules for empty property rating, as described above, applying to the unoccupied part. If you would like to apply for this then please contact us to arrange for a visiting officer to view your property.

Uninhabitable

If a property is not capable of beneficial occupation, for instance if it is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired, and has not been intentionally damaged to avoid payment of rates, the Valuation Office may judge that it should be taken out of the rating list altogether. Please contact the Valuation Office for further information

 

Who is eligible for Small Business Rate Relief?

Small business rate relief can only be claimed for one property. The relief is only available to ratepayers who occupy either:

  • one property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less or;
  • one main property and other additional properties providing the additional properties each have a rateable value below £2,900,and the aggregate rateable value of all your properties is below £20,000.

In addition:

  • if the rateable value is £12,000 or less you will get a 100% discount;
  • if the rateable value is between £12,001 and £15,000, the discount is calculated on a sliding scale between 0 – 100%.

You will not be entitled to Small Business Rate Relief if:

  • You are in receipt of Mandatory Charitable Relief.
  • The property is unoccupied.

Taking on additional properties

In previous years, if you took on a second property with a rateable value of more than £2,899 you would no longer qualify for Small Business Rate Relief. From 14 February 2014 ratepayers continue to receive Small Business Rate Relief on the first property for 12 months, even when taking on a second one.

How do I apply for Small Business Rate Relief?

To apply for SBRR please complete and submit our online form:

Change of circumstances

Certain changes in circumstances need to be notified to the Business Rates team by the ratepayer. The changes which must be notified are:

  1. the ratepayer taking up occupation of a property they did not occupy at the time of making their application for relief, and
  2. an increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer, and
  3. the hereditament becoming unoccupied.

Mandatory Relief

When a non-domestic property is occupied by a charity or a Community Amateur Sports Club it may qualify for 80% mandatory charitable relief.

Charities

With regard to occupied property, two requirements must be met:

  1. the ratepayer must be a charity or trustees for a charity; and
  2. the hereditament must be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes (whether of that charity or of that and other charities).

With regard to unoccupied property, two requirements must be met:

  1. the ratepayer must be a charity or trustees for a charity; and
  2. it must appear that when next in use the hereditament will be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes (whether of that charity or of that and other charities).
Exempt Charities

If you are an exempt charity we would require a letter from Inland Revenue saying you are entitled to an exemption from taxes under the provisions of section 505 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988. Please send this evidence in with your application.

Community Amateur Sports Clubs

Two requirements must be met:

  1. the rate payer must be registered as a Community Amateur Sports Club under the Corporation Tax Act 2010; and
  2. the hereditament must be wholly or mainly used for the purposes of the club itself, or for the purposes of the club and other Community Amateur Sports Clubs.

An application form can be downloaded below to complete and return.

Mandatory Rate Relief for Charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs

Once entitlement is established, relief will continue from year to year without re-application but a check will be made from time to time to confirm the above conditions are still met.

Any change in entitlement to this relief must be notified to the Business Rates team within 28 days including if the hereditament becomes empty. New occupiers will need to make their own application.

Discretionary Relief

Further relief for Charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs from all or part of the remaining 20% of their rate charge can be allowed.

An application form for this relief can be downloaded below.

Discretionary Rate Relief for Charities, Sports Clubs and Voluntary Organisations

Please complete and return both pages of the form. Applications MUST be accompanied by the audited accounts and forecasts specified in the form.

A fresh application is required each financial year for relief to continue.

Voluntary Organisations and Sports Clubs (not Community Amateur Sports Clubs)

Relief of up to 100% can be allowed to institutions or organisations, not established or conducted for profit and whose main objects are charitable, philanthropic, religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts.  An application for this relief may be downloaded. The completed application MUST be accompanied by the copies of the accounts and forecasts shown.

Relief of up to 100% can be allowed to the ratepayers of properties wholly or mainly used for purposes of recreation, and the occupier is a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit. Application for this relief can be made on the form which may be downloaded. Applications MUST be accompanied by the copies of the accounts and forecasts shown.

Discretionary Rate Relief for Charities, Sports Clubs and Voluntary Organisations

Mandatory Relief

General Stores, Food Shops and Post Offices may be entitled to Mandatory Rural Rate Relief of 100%, provided they meet the following conditions:

  1. They must be within a “Rural Settlement” (defined in the Rural Settlement List compiled by the Council).
  2. The rateable value of the property must not exceed £8500.
  3. They must be used, in whole or part, as a General Store, Food Shop or Post Office.
  4. They must be the only General Store, Food Shop or Post Office in the settlement.

