National non-domestic rates
Non-domestic rates, or business rates, collected by local authorities are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1 April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This provides a direct financial incentive for authorities to work with local businesses to create a favourable local environment for growth since authorities will benefit from growth in business rates revenues. The money, together with revenue from council tax payers, revenue support grant provided by the government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by local authorities in your area. Further information about the business rates system, including transitional and other reliefs, may be obtained at www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates.
Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the valuation officers of 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, available at www.voa.gov.uk.
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 2010 revaluation that came into effect on 1 April 2010, this date was set as 1 April 2008. For the 2017 revaluation on 1 April 2017, this date was set as 1 April 2015.
The valuation officer 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 any change to the list is to have effect.
The Valuation Office Agency will continue to fulfil its legal obligations to alter rating assessments if new information comes to light indicating the valuation is inaccurate. Further information about the grounds on which appeals may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the www.voa.gov.uk website or obtained from your local valuation office.
National Non-domestic Rating Multiplier
The local authority works out the business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate multiplier. There are two multipliers: the standard non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The former is higher to pay for small business rate relief. Except in the City of London where special arrangements apply, the government sets the multipliers for each financial year for the whole of England according to formulae set by legislation.
The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.
Business Rates Instalments
Payment of business rate bills is automatically set on a 10 monthly cycle April to January. However, the government legislated in 2014/15 that businesses can request their business rate bills to be spread over 12 months to help with cash flow. If you wish to change your instalment plan to 12 monthly instalments, please contact the business rates team on 01454 86 77 00 or email email@example.com.
Unoccupied Property Rating
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 the government by order. In most cases the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate. Full details on exemptions can be obtained from the business rates team or our website www.southglos.gov.uk/business/business-rates. The front of your bill will detail any periods that you were exempt from paying rates.
Partly Occupied Property Relief
A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. However in exceptional circumstances, where there are practical difficulties in occupying or vacating part or parts of the property, the local authority can award a discretionary relief award in respect of the unoccupied part. Full details can be obtained from the business rates team or www.southglos.gov.uk/business/business-rates.
Small Business Rate Relief
From 1 April 2017 Occupied properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 that are not claiming a mandatory relief will have their charge calculated using the lower Small Business Nondomestic Multiplier. Prior to 1 April 2017 the rateable value had to be less than £18,000 to receive this.
From 1 April 2017 if you occupy a property that has a rateable value of less than £15,000, you may be eligible for a discount on your business rates known as small business rate relief.
The relief is applied on the following scale:
- properties with a rateable value up to and including £12,000 can receive 100% relief
- properties with a rateable value between £12,001 and £14,999 can receive a tapered relief
The relief is available to ratepayers with either;
- one property or
- one main property and other additional properties, providing the additional properties do not have individual rateable values of more than £2,899 and a combined rateable value of all the properties is under £20,000.
Should you have any questions about this relief, or the scheme prior to 1 April 2017, please contact the business rates team or visit our website www.southglos.gov.uk/business/business-rates.
Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the business rates team by a ratepayer who is in receipt of relief (other changes will be picked up by the business rates team). The changes which should be notified are:
- the ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property, and
- 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.
Notification of these changes must be given to the business rates team within four weeks of the change taking place.
Charity and Community Amateur Sports Club Relief
Charities and registered community amateur sports clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the club, and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity, or for the purposes of the club.
The local authority has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Full details can be obtained from the business rates team or our website www.southglos.gov.uk/business/business-rates.
Local authorities have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts. Full details can be obtained from the business rates team or www.southglos.gov.uk/business/business-rates.
The award of such discounts is considered to amount to state aid. However it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013. The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 ‘de minimis’ aid over a rolling three year period. If you are receiving, or have received, any ‘de minimis’ aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), you should inform the local authority immediately with details of the aid received.
The local authority has discretion to give hardship relief in specific circumstances. Full details can be obtained from the business rates team or www.southglos.gov.uk/business/business-rates.
We can now email rate demand notices instead of posting them. If you would like to have your bill safely and securely emailed to you then please contact the Business Rates team on 01454 867700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. Appeals against rateable values can be made free of charge. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS – website www.rics.org) and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV – website www.irrv.org.uk) 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.
Information supplied with demand notices
Information relating to the relevant and previous financial years in regard to the gross expenditure of the local authority can be viewed in the council’s budget section. If you are unable to print this document and require a hard copy please request in writing to the council or call 01454 867700.
Business rates team
Telephone: 01454 867700
Payment phone line: 0345 245 0682
Valuation Office Agency
For Business Rates
If your enquiry is about the valuation given to your property, you need to contact the Valuation Office Agency at www.voa.gov.uk