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Business rate reliefs

There are a number of business rate reliefs businesses can apply for. If you think you are eligible for business rate relief, please contact our business rates team to find out more on 01543 308900.

This section outlines the criteria required to qualify for each type of rate relief and gives a general indication of the impact the relief might have on your bill.

Use the jump to links below to find out about business rate reliefs you could apply for:

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Small business rate relief

Eligible businesses with rateable values of below 12,000 will get 100% rate relief on their liability. This relief will decrease on a sliding scale by an estimated 1% for every 30 of rateable value over 12,000, up to 14,999. The exact decrease will be calculated on application.

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 the combined rateable value of all the properties is under 19,999.

The threshold for the combined rateable value is dependent on the location of the main property.

The main property is the only one that will have the relief applied to it.

The additional properties will have their charges calculated using the standard multiplier.

In addition to this relief on liability, eligible businesses with rateable values of between 15,000 and 50,999 will have their liability calculated using the small business multiplier.

The Small Business Rate Relief scheme is funded by a supplement on the rate bill of those businesses not eligible for the relief. This supplement is built into the standard multiplier.

Eligible ratepayers must apply for the % relief, however those with rateable values between 15,000 and 50,999 will not need to where the property is occupied. If your business ceases to be eligible on a day during the financial year, the relief will cease on that day.

If your rateable value increases, this may cause you to lose your Small Business Rate Relief. You must continue to advise the council if there are any changes to your circumstances which may affect your entitlement to Small Business Rate Relief.

Please note that applications under the previous scheme can allow relief backdated to 1 April 2012.

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Retail discount

At autumn budget 2018, the government announced a one-third discount for eligible retail businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, up to state aid limits. This scheme will run for two years from April 2019. This discount will be applied to the bill after the application of any reliefs, excluding any local discounts.

Where we believe you qualify, we will award the discount automatically. The discount will be applied to qualifying accounts in June 2019 and a revised demand notice issued. After this date, if you think you may qualify but you have received no notification of a reduction, you can make an application to us, in writing.

The government has issued guidance on the operation of the scheme.

This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988).

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Empty and unused properties

You pay no business rates for the first three months that the property is empty.  This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties.  After this period, rates are payable in full (100%). However,  listed buildings and small properties with rateable values of less than £2,900 pay no rates at all, even after the first three months.

Empty property relief is available to the owner - in this case the owner is the person entitled to possession of the property in question.

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Partially empty and unused properties

If part of your property is not being used and is completely unoccupied for a short time, you may be eligible for rate relief on the part of your property that is clearly unoccupied and beyond use for a short period of time.

We can ask the VOA to divide the current rateable value between the parts of the property that are occupied and those which are not occupied. If your application for this rate relief is successful, you will pay full rates on the occupied part of the property and the current empty property rate rules will apply to the unoccupied part.

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Charities and charity shops

If the property is used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes, or the institution or organisation occupying it is established for charitable purposes only, or is occupied by people administering a trust established for charitable purposes only, you are automatically entitled to an 80% reduction on your bill.

You need to apply to us, however, to make sure you receive it. In the case of charity shops, the property must be wholly or mainly used for the sale of goods donated to a charity and the proceeds of sale of the goods must (after deduction of expenses) be applied for the purposes of a charity.

We also have the legal right to grant discretionary 'top up' relief, or even cancel the bill altogether. Decisions are made on a case by case basis.

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Non-profit making organisations

Although you have no automatic entitlement, we may decide to give you relief or cancel your bill altogether.

Your organisation must be non-profit-making and the property it occupies must be used for charitable, philanthropic or religious purposes or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts. Or the property must be used by a non-profit-making organisation wholly or mainly for the purpose of recreation.

You will be required to complete an application form in order for us to make a decision on any relief we may be able to give you.

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Businesses in rural populations under 3,000

If your business is based in a rural village with a population of under 3,000, are entitled to a 100% reduction in the rates bill  - if you are:

  • The only village general store or post office, as long as it has a rateable value of less than £8,500
  • A food shop with a rateable value of less than £8,500 (take away and restaurants are not included)
  • The only village pub or petrol station (rateable value of less than £12,500).

If you are a business in a qualifying rural village with a rateable value of less than £16,500 may be able to get 100% relief if your business is considered to be of benefit to the local community. However, this is decided on a case by case basis.

View our list of rural settlements.

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You are struggling to pay your bill

In extreme circumstances, we may consider giving relief to businesses who are having trouble paying their bill.

However, we would need you to prove that you would suffer hardship as a result and also that providing financial assistance is in the interests of the council taxpayers of the district who would finance the relief.

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Phone our contact centre: 01543 308 000
District Council House, Frog Lane, Lichfield, Staffs, WS13 6YY

If you need to contact a team direct, please visit our contacts page for team phone numbers and email addresses.

Opening times

Our main reception at Frog Lane in Lichfield is open Monday - Friday, 8.45am - 5.15pm. Our phone lines close at 5pm.