A General Store, Food Shop and a Post Office in the same settlement can qualify for relief.

A General Store is one in which the business consists wholly or mainly of the sale by retail of food for human consumption (excluding confectionery) and general household goods.

A Food Shop is one in which the business consists wholly or mainly of the sale by retail of food for human consumption. This excludes confectionary, supply of food for consumption on the premises and supply of hot food for consumption off those premises however Food Shops that only sell a small amount of heated food will be eligible.

An application form for this relief can be downloaded below.

Mandatory Rural Rate Relief for General Stores, Food Shops and Post Offices

Once entitlement is established, relief will continue from year to year without re-application but a check will be made from time to time to confirm the above conditions are still met.  New proprietors will need to make their own application.

Any change in entitlement to this relief must be notified to the Business Rates team within 28 days including if the hereditament becomes empty.

Other Rural Businesses

Relief of up to 100% can be allowed to other village shops and rural businesses, of any sort, located in a “Rural Settlement” provided the property has a Rateable Value that does not exceed £16,500 at the beginning of the rating year concerned, and is used for the purposes which are beneficial to the local community.  The interests of the Council Taxpayers must also be considered. You may download an application form for this relief below which must be accompanied by the copies of the accounts and forecasts shown.

Discretionary Rate Relief for Other Rural Businesses

Mandatory Relief

Public Houses and Petrol Filling Stations may be entitled to Mandatory Rural Rate Relief of 100%, provided they meet the following conditions:

  1. They must be located within a ‘Rural Settlement’ (defined in the Rural Settlement list compiled by the Council).
  2. They must be used as a Public House or a Petrol Filling Station.
  3. The rateable value of the property must not exceed £12,500.
  4. They must be the only Public House or Petrol Filling Station in the settlement.

An application form for this relief can be downloaded below.

Mandatory Rural Rate Relief for Public Houses and Petrol Filling Stations

Once entitlement is established, relief will continue from year to year without reapplication, but a check will be made from time to time to confirm the above conditions are still met. New proprietors will need to make their own application.

Any change in entitlement to this relief must be notified to the Business Rates team within 28 days including if the hereditament becomes empty.

Relief of up to 100% of the rates on ANY property in the District can be allowed on the grounds of hardship.  This means not only the hardship caused to the ratepayers by payment of the rates, but also the loss of the local community by the possible closure of the business, depending on the proximity and availability of alternatives. Applications for this relief can be made on the below form which may be downloaded. Applications MUST be accompanied by the trading accounts and forecasts shown.

In all cases, an applicant is required to provide copies of trading accounts for the past two years, and a forecast for the current year.  If these are not available for any reasons, other evidence of the financial position of the business MUST be provided.  Applications will NOT be considered without this information.  Relief is only allowed for a year at a time, and a fresh application is required each year for relief to be continued.  Applicants are advised to provide as much information as possible with an application, to avoid delays in a decision being made.

Rate Relief on Grounds of Hardship

An expanded retail discount is available for occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties.

The value of the discount, after mandatory and discretionary reliefs have been applied is 100% for the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2021 and 66% from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022.

For the period 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022 the discount will be capped at:

  • £2m for businesses required to close as at 5 January 2021.
  • £105,000 for businesses permitted to open as at 5 January 2021.

Who is eligible for this discount?

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  1. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
  2. for assembly and leisure; or
  3. as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.
1. Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues:

Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public:

  • Shops (such as: florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off licences, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets, etc)
  • Charity shops
  • Opticians
  • Post offices
  • Furnishing shops/ display rooms (such as: carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
  • Car/ caravan show rooms
  • Second hand car lots
  • Markets
  • Petrol stations
  • Garden centres
  • Art galleries (where art is for sale/hire)

Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

  • Hair and beauty services (such as: hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops, etc)
  • Shoe repairs/ key cutting
  • Travel agents
  • Ticket offices e.g. for theatre
  • Dry cleaners
  • Launderettes
  • PC/ TV/ domestic appliance repair
  • Funeral directors
  • Photo processing
  • Tool hire
  • Car hire
  • Employment agencies
  • Estate agents and letting agents
  • Betting shops

Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of food and/ or drink to visiting members of the public:

  • Restaurants
  • Takeaways
  • Sandwich shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Pubs
  • Bars

Hereditaments which are being used as cinemas.

