Business Rates reliefs & exemptions

Businesses are sometimes entitled to Rates reliefs or could even be exempt from rate paying depending upon their circumstances. This page explains the current relief schemes & exemptions and how you can pay less Business Rates.

Business support announced by the Chancellor in the Budget and on 17th March 2020

In response to the recent Covid-19 outbreak, the Chancellor has announced the following measures to help support businesses. These include:

  • A 100% Business Rates discount for most businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors for the tax year 2020 to 2021. This is irrespective of the rateable value of the property.
  • A cash grant of £10,000 to small businesses who are currently eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
  • A £10,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, which qualify for the Expanded Retail Discount, and are not in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief
  • A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value above £15,000 and below £51,000, who qualify for the Expanded Retail Discount.
  • A 100% Business Rates discount for the tax year 2020 to 2021 for all properties occupied by providers on the Ofsted Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage. This is irrespective of the rateable value of the property.

Businesses should be aware that grant payments are currently subject to state aid limits. This limit has recently increased to €800,000 in order to take into account the additional support needed due to COVID-19. If you believe that by receiving this grant payment that you will exceed state aid limits, please contact us.

Business Rates bills for 2020/21 have already been sent to Doncaster businesses. As a result these bills will only show entitlement to any relevant relief at the levels before these announcements were made.

Further information about COVID - 19 and the support available to businesses is also available on the Government website.

 

Reliefs

Type At a glance More information / apply

Mandatory charity relief

This relief is available to registered charities provided the property they are claiming for is used wholly or mainly for the purposes of the charity. If your organisation is a registered charity, you will receive a reduction of 80% in your bill.

Mandatory Charity Relief Application Form
Download (99KB - PDF)

Discretionary rate relief

Where the 80% mandatory relief has been granted, the Council has the discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20% of a charity's bill.

An organisation that is not a registered charity may also claim discretionary rate relief, provided that it has a similar charitable status (although not actually registered with the Charity Commissioners).

The Council also has the discretion to remit all or part of any rate bill in respect of a property occupied by certain bodies not established or conducted for profit. 

In 2006 the Council adopted a standard mechanism for determining applications for discretionary relief. A copy of the policy and an application form can be found by using the links on the right. Please note, this policy is currently subject to review and any changes to the scheme will be published at a later date.

Discretionary Rate relief policy
Download (88KB)
 
Mandatory and Discretionary Relief Charity or NPB Application Form
Download (187KB - PDF)

Transitional relief / surcharge

At a general revaluation some rateable values increase and others may be reduced. When these new rateable values are introduced, some ratepayers would find that their rates bill had risen or reduced considerably.

The government introduced transitional arrangements, so that ratepayers would not receive a large increase or reduction in their bill.

 

Transitional relief / surcharge page

Hardship relief

In very exceptional circumstances the Council can use its discretion to award a reduction in your bill on the grounds of hardship. It is important to note that when deciding whether to award relief, the elected members of the Council take many factors into account. If you wish to apply for hardship relief contact the Business Rates Section.

Contact us

Rural rates relief

The occupier of a general store or post office in a settlement appearing on the Councils rural settlement list 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. Relief is given at 50% of the full rates bill, or the transitional bill where transitional arrangements apply. Relief can also be given to the only petrol filling station and public house if it is an area listed below. In order to qualify for this the rateable value of the petrol filling station or public house must be below £12,500.

From 1st April 2017 the amount of relief given is 100%.

Rural Settlement List 2017
Download (16KB)
Mandatory Rural Relief Application Form
Download (149KB - PDF)

Discretionary rural rate relief

The council has the discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 50% if rural rate relief has already been granted. Please contact the Business Rates section, Revenues for further information.

We also have the discretion to remit all or part of rate bills on other property in a settlement on the rural settlement list if the rateable value is £16,500 or less and we are satisfied that the property is used for a purpose that benefits the local community.

 
Discretionary Rural Relief App Form
Download (84KB)

Small business rates relief

The objective of the scheme is to reduce the impact of Business Rates on small businesses. This scheme introduced a second multiplier with which Business Rates is calculated for qualifying ratepayers. Full details of the scheme can be found by clicking the link on the right.

Small business rates relief page
Part occupation If part of your property is temporarily vacant you may be able to claim a reduction on the vacant part. Wherever possible, you should request the Valuation Officer to separately assess the vacant premises so that you may claim empty rate relief on it. If you wish to apply for this relief contact the Business Rates Section. Contact us

 Retail Discount Scheme for 2019/20 & 2020/21

Type At a glance More information / apply

Retail Discount

The Government announced in the Budget on 29 October 2018 that it will provide a Business Rates Retail Discount scheme for occupied retail properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 in each of the years 2019/20 and 2020/21. In 2019/20 the value of discount was one third of the bill after all other reductions had been taken in to account. In a Ministerial statement in January 2020, the Government announced that the amount of relief will be extended from one third to 50% in 2020/21.

