Ways in which you may be able to reduce yout Business Rates Bill.
Small Business Rate Relief
You will be eligible for a discount under the small business rate relief scheme in England if you only occupy one property and it has a rateable value below £12,000.
The Government has temporarily doubled the level of relief available. Between 1 October 2010 and 31 March 2013, eligible ratepayers will receive small business rate relief at 100 per cent on properties up to £6,000 (rather than 50 per cent), and a tapering relief from 100 per cent to 0 per cent for properties up to £12,000 in rateable value for that period.
The temporary Small Business Rate Relief increase will therefore apply throughout the whole of the 2012-13 billing year (until 31 March 2013). The relief was originally doubled by the government until September 2011, but this was extended by the Budget in March 2011, and then extended again in the 2011 Autumn Statement to take account of economic conditions.
If you have more than one business property, the discount is only available if the rateable value of each of the other properties is below £2,600. If this is the case, the rateable values of all the properties will be combined and the relief is applied to the main property based on the total rateable value.
However, if you occupy a property with a rateable value below £18,000 (£25,500 in London) and you are not receiving a different mandatory relief, you will be eligible to have your bill calculated using the small business multiplier, regardless of the number of properties you occupy.
The Government has also simplified the process for claiming the relief by removing the legal requirement for an application form in order to claim the relief. However, if you are not receiving the relief and you think that you are eligible, you should contact the Business Rate Team on 01543 464 285 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the current small business multiplier, see the table below.
Charitable and Discretionary Relief
Charities are entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property which is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. Relief is given at 80% of the full rateable charge. Billing Authorities have discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20% of the charity's bill on such a property. Further information is given below.
Authorities also have discretion to remit all or part of any rate bill in respect of property occupied by certain bodies not established or conducted for profit. Further information is given below.
Mandatory Relief (Maximum 80%)
Occupiers of the following qualify for mandatory rate relief:
- Non-domestic premises occupied by a charity or the trustees of a charity where the premises are used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes.
- Non-domestic premises occupied by an organisation, which although not a registered charity, has charitable objectives. A copy of the Articles of Association or the constitution of the organisation must be provided for inspection by the Council.
- In the case of charity shops, use of the premises must be wholly or mainly for the sale of goods donated to the charity and the proceeds of the sale (after deductions for expenses) applied for the purposes of the charity.
Discretionary Relief (Maximum 100%)
The Council has a discretionary power to grant relief from rates in respect of non-domestic premises occupied by one of the following:
- Non-profit making organisations whose main objectives are charitable, philanthropic, religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts.
- Non-profit making organisations occupying premises wholly or mainly for the purposes of recreation.
- Organisations entitled to mandatory relief as set out above.
Each application for discretionary relief is considered on an individual basis. The Council's Rate Relief Committee will take into account the criteria, set out below, with which it would expect an organisation to comply, either in whole or in part.
Criteria for Discretionary Relief
- An organisation should have an open membership policy.
- Facilities should be provided for disadvantaged groups e.g. disabled, unemployed, the elderly.
- Facilities should be available to non members e.g. use by schools or say by young people in the case of a cricket club.
- Facilities should be provided by self help or by grants from bodies other than the Council.
- Facilities provided should be complementary to those provided by the Council or relieve the Council of the need to provide such facilities.
- The facilities should, in the main, be for the benefit of persons resident in the local area.
- Rate relief will not normally be granted if an organisation is capable of supporting itself financially without the need for assistance from the Council.
- Organisations which receive direct grant aid through the Council will normally be granted rate relief but the amount of grant aid will be correspondingly reduced.
Additional Criteria for Discretionary Relief in respect of Sports Clubs.
- More than 50% of the membership should be active playing members.
- Generally, no relief will be allowed where an admission fee is charged to the public or where a club is a professional or semi-professional organisation.
- Applications from organisations involved in minority sports will be given sympathetic consideration.
- In the cases of clubs with bar facilities, relief will generally not exceed 50% unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- Sympathetic consideration will be given to organisations affiliated to local or national organisations and where participation in local/national events publicises and promotes the local area.
