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.

  • Covid-19 Business Support Grant information 

Full details of the eligibility criteria for all of the grant support schemes currently available, together with any online application forms you will need can be found on our COVID-19 Business Support Grants page.

Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) 2021/22

Type At a glance More information 

Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund

The Government recently announced a new COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) of £1.5 billion. to support those businesses affected by the pandemic but that are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates. Doncaster’s share of the allocation is £5,314,419 and this will be distributed to qualifying ratepayers in the form of a business rates relief for the financial year 21/22.

In line with the Government guidance the following exclusions apply;

  • ratepayers who for the same period of the relief either are or would have been eligible for the Extended Retail Discount (covering Retail, Hospitality and Leisure), the Nursery Discount or the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS),
  •  unoccupied properties (other than those which have become closed temporarily due to the government’s advice on COVID-19, which should be treated as occupied for the purposes of this relief).

 Qualifying Criteria

The Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund Scheme will help those ratepayers whose businesses are within certain prescribed “Standard industrial classification of economic activities” (SIC codes), who have been adversely affected by the pandemic and have been unable to adapt to the impact. Further information on these codes can be found in the Government guidance using the link on the right.

The SIC codes that will be awarded relief are as follows,

  • Manufacturing (35% relief)
  • Education (35% relief)
  • Health (10% relief)
  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (35% relief)
  • Information, Communication, Financial Intermediation, Real Estate and Business Services (10% relief)
  • Transport (35% relief)

A copy of the scheme for Doncaster Council can be downloaded using the link on the right.

Any relief provided by Local Authorities under the CARF Scheme will need to comply with the UK’s domestic and international subsidy control obligations as set out in the guidance which can be found here.

Awards of relief will be made automatically and revised business rates bills will be issued to all qualifying ratepayers showing the amount of relief awarded.

If you think that you qualify for relief under this scheme and do not receive a revised business rates bill for 2021/22, please email localtaxation@doncaster.gov.uk in order for us to determine your eligibility to this relief.

 
DMBC Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund Scheme
Download (149KB - PDF)
CARF_LA_Guidance
Download (607KB - PDF)

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

Reliefs for 2022/23

Type At a glance More information / apply

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme 2022-2023

On 27 October 2021 the Chancellor announced the introduction of a new business rates relief scheme for retail, hospitality and leisure properties to support the businesses that make our high streets and town centres a success and help them to evolve and adapt to changing consumer demands. The 2022/23 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief scheme will provide eligible, occupied, retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a 50% relief, up to a cash cap limit of £110,000 per business.

Hereditaments that meet the eligibility for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure scheme will be occupied hereditaments which meet all of the following conditions for the chargeable day:

 they are wholly or mainly being used:

 i. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas or live music venue

 ii. for assembly and leisure; or

 iii. as hotels, guest & boarding premises or self-catering accommodation

 iv. Hereditaments which are being used as cinemas

 v. Hereditments that are being used as live music venues.

 

Relief will not be awarded to 

 i. Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

 Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short-term loan providers, betting shops)

Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)

Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers, employment agencies, estate agents, letting agents)

Post office sorting offices

ii. Hereditaments that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public

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. If you think you may qualify for this relief and have not received it, please contact us.

To claim the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief you must not have exceeded either the £110,000 cash cap for 2022/23 or the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance limit of £343,000 over 3 years (including 2022/23).

Further information can be found at Business rates guidance: 2022/23 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme

 

Extension of Transitional Relief and Supporting Small Business Relief for small and medium properties 2022/23

The transitional relief scheme was introduced in 2017 to help those ratepayers who were faced with higher bills as a result of the revaluation. The scheme ends on 31 March 2022, as a result a small number of ratepayers would face a jump to their full rates bill from 1 April 2022.

At the Budget on 27 October 2021 the government therefore announced that it would extend the current transitional relief scheme and the supporting small business scheme for one year to the end of the current revaluation cycle. The scheme will restrict increases in bills to 15% for businesses with small properties (up to and including £20,000 rateable value) and 25% for medium properties (up to and including £100,00 rateable value).

The extension of transitional relief and Supporting Small Business (SSB) relief scheme is likely to amount to subsidy. Any relief provided by Local Authorities under this scheme will need to comply with the UK’s domestic and international subsidy control obligations.

Relief will be awarded automatically. If you think you may qualify for this relief and have not received it, please contact us.

