Business rates discounts and exemptions

Businesses may be eligible for a discount in their business rates known as a relief.

If you wish to apply for relief then please select one of the below options:

Small Business Rate Relief

You can get Small Business Rate Relief if the rateable value of your property is below £15,001 and meets either of the below criteria:

  • it is your only business property
  • it is your main business property, but you also have other business properties each with rateable values under £2,900 and the total rateable value of all properties is less than £20,000.

The main property receives the discount.

If you already get Small Business Rate Relief and add a second business property, you’ll continue to receive your existing discount for 12 months.

Small Business Rate Relief is on a sliding scale:

  • properties with a rateable value of up to £12,000 get 100% relief
  • properties with a rateable value between £12,001 and £15,000 relief goes down gradually from 100% at £12,001 to 0% at £15,000

Find out what the current Small Business Rates Relief are.

To apply

You’ll need your:

  • full business address including postcode
  • 10-digit business rate account number (starting with 88)

Apply for Small Business Rates Relief

Change of circumstances

You must tell us of the following changes if:

  • you occupy an extra business property
  • the rateable value of any of your property changes

Tell us of a change of circumstances

Even if you are not eligible for Small Business Rate Relief, we will calculate your bill using the lower small business multiplier rather than the standard multiplier if both the below apply:

  • the rateable value of the property is less than £51,000
  • no other relief or unoccupied rates apply

Empty property relief

You do not have to pay business rates on empty buildings for 3 months or for 6 months where the property is industrial or a warehouse.

If the property is an empty new build, there is an 18-month rate free relief period.

After this most businesses must pay full business rates unless:

  • a charity owns the property and the next use will be mostly for charitable purposes
  • a community amateur sports club owns the property and the next use is likely to be for the club
  • the rateable value is less than £2,900 (since 1 April 2017)
  • the law prohibits the owner from occupying the property
  • the property is a listed building
  • the property is an Ancient Monument
  • a deceased person’s estate is the owner
  • if the following insolvency or debt administration situation exists:
    • a bankruptcy order is issued
    • the owner is a trustee under a deed of arrangement
    • the owner is a company subject to a winding up order
    • the owner is a company in administration

To apply

You’ll need your:

  • 10-digit business rate account number (starting with 88)
  • full address including postcode

Apply for empty property relief

Charitable and not for profit organisations

If you use your property either wholly or mainly for charitable purposes, you will get an 80% discount.

We can also apply a discount if not for profit organisations use it.

Please see our Discretionary Rate Relief Policy.

To apply

Complete the application form [pdf] 90KB and then return by email or by post.

Hardship rate relief

If you are a ratepayer in difficulty, we may be able to help. You may be able to apply for a discretionary hardship rate relief.

You might be able to get this relief if your business is suffering hardship and all the following apply:

  • the circumstances leading to the hardship are both beyond the control of the business and outside of the normal risks associated with running a business
  • the difficulties are temporary and the business has a good chance of being viable in the long term
  • the business might fail if we do not give hardship relief

You must be able to show you are taking steps to help yourself overcome the problems you are facing.

You cannot get hardship relief to help set up a new business unless the viability of the business is threatened by events you could not reasonably have foreseen.

If we decide to give a discount you could get up to 100% off your bill

To apply

You’ll need the following information:

  • the address/es relating to the application
  • a detailed explanation of why you are asking for rate relief
  • 3 years audited accounts
  • a statement explaining why payment of business rates would cause hardship
  • a statement detailing what solutions you have explored to increase profitability and to reduce outgoings
  • a note on how many employees you have
  • a list of any other local business you deal with together with reasons
  • any other relevant information

Apply for hardship rate discount

What happens next

We'll look at your application considering what you tell us about the situation and the efforts you are making to help yourself. As hardship relief is a discretionary relief, we also must consider whether giving you relief is the right use of Council Taxpayer’s money.

We look at what is reasonable financially and at whether the loss of the business would harm the local community.

We are more likely to give hardship relief in situations where:

  • there will be job losses if we do not
  • a business supplies the only goods or services of a specific type in the local area
  • the business supplies specialist goods or services that are not widely available

Once we have made our decision, we will send you a new bill or let you know why you cannot get a discount.

We try to make decisions within 4 weeks of getting all the information.

If you disagree with our decision, you can appeal by emailing us.

Hardship rate relief does not renew but you can reapply each year.

Help for rural areas

You could get rural rate relief if your business is in a rural area with a population below 3,000.

You will not pay business rates if your business is in an eligible area and is either of the below:

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

To apply

Please include the following in your request to us:

  • 10-digit business rate account number (starting with 88)
  • full address including postcode

Apply for help for rural areas

Partly occupied properties

You must pay the full rates even if your property is only partly occupied.

We can give a discretionary temporary discount if you are using only part of your property and the unused part will only be for a short time.

The relief for the unoccupied area would apply for 3 months (or 6 months if it is an industrial property). It would stop at the end of a rating year.

We apply the discount if the partial occupation is temporary and typical reasons are:

  • the business is moving into a property gradually over a period of months
  • the business is moving out of a property gradually, over a period of months
  • the business has moved temporarily and parts of the premises are unoccupied
  • the property has sustained damage and some parts are unusable

To apply

You’ll need the following information:

  • 10-digit business rate account number (starting with 88)
  • full address including postcode
  • a detailed plan showing the occupied/unoccupied areas including measurements
  • date part occupation starts
  • reasons for part occupation
  • plans for unoccupied part
  • date part occupation ends

Before considering an application, an inspector will visit the property.

Apply for partly occupied property relief

Supporting small businesses relief

If you have lost some or all your Small Business Relief or Rural Rate Relief in the 2017 revaluation you may be entitled to this discount.

This discount limits the the increase in rates to the greater of either:

  • a cash value of £600 per year
  • a percentage increase per year from 2017/18 until 2021/22.

We automatically calculate the discount, there is no need to apply for it.

Retail relief and expanded Retail Discount

If you have a retail, hospitality or leisure property you may be eligible for a business rate discount.

From April 2020 to June 2021 you can get a 100% discount.

From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022 the discount is 66%.

From 1 April 2021 there is no rateable value limit on this discount. Expanded Retail Relief is not subject to State Aid limits.

The maximum amount you can get is:

  • £2 million for businesses who had to close from 5 January 2021 under the national restrictions
  • £105,000 for businesses that could stay open after 5 January 2021

You may qualify for this discount if your property is occupied and your business is a:

  • shop
  • restaurant, café, bar or pub
  • cinema or music venue
  • hospitality or leisure business, for example a gym, spa, casino, hotel or self-catering accommodation

In most cases we have automatically applied the discount. If we have not applied the discount and you think you are eligible then please apply below.

If you’re eligible for this discount we’ll send you a new bill showing you how much you’ll have to pay for the rest of the year.

If you’re not eligible for the discount we’ll write and tell you why we made the decision.

Apply for Retail Rate Relief

You can opt out of the relief but you will not be able to opt back in.

Nursery Discount

You will eligible for this discount if both the below apply to your property:

  • occupied by a childcare provider listed on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage

The maximum award is £105,000 as these properties were not required to close on 5 January 2021.

Apply for a Nursery Discount