Procedure for claiming Rate Relief
- An application form must be completed. A form may be requested from the Business Rates Office.
- The Articles of Association, Constitution or rules of the organisation should be sent to the Business Rates Office.
- Copies of the last annual report and the most recently audited accounts are also required. If audited accounts are not available, financial statements prepared by an appropriate officer of the organisation should be submitted to the Business Rates Office.
- Applications for rate relief are considered by the Council's Rate Relief Committee which meets annually prior to the start of the new financial year and on 2 or 3 occasions during the year to determine applications received during the year.
- Applicants will be advised of the outcome of their applications at the earliest opportunity.
Duration of Rate Relief
- Where an application is determined by the Council prior to 30th September relief will be allowed for both the current and previous financial years where appropriate.
- An application will only be determined for the previous financial year if the application and full supporting information is received in the Business Rates Office not later than 31st August.
- In the cases of applications determined after 30th September, rate relief will only be allowed from 1st April in the current financial year or a later date where appropriate.
- An application for rate relief should be made immediately even if the Valuation Office Agency has not assessed a rateable value for the premises.
If you feel your organisation may be entitled to relief, please make an application immediately. A form may be requested from the Business Rates Office or can also be downloaded below.
Please ensure you also submit the supporting evidence as described above.
Rural Rate Relief
In 1997 The Local Government and Rating Act provided for a new rural rate relief scheme. This scheme introduced mandatory relief for the sole post office or village shop/general store in rural settlements of less then 3,000 people and provided local authorities with discretionary powers to reduce rate bills of other businesses in the settlement. It came into force on 1 April 1998 and has subsequently been extended to include the sole village pub and petrol filling station. The village shop scheme has also been modified to include all food shops. Further legislation, which came into force on 1 April 2002, has amended the way in which rural areas are identified to receive rate relief.
The Rate Relief Scheme
The scheme involves a twin track approach comprising mandatory rate relief, giving certain ratepayers statutory entitlement to 50% relief, and a further discretionary element that allows local authorities to provide:
- Top-up relief up to 100% to those ratepayers in receipt of mandatory rate relief; and
- Up to 100% relief to other rural shops and businesses that are of benefit to the local community.
The Mandatory Scheme
To qualify for 50% mandatory rate relief, the property must:
- Be within the boundaries of the designated rural area;
- Be in a qualifying rural settlement of 3,000 people or less;
- Be a food shop or be used, in whole or in part, as a general store or a post office or both and have a rateable value of less than £8,500. OR
- Be a public house or a petrol filling station and have a rateable value of less than £12,500;
- Be either the only general store, the only post office, the only public house or the only petrol filling station in the settlement but not necessarily the only food shop:
The Discretionary Scheme
The Council will be able to grant additional relief up to 100% to any food shop, general store, post office, public house or petrol filling station that qualifies for mandatory rate relief.
In addition, the Council may also grant up to 100% discretionary rate relief to any rural business provided that:
- It is within the boundaries of a designated rural area and qualifying settlement;
- It has a rateable value of less than £16,500;
- It is used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community; and
- it is reasonable for the Council to make such a decision having regard to the interests of persons liable to pay council tax set by it.
Relief is not limited to any particular type of business. Nor does it have to be the only such shop or business in the settlement. For example, where there are two general stores, post offices, public houses or petrol filling stations, which would disqualify them both from mandatory relief, each could qualify for discretionary relief.
Authorities may grant discretionary rate relief for a financial year for up to six months after the end of that year.
Legislation sets out the following definitions:-
Rural Areas: The areas now specified as rural for the purposes of the scheme include the whole of England apart from those urban areas that have a population of more than 10,000 as designated in the Non-Domestic Rating (Designation of Rural Areas) (England) Order 2001.
These rural areas are identified by means of maps specially produced, using graphical information technology, for each local authority area. The Cannock Chase Map is available for public inspection at the Cannock Office through the Business Rates Section.
Rural Settlements: The settlements which are to be included on each authority's rural settlements list are those which are:
- wholly or party within the authority's area;
- wholly or partly within the designated rural area; and
- appear to the authority to have had a population of 3,000 or less on the preceding 31st December.