Further information can be found at Extension of Transitional Relief and Supporting Small Business Relief for small and medium properties

 

Reliefs prior to 2022/23 

Type At a glance More information / apply

Retail Discount & Expanded Retail Discount 2019 - 2022

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 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.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, in the Budget on 11 March the Government announced that it would increase the discount to 100% and extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. The rateable value limit has also been removed. Properties that fall under this scheme are occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:
a. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
b. for assembly and leisure; or
c. as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

On 3 March 2021 the Government confirmed that the Expanded Retail Discount would continue to apply in 2021/22 at 100% for three months, from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021, and at 66% for the remaining period, from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022. The Government confirmed that there would be no cash cap on the relief received for the period from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021, relief will be capped at £105,000 per business, or £2 million per business where the business is in occupation of a property that was required, or would have been required, to close, based on the law and guidance applicable on 5 January 2021.

A ratepayer may refuse the discount for each eligible hereditament anytime up to 30 April 2022. The ratepayer cannot withdraw their refusal for either all or part of the financial year.

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. If you think you may qualify for this relief and have not received it, please contact us.

Further information can be found at Business rates: expanded retail discount 2021 to 2022 - local authority guidance

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

 

Expanded Retail Discount Guidance 2021
Download (206KB - PDF)

Nursery Discount

As an extraordinary response to the coronavirus, the Government announced a business rates Nursery Discount of 100% on 18 March 2020. This relief applies to hereditaments occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage and which are subject to business rates in the year 2020/21. There is no rateable value limit on the relief.

At the Budget on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor announced that the Nursery Discount would continue to apply at 100% for eligible properties for the first three months of 2021 from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. Subsequently, from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, the Nursery Discount will apply at 66%. From 1 July 2021, the relief will be capped at £105,000 per business.

A ratepayer may refuse the discount for each eligible hereditament anytime up to 30 April 2022. The ratepayer cannot withdraw their refusal for either all or part of the financial year.

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. If you think you may qualify for this relief and have not received it, please contact us.

Further information can be found at Business rates: nursery (childcare) discount 2021 to 2022 – local authority guidance

 
Nursery discount guidance
Download (190KB - PDF)
 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 PolicyDownload (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

This relief has been awarded automatically to all qualifying ratepayers.

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

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 rates 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.

 
Qualifying industrial hereditament

Certain industrial hereditaments 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 hereditament must meet certain criteria. All buildings comprised in the hereditament must be:

  1. constructed or adapted for use in the course of trade or business
  2. constructed or adapted for use for one or more of the following purposes and one or more purposes ancillary thereto:
    1. the manufacture, repair or adaptation of goods or materials, or the subjection of goods or materials to any process
    2. storage (including storage or handling of goods in the course of their distribution)
    3. the working or processing of minerals
    4. the generation of electricity    

Please note, retail hereditaments do not qualify under this scheme. The above regulations shall not apply where any building or any part of any building comprised in the hereditament is constructed or adapted for the purpose of the retail provision of:

  1. goods
  2. services, other than storage or distribution services, on or from the hereditament
 
Exemptions

Statutory Instrument 1989/2261 prescribes various circumstances in which owners/leaseholders will be exempt from liability for rates on unoccupied non-domestic property.

  1. the whole hereditament has been unoccupied for a continuous period of less than three months (see above)
  2. the owner is prohibited by law from occupying a hereditament or from allowing it to be occupied
  3. the hereditament is kept vacant by Crown or local or public authority action which has been taken with a view to prohibiting its occupation or to acquiring it
  4. it is subject of a building preservation notice as defined by Section 58 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 (b) or is included in a list compiled under Section 54 of that Act
  5. it is included in the schedule of monuments compiled under Section 1 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act, 1979
  6. it is a qualifying industrial hereditament see below
  7. it's rateable value of the property is less than £2,899 with effect from 1st April 2017. 
  8. the owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person
  9. there subsists in respect of the owner's estate a bankruptcy order within the meaning of Parts VIII to XI of the Insolvency Act, 1986
  10. the owner is entitled to possession of the hereditament in his capacity as trustee under a deed of arrangements to which the Deed of Arrangement Act, 1914 applies
  11. the 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 the Act
  12. the owner is entitled to possession of the hereditament in his capacity as liquidator by virtue of an order made under Section 112 or Section 145 of the Insolvency Act, 1986     
 
Last updated: 09 June 2022 10:28:35