Covid 19: Financial Support for Business Rates Payers

The Council is now in receipt of the necessary details from Central Government that will enable us to make immediate payments next week under the above scheme. This will be to all those eligible businesses that qualify and where we currently hold your payment details.

If you pay your business rates by direct debit, this means we have them and the grant payment will be made automatically and you do not need to do anything.

Where you don’t pay by this method, we are going to need you to provide us with some additional information, by completing the form below, so we can process the payment. The two schemes on offer are:-

Scheme 1 - Business Support Grants Fund

This scheme was originally announced in the budget on the 11th March and since then, the level of this grant has increased from £3,000 to £10,000. The current proposal is that all properties in Camden that are in receipt of small business rates relief as of 11th March, including those in receipt of tapered relief (where your rateable value falls between £12,000 - £15,000). You will be eligible for a grant payment of £10,000.

It is important to note however, we will not make awards retrospectively, where the relief is not currently in place, except in exceptional circumstances.

Properties whose liability is calculated using the small business multiplier (where your rateable value is above £15,000, but below £51,000) but are not in receipt of small business rates relief, will not qualify for this grant.

Anyone in receipt of SBRR and wishing to make an application under scheme 1, must complete the application form below to receive it, given we don’t hold your current bank details.

Scheme 2 – Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund

This was announced by the Chancellor on 17th March 2020, with the current proposal being that properties, which would have qualified for the retail discount on 11th March (where they fell within this category and their rateable value was below £51,000) will be entitled to either a grant of £10,000, where your rateable value is £15,000 or less. Where your rateable value is greater than £15,000, but less than £51,000 you will be entitled to a grant of £25,000.

Given these grants will not be expected to be re-paid, State Aid limits are applied, meaning they are capped at an 800,000 euro limit per company.

This will only be applicable to the larger organisations that have several hundred multiple national outlets and it should be of no real concern to the majority of those recipients entitled to receive it.  

If you are worried or have any further questions, you can view more information on the scheme or business rates officers are on hand to answer any of your queries and can be contacted by calling 020 7974 6460.

Government Support Grants for Businesses

 

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 www.gov.uk website or obtained from your local valuation office.

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.

Applying for small business rate relief

Apply for small business rates relief using our online form

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.

Applying for charitable relief

Apply for mandatory charity relief using our online form

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 apply for the relief or for more information contact communities and third sector team

The revaluation support scheme

The Revaluation Support Scheme was introduced in April 2017 and will continue until 31st March 2021 to provide discounts to ratepayers on a discretionary basis. Under the scheme, relief will only be provided where a qualifying ratepayer’s bill has increased due to the 2017 revaluation. .

 

Ratepayers who may benefit from the Scheme will be in occupation of a property with a rateable value of less than £200,000 and whose rates bill has increased by £300 or more.

 

In 2019/2020, the Council will be distributing £1.13m to eligible businesses.

 

General rules regarding qualification:

 

  • businesses must have an increase in their bill of £300 or more, after transitional relief and other discounts and exemptions
  • the 2017 list rateable value must be less than £200,000
  • properties must be in use
  • the revaluation must be the cause of any increase in bill
  • ratepayers must have been in occupation on or before 31 March 2017
  • State Aid rules must be complied with (we will send you a form about this with your new bill)

 

Awards will be automatically allocated to accounts and revised bills issued – businesses would not need to apply for the relief.

 

The following business sectors are excluded from the Discretionary Revaluation Support Scheme:

 

  • payday lenders, betting shops/amusement arcades and pawnbrokers on the basis that they could impact on the financial resilience of local residents through high interest loans and gambling or attract anti-social behaviour
  • sex establishments were identified as impacting on the Council’s commitment to gender equality and local community well-being.
  • under s47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, certain properties are excluded from discretionary business rate relief (excepted hereditaments). These are properties that are occupied in full or part by the billing authority, the Greater London Authority or any of its functional bodies.

 

The amounts of relief are as follows:

 

Change in rates bill               Amount of relief

£300 - £1,999.99                   £150

£2,000 - £4,999.99                £600

£5,000 - £9,999.99                £1,500

£10,000 - £14,999.99            £3,000

£15,000 - £19,999.99            £6,000

£20,000 and over                  £8,000

 

The ranges above will offer relief for all businesses who have had an increase of £300 or more and the relief is in proportion to the change in rates bills with higher relief for those with bigger increases in line with Government guidance of helping those most affected by the revaluation.

Using a rating adviser

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.