Once a rural settlement list comes into effect, it will remain in force for the whole of the financial year irrespective of any change in the size of the community during that year.
The qualifying settlements currently identified on the Cannock Chase Rural Settlement List are as follows:-
All of Brindley Heath Parish
All of Cannock Wood Parish
Slitting Mill within Rugeley Parish
Prospect Village, Cannock
Post Office: To qualify as a post office the business must be used for the purposes of the post office (within the meaning of the Post Office Act 1953). The property must have a rateable value of less than £8,500 and be the only property being so used in the settlement concerned.
General Store: To qualify as a general store the premises must be one in which there is carried on a trade or business consisting wholly or mainly of the sale by retail of both food for human consumption (excluding confectionery) and general household goods. A shop that only sold general household goods but no food would be unable to qualify as would a shop
that only sold food but no household goods. The latter shop may, however, qualify in its own right as a Food Shop (see below). It must also have a rateable value of less than £8,500 and be the only property being so used in the settlement concerned.
"Excluding confectionery" simply means that confectionery does not count as food for the purposes of deciding whether a shop is a general store.
Where there are two general stores within the same settlement, neither can qualify for mandatory rate relief. However, if either functions as a post office, relief may be claimed independently on that ground. It is, however, entirely possible for both a general store and a post office in the same settlement to qualify for mandatory rate relief, provided that they both meet the criteria.
Food Shop: To qualify as a food shop the premises must be one in which there is carried on a trade or business consisting wholly or mainly of the sale by retail of food for human consumption. However, this must exclude confectionery - as above - and also exclude the supply of food in the course of catering. The property must also have a rateable value of less than £8,500.
The supply of food in the course of catering includes any supply of food for consumption on the premises and any supply of hot food for consumption off the premises.
Where there are 2 or more food shops meeting the criteria within the same settlement, for example a butchers, bakers and greengrocers, each may qualify for mandatory relief.
Public House: To qualify as a public house the business must operate in premises for which a justices' on-licence (within the meaning of the Licensing Act 1964, other than a Part IV licence within the meaning of that Act) is in force. The property must have a rateable value of less than £12,500 and be the only property being so used in the settlement concerned.
Petrol Filling Station: To qualify as a petrol filling station the business must retail petrol or other automotive fuels to the general public for fuelling motor vehicles intended or adapted for use on roads. The property must have a rateable value of less than £12,500 and be the only property being so used in the settlement concerned.
Unnoccupied Property Rating
Non-domestic properties which are unoccupied, may be liable to empty property rates.
For more information on this topic please visit the Empty Properties section.
Partly Occupied Property Relief
If a property is only partly occupied, the billing authority has discretion to request that the valuation officer apportions the property's rateable value between its occupied and unoccupied parts. You may therefore be able to claim a rate relief known as a Section 44a Relief.
From 1 April 2008, the empty part will receive a complete exemption from rates for the first 3 months it is empty (or, if it is an industrial property, for the first 6 months). After the initial rate-free period expires, in most cases the apportionment will cease to have effect and the occupied business rate will apply to the whole property. However, if the property would qualify for the new zero rate or for an exemption from rates when empty, the apportionment will continue to have effect and the owner will not be liable for rates on the empty part. The relief will cease at the end of the financial year or if the ratepayer vacates the whole premises or reoccupies the vacant part.
An application form is available from the Business Rates Office or is available to download below. Please complete and return, together with a plan which outlines the occupied and unoccupied parts of your property to:
Local Taxation Section
Cannock Chase District Council
PO Box 28
An officer of the council will arrange to visit the premises in order to verify the empty parts. The application will then be sent to the valuation officer in order for them to issue a certificate showing the occupied and unoccupied charges.
For further information, please contact the Business Rates Section on our Helpline Number: 01543 464282
Appeals against Rateable Value
If you think your rateable value is wrong, you can make a proposal to alter it. This is know as making an appeal.
For more information on making an appeal please visit our section on appealing against Rateable Value.
Last Updated: 07/09/2015