In order to qualify for relief, properties must be occupied hereditaments with a rateable value of less than £51,000, that are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments. For 2020/21 this also includes hereditaments which are wholly or mainly used as a cinema or live music venues. Further information on the kinds of business that will qualify for relief can be found in the guidance documents on the right.

All possible qualifying properties have been identified based on the property description given to an assessment by the Valuation Office Agency, and the relief will automatically be awarded.

Business Rates bills for 2020/21 will already include this type of relief for qualifying businesses.  If you think you should qualify for this relief and have not received it, please contact us.  

Any relief awarded is subject to state aid limitations. If you receive this relief and this will result in your state aid limit being exceeded (€200,000 over a 3 year period), you must notify the Authority immediately. 

Retail Rate Relief Guidance 2019-20
Download (401KB - PDF)
Retail Rate Relief Guidance 2020-21
Download (384KB - PDF)

  2017 Budget Announcement

Type At a glance More information / apply
Supporting Small Business Relief

As part of the March 2017 budget, the Government announced that it will provide Business Rates relief for businesses who have lost Small Business Rates or Rural Rate Relief following the 2017 property revaluation. The relief would limit any increase in the ratepayer’s 2017/18 bill to £600 more than they paid in 2016/17. Full details of the scheme can be found in the policy document on the right.

This relief is awarded automatically and amended bills have been issued to qualifying ratepayers.

Any relief awarded is subject to state aid limitations.

 
Supporting Small Businesses Relief Policy
Download (36KB)
Pub Relief

At the Spring Budget for 2017, the Government announced a new relief scheme for pubs that are occupied and trading and have a rateable value of below £100,000. Under the scheme, eligible pubs receive a £1000 discount on their bill. The relief took effect for 2017/18. Full details of the scheme can be found in the policy document on the right.

In a Ministerial statement on 27 January 2020, the Government announced a £1,000 business rates discount for public houses with an RV of less than £100,000, for one year from 1 April 2020.

To qualify, the premises must be occupied, have an RV below £100,000, and must;

  • be open to the general public
  • allow free entry other than when occasional entertainment is provided
  • allow drinking without requiring food to be consumed
  • permit drinks to be purchased at a bar.

Relief for 2020/21 has been awarded automatically to all qualifying pubs it has been possible to identify and has been included on bills. If you think you may qualify for this relief and have not received it, please submit an application using the form on the right. 

Any relief awarded is subject to state aid limitations.

 
Pub Relief Policy
Download (99KB)
Pub Relief Guidance 2020-21
Download (370KB - PDF)
Pub Relief Application Form
Download (23KB)
Local Discretionary Relief Scheme

In the Spring Budget 2017 the Chancellor announced a discretionary fund of £300M over a four year period from 2017/18 would be made available to support those businesses that faced the steepest increases in their Business Rates bills as a result of the 2017 Revaluation.

Each billing authority in England was provided with a share of £300 million to support their local businesses and were expected to use their share of funding to develop their own discretionary relief scheme to deliver targeted support to the most hard-pressed ratepayers.

Doncaster Council’s allocation of this funding for discretionary relief was £794k spread across the next four years. This comprises £463k for 2017/18; £225k for 2018/19; £93k for 2019/20; and £13k for 2020/21. These amounts reflect the maximum level of relief that can be awarded to local businesses.

Each Authority has been responsible for designing a policy in order for this funding to be distributed to local businesses. Full details of the scheme can be found in the policy document on the right.

In order to qualify for this relief the following criteria must be met;

  • The ratepayer must have had an increase in their business rates bill of more than 7.5% due to the revaluation
  • The rateable value of the premises must be below £200,000.
  • The premises must have been occupied by the same ratepayer on 31st March 2017 and 1st April 2017
  • An application including a completed state aid declaration has been submitted

Relief for 2020/21 was not automatically included on annual bills. Revised bills showing any entitlement will be sent as soon as possible after 1 April 2020.

Any relief awarded is subject to state aid limitations.

 
Local Discretionary Scheme Policy 2017
Download (93KB - PDF)
Local Discretionary Scheme Application Form
Download (25KB)

Exemptions

Type At a glance More information / apply
Empty properties When a property becomes vacant, it is exempt from rates for three months if it remains vacant, or six months for qualifying industrial properties (please see below).  At the end of this period, rates become payable at the normal rate.  Empty properties page 
Empty rates These continue to be payable until somebody occupies the property. It is important to note that the three/six month rate free period applies to the property only. Therefore, if you purchase an empty property you will be immediately liable for empty rates if it has been vacant for more than three/six months prior to you buying it. Contact us
Qualifying industrial hereditament Certain industrial premises are exempt from Unoccupied Non-Domestic Rate for a period of up to six months from the date on which the property became vacant. In order to qualify for this exemption the premises must meet certain criteria. How you can pay less business rates page
Last updated: 26 May 2020 09:36:44