Business Rates Reductions
Charities are entitled to relief from rates on any non domestic property wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) are also entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property that is wholly or mainly used for the purposes of that club, or that of any other such registered club. In both cases, relief is given at 80% of the full rate bill or of the transitional bill where the transitional arrangements apply.
Billing authorities have discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20% of a charity or CASC's bill on such property as described above.
A billing authority also has the power to grant discretionary rate relief, to certain ratepayers, from all or part of the amount of non-domestic rate payable. This allows billing authorities to grant additional relief to registered charities (to top up the 80% mandatory relief) and also to non-profit making bodies (ie. not established or conducted for profit) including sports clubs. The level of rate relief is determined by the billing authority. This relief can be granted for a fixed period, and notice must be given if that relief is varied or revoked.
In considering an application from a sports club, the following factors will be taken into account:
- Is the applicant set up as a non-profit making organisation i.e. not established or conducted for profit?
- Is membership open to all sections of the community? There may be reasonable restrictions placed on membership which relate, for example, to ability in a sport or to the achievement of a standard in the field covered by the organisation or where the capacity of the facility is limited, but in general membership should not be exclusive or restrictive
- Membership rates should not be set at such a level as to exclude the general community
- Does the organisation actively encourage membership from particular disadvantaged or under represented groups in the community?
- Are the facilities made available to people other than members eg. schools, casual public sessions etc?
- Does the organisation provide training or education for its members?
- Does the organisation's facilities include a licensed bar? The mere existence of a bar would not in itself be a reason for not granting relief, but helps to determine the main purpose of the organisation. In sports clubs for example the balance between playing and non-playing members might provide a useful guide as to whether the main purpose of the club is sporting or social activities
- Does the organisation provide facilities that indirectly relieve the authority of the need to do so, or enhance and supplement those that it does provide?
- Are members paid to participate?
If the applicant is a limited company, Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) would need to make a detailed inspection of the accounts to ascertain what profits, if any, are being made. Then an investigation would need to be made as to how the income/profit is used. For example, is any excess income/profit ploughed back into the club to further it's aims and to improve facilities for it's members. The constitution of the club and the objectives of the limited company would also have to be studied to ensure that these were not different.
Relief for Hardship and Part Occupation
To apply for hardship, local business ratepayers would need to supply evidence of the hardship encountered. This could take the form of accounts showing takings before and during the period in question. Any applications for hardship relief will be considered by the Executive who will take into account the interests of the council tax payers, as any award would be part funded from the council tax.
In exceptional circumstances, business premises that are only partly occupied for a temporary period may be entitled to some relief based on the unoccupied part, for example:
- If you are trying to let the empty part of a premises (but not keeping part empty by choice) or
- If you are undertaking structural repair to part of the property (but not redecoration)
- Relief can be granted on the unoccupied part of the property
In these circumstances a certificate will be requested from the valuation office to show the respective rateable values of the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property.
Rural Rate Relief
Mandatory Rural Rate Relief
The occupier of a general store or post office in one of the above is entitled to rate relief if it is the only such store or post office in that settlement and its rateable value is £8,500 or less. Where a part or the whole of a property is used as a Public House or Petrol Filling Station, the rateable value limit for this relief is £12,500. Relief is given at 50% of the rate bill. Billing authorities have discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 50%.
Discretionary Rural Rate Relief
There is also discretion to remit all or part of the rate bill on other property in one of the settlements below. The rateable value must be £16,500 or less and the authority should be satisfied that the property is used for a purpose, which benefits the local community.
The following settlements within Mole Valley qualify in line with the relevant legislation:
- Abinger Hammer
- Beare Green
- Dawes Green
- Forest Green
- Holmbury St Mary
- Norwood Hill
- Oakwood Hill
- South Holmwood
- Strood Green
Local Discretionary Relief Scheme
At the Spring Budget, the Government announced the establishment of a £300m discretionary fund over four years from 2017-18 to support those businesses that face the steepest increases in their business rates bills as a result of the 2017 revaluation.
The intention is that every billing authority in England will be provided with a share of the £300m to support their local businesses. Billing authorities will be expected to use their share of the funding to develop their own discretionary relief schemes to deliver targeted support to the most hard-pressed ratepayers.
Please see 'Downloads' for Mole Valley's local discretionary scheme in full.
Small Business Rate Relief
Small business rate relief can be claimed by any small business with a rateable value of under £15,000. The relief is applied an a sliding scale between £12,000 and £15,000 with RateableValues of £12,000 or under receiving 100% relief as long as the qualifying criteria are met.
The government has also introduced additional support to small businesses. For those that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, the government has confirmed they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months. More information can be found on GOV.UK.
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.
The Government has issued guidance on the operation of the scheme, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uldgovernment/publications/business-rates-retail-discount-guidance.
This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Further information can be obtained from the local authority.
How to Apply for Relief
To apply for rate relief, download a form from the bottom of the page, complete and return it to the address provided. If you have any queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.