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Business Rates Reductions

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Rates Relief for Empty Properties

Empty business properties are exempt from paying business rates for 3 months after the property becomes vacant. There are additional exemptions for certain types of properties under a set rateable value. These include:

  • industrial premises, such as warehouses, which are exempt for a further 3 months
  • listed buildings which are exempt until they become occupied again
  • buildings with a rateable value under £2,600 which are exempt until they become occupied again
  • properties owned by charities, which are exempt if the property's next use is likely to be wholly or mainly for charitable purposes
  • community amateur sports club buildings which are exempt if their next use is likely to be wholly or mainly for a sports club
  • a business whose owner is a company which is subject to a winding-up order made under the Insolvency Act 1986 or which is being wound up voluntarily under that Act
  • a business whose owner is a company in administration within the meaning of paragraph 1 of Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986 or is subject to an administration order made under the former administration provisions within the meaning of article 3 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2003.
  • a business whose owner is entitled to possession only in his or her capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person.

After the exemption period ends, you will be liable for the full business rate bill.

You should notify your local authority when your property becomes vacant and also when it becomes re-occupied.

Rate Relief for Part Occupied Properties (Section 44A)

Where it appears to the authority that part of a property is unoccupied and will remain so for a short period, then the authority can ask the Valuation Office for an apportionment of the rateable value and therefore charge rates on the occupied part. It should be noted that the unoccupied part may still be liable to an empty rate charge.

Small Business Rates Relief in Wales

A new permanent scheme came into force on 1 April 2018. The Welsh Government provides non-domestic rates relief to eligible small businesses. 

  • eligible business premises with a rateable value of up to £6,000 will receive 100% relief; and
  • those with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000 will receive relief on a tapered basis from 100% to zero

The following types of business will continue to get relief as follows:

Registered Childcare Premises
  • eligible registered childcare premises with a rateable value of up to £6,000 receive 100% relief; and
  • those with a rateable value between £6,001 and £20,500 receive relief on a tapered basis from 100% to zero
Post Offices
  • Post offices with a rateable value up to £9,000 receive 100% relief
  • Post offices with a rateable value between £9,001 and £12,000 receive 50% relief
Multiple Occupation Limit

Where a ratepayer is liable for more than two properties on a single local non-domestic rating list (“local list”), and those properties meet only the rateable value conditions, the ratepayer will only receive relief for a maximum of two such properties.


Illustration of approximate percentage of tapered relief

Rateable Value (£)

% Relief

Rateable Value (£)

% Relief

0 – 6,000

100

9,000

50

7,000

83.4

10,000

33.3

8,000

66.6

11,000

16.6

 

Businesses that currently receive a higher rate of relief will receive the rate or relief that is more beneficial. No applications are required, and qualifying businesses will receive this award automatically, with reductions shown on the 2018/2019 Business Rates demands issued in March 2018.

Further information can be found on the Welsh Government Website at:  https://businesswales.gov.wales/business-rates-relief-in-wales

Eligible ratepayers are those:

  • moving from full SBRR to partial SBRR
  • moving from full SBRR to no SBRR
  • moving from partial SBRR to no SBRR
  • staying within partial SBRR but seeing an increase in rateable value
High Street Rate Relief

The £5 million High Street Rate Relief Scheme is aimed at high street retailers in Wales, for example shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes, including those retailers which have seen their rates increase as a result of the 2017 revaluation undertaken by the Valuation Office Agency.

The Welsh Government is providing 2 tiers of high street rate relief, of up to £250 (Tier 1) or up to £750 (Tier 2), to eligible high street retailers occupying premises with a rateable value of £50,000 or less in the 2018-19 financial year, subject to State Aid limits.

Tier 1 properties are those meeting the high street criteria and in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief or Transitional relief on 1 April 2017.

Tier 2 properties are those meeting the high street criteria and not in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief or Transitional relief on 1 April 2017 and also seeing an increase in liability as a result of the 2017 revaluation.

It will be for individual local authorities to decide in each individual case when to grant relief, which will be available from 1 April 2018 until 31 March 2019.

Download information on  High Street Rate Relief Scheme, this guidance includes further detail on the eligibility criteria.

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 rate bill, and billing authorities have discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20% of a charity's bill on such property. 

In addition to this and with effect from 1st April 2004, a mandatory rate relief of 80% will be granted to community amateur sports clubs (CASC), provided that clubs are defined and registered as such with the Inland Revenue. CASC information can be found via the Inland Revenue website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/index.htm  

Business Rates Hardship Relief

Section 49 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 gives billing authorities (the Council) the discretion to reduce or remit the payment of rates for any ratepayer. The Council can do so where it is satisfied that the ratepayer would sustain hardship if it did not do so, and it is reasonable to do so, having regard to the interests of its Council Tax payers.

The Council approved a Business Rates Hardship Relief policy on 7 November 2012. The policy outlines the qualification criteria, and should businesses wish to apply. The policy and application form can be provided upon request to the Revenues Section on 01685 725239.

Self Catering Properties

If your property is in Wales and is commercially available to let as a self-catering property, provided certain criteria are met it will be rated and valued for non-domestic rates. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) works out the rateable value based on the property type, size and location.

From 1 April 2010 in Wales, self-catering property is non-domestic and therefore liable for non-domestic rates, if the VOA is satisfied that:

  • it will be available for letting commercially as self-catering accommodation for short periods totalling 140 days or more in the following 12 month period
  • the ratepayer’s interest in the property enables them to let it for such periods
  • in the 12 months prior to assessment it has been available for letting commercially as self-catering accommodation for short periods totalling 140 days or more
  • the short periods it has actually been commercially let for amounted to at least 70 days during that period

From 1 April 2016 in Wales, the criteria above will continue to apply but there is also a new provision so that:

  • Businesses consisting of several self-catering properties at the same location or within very close proximity have the option to average the number of lettings days of the properties to meet the 70 day criterion where they are let by the same or connected businesses.

You can find full guidance and advice on the rating at  self catering properties in Wales.   

Hydropower Projects

We are providing grants to help eligible hydropower projects with their business rates. Hydropower projects extract energy from water courses to generate electricity. Hydropower projects with a rateable value up to £50,000 can apply for support for 2017-18 (retrospectively) and for 2018-19.

For further information and to apply please see Non-domestic (business) rates support for hydropower.

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