Hereditaments that are being used as live music venues:

  • live music venues are hereditaments wholly or mainly used for the performance of live music for the purpose of entertaining an audience. Hereditaments cannot be considered a live music venue for the purpose of business rates relief where a venue is wholly or mainly used as a nightclub or a theatre, for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended).
  • Hereditaments can be a live music venue even if used for other activities, but only if those other activities (i) are merely ancillary or incidental to the performance of live music (e.g. the sale/supply of alcohol to audience members) or (ii) do not affect the fact that the primary activity for the premises is the performance of live music (e.g. because those other activities are insufficiently regular or frequent, such as a polling station or a fortnightly community event).
2. Assembly and leisure:

Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of sport, leisure and facilities to visiting members of the public (including the viewing of such activities):

  • Sports grounds and clubs
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Nightclubs
  • Sport and leisure facilities
  • Stately homes and historic houses
  • Theatres
  • Tourist attractions
  • Gyms
  • Wellness centres, spas, massage parlours
  • Casinos, gambling clubs and bingo halls

Hereditaments that are being used for the assembly of visiting members of the public.

  • Public halls
  • Clubhouses, clubs and institutions
3. Hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation:

Hereditaments where the non-domestic part is being used for the provision of living accommodation as a business:

  • Hotels, Guest and Boarding Houses
  • Holiday homes
  • Caravan parks and sites

Can I opt out of this discount?

Please email revenuesandbenefits@rother.gov.uk if you wish to opt out of support so that we can issue a revised bill to you.

Who is not eligible for this discount?

In addition to not meeting the criteria listed above those that are not eligible for the Expanded Retail Discount include:

  1. Hereditaments that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public and,
  2. Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:
  • Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, payday lenders, betting shops, pawn brokers)
  • Other services (e.g. estate agents, letting agents, employment agencies)
  • Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
  • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers, tutors)
  • Post office sorting offices.

How do I apply?

Those hereditaments that we have identified as being wholly or mainly used for the above purposes will have the retail discount automatically applied to their business rates bill.

If you have not had this relief applied or are a new business and you believe that you qualify then please email revenuesandbenefits@rother.gov.uk explaining which criteria you meet.

Who is eligible for the discount?

An nursery discount is available for hereditaments occupied by non-local authority providers of Ofsted’s Early Years Register that are wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

The value of the discount, after mandatory and discretionary reliefs have been applied, is 100% for the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2021 and 66% from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022.

For the period 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022 the discount will be capped at £105,000.

Can I opt out of the discount?

Please email revenuesandbenefits@rother.gov.uk if you wish to opt out of support so that we can issue a revised bill to you.

How do I apply?

Those hereditaments that we have identified as being wholly or mainly used for the above purposes will have the discount automatically applied to their business rates bill.

If you have not had this relief applied or are a new business and you believe that you qualify then please email revenuesandbenefits@rother.gov.uk

 

Who is eligible for this relief

The Supporting Small Businesses 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 are facing large increases in their bills.

To support these ratepayers, the Supporting Small Businesses relief will ensure that the increase per year in the bills of these ratepayers is 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. Unlike the transitional relief scheme, for the first year of the scheme the percentage increase is taken against the bill for 31 March 2017 after small business rate relief or rural rate relief , or
  2. a cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month). This cash minimum increase ensures that those ratepayers paying nothing or very small amounts in 2016/17 after small business rate relief are brought into paying something.

A change of ratepayers will not affect eligibility for this relief (unless the property becomes unoccupied).

Those ratepayers who during 2016/17 lost entitlement to small business rate relief because they failed the 2nd property test but have, under the rules for small business rate relief, been given a 12 month period of grace before their relief ended can continue on the scheme for the remainder of their 12 month period of grace.

Who is not eligible for this relief?

  • Those who are not losing some or all of their small business or rural rate relief as a result of the change in their rateable value at the revaluation.
  • Eligibility will be lost if the property falls vacant. For example, if a property falls unoccupied it will not then be eligible for Supporting Small Businesses relief if it subsequently becomes occupied again.
  • Hereditaments eligible for Charity or Community Amateur Sports Club relief are not eligible.

What happens if I qualify?

This relief will be backdated to 1 April 2017 and a revised bill will be issued reflecting the limited increase described above. You will not have to reapply each year.

Any change in entitlement to this relief must be notified to the Business Rates team within 28 days including if the hereditament becomes empty.