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Discounts and exemptions for business rates

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Rateable value explained and how to use a rating advisor

Rateable value explained and how to appeal 

Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. They draw up and maintain a full list of all rateable values. You can also contact them by phone on 03000 501 501.

The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on 1st April 2017, this date was set as 1st April 2015. 

The valuation officer at the VOA may alter the value if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can appeal against the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Full details on your rights of appeal are available from the Valuation Office Agency. Your billing authority can only backdate any business rates rebate to the date from which the list is changed by the VOA. 

Further information about the grounds on which appeals may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the website or obtained from your local valuation office.

Using a rating advisor

Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV) are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct.

Before you employ a rating adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.

Discounts and exemptions for business rates

Applying for small business rates or charitable relief

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 (and who are not entitled to other mandatory relief or are liable for any unoccupied property rates) will have their bill calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier.

In addition, if the sole or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value which does not exceed £15,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 100%.

For a property with a rateable value of not more than £12,000, the ratepayer will receive a 100% reduction in their rates bill. Generally, this percentage reduction (relief) is only available to ratepayers who occupy either:

(a) One property, or
(b) One main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value which does not exceed £2,899.

The rateable value of the property mentioned in (a), or the aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b), must not exceed £27,999 on each day for which relief is being sought. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable value, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase.

The Government has introduced additional support to small businesses. For those businesses that take on an additional property, which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, the Government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.

Where a ratepayer meets the eligibility criteria and is not currently in receipt of the relief, they should contact the business rates section.

Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the business rates section by a ratepayer who is in receipt of relief. Other changes will be picked up by the local authority. The changes which should be notified are:

(a) The ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property, and
(b) An increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted the relief.

Registered charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the club. The property must be mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the purposes of the club (or of that and other clubs).

Full details can be obtained by contacting the business rates section

Non-Profit Organisations

A discretionary relief can also be granted to non-profit organisations. To find out if your organisation is eligible and how to apply, please visit the following page Discretionary Rate Relief Support

Apply for small business rates or charitable relief

Exemptions for unoccupied properties

Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period, rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by order of the Government.

In most cases the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by registered charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate. If the unoccupied property rate for the financial year has been reduced by order, it will be shown on the front of your bill.

Full details can be obtained from the business rates section

How can I tell you about my vacant property?

If you are going to vacate a property, or have already left one vacant please notify the business rates team.

Getting partly occupied property relief (S44a)

A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for only a short period of time, the local authority has the discretion to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. These awards will not be made retrospectively and will require an Inspection by one of our officers on site to verify the claim.

Full details can be obtained from the business rates section

Getting local business rate discount

We are able to award a local business rate discount, provided the exemption will have a positive and sustained impact for the local residents and taxpayers within the Borough. The Council must partly bear the cost of any relief granted, so it is imperative that any relief given by us can be seen to have met these criteria.

We take the following criteria into account when considering these requests:

  • whether the organisation provides substantial and essential long-term benefits to both the community and the council tax payer, such as increasing employment or improving amenities available to the local community
  • whether there are other businesses in Camden which provide the same or similar services or facilities, and whether the award could have an anti-competitive effect on other businesses within the Borough

If you believe that your business case for a reduction meets the above criteria, please write to the Taxation Manager, Council Tax and Business Rates Division, PO Box 785, Redhill, RH1 9JB setting out why you believe you qualify for a reduction.

Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) 

Businesses that received no financial support during the 2021/22 financial year following the Government’s pandemic response, might be eligible for CARF Relief, if still struggling to pay down business rates arrears.

Find out more about our COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund.

Improvement relief  

Improvement relief supports businesses who have invested in their property. If you make certain improvements to your property, you may get relief from higher business rates bills. The relief lasts for 12 months from when the improvement works were completed. 

You do not need to apply for improvement relief or do anything differently. If you are eligible for improvement relief, we will apply the relief to your bills.  

Visit GOV.UK to check if you may be eligible for improvement relief. 

If you are eligible for improvement relief, you will receive a certificate from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The VOA will provide the same information to us.  

We will apply the relief and send you a revised bill, if they are satisfied you meet the occupation requirements. This means that you have occupied the property during and after the improvement works.  

If you have received a certificate but think there is something wrong, you should let the VOA know. You can contact the VOA using the email address on your letter.