Business rates reliefs

Are you paying the right business ratesIf you run a business it’s important to ensure you’re paying the right business rates. You may be entitled to a relief which could make a big difference if you’re a small business or are newly starting out.

There are a number of relief schemes available to:

Charity, non-profit and community amateur sports clubs rate relief

Charities

Occupied Property

If the rate payer of a property is a registered charity/trustees for a registered charity and the property is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes they can receive 80% mandatory relief from business rates. At Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, we also award a further 20% discretionary top up to charities who fall into this category, meaning a full 100% relief from their business rates. Please note that that charitable schools, colleges and training associations will not be awarded the 20% discretionary top up.

You can apply for charity rate relief for an occupied property by completing our online form.

Unoccupied Property

If the rate payer of a property is a Registered Charity/Trustees for a Registered Charity, the property is unoccupied and it appears that when next in use the property will be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes a 100% Mandatory relief from their business rates may be applied. An investigation into the uses or intended use of the property will need to be carried out.

You can apply for charity rate relief for an unoccupied property by completing our online form.

Community amateur sports club (CASC)

Occupied Property

If a registered community amateur sports club (must be registered with HMRC) occupies a property, they will qualify for 80% mandatory relief from their business rates. If the 80% mandatory relief is awarded, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council will also award the 20% discretionary relief meaning a full 100% relief from business rates will be granted.

You can apply for community amateur sports club rate relief for an occupied property by completing our online form.

Unoccupied Property

If the rate payer of a property is a Registered Community Amateur Sports Club (Must be registered with HMRC), the property is unoccupied and it appears that when next in use the property will be wholly or mainly used for CASC purposes a 100% Mandatory relief from their business rates may be applied. An investigation into the uses or intended use of the property will need to be carried out.

You can apply for community amateur sports club rate relief for an unoccupied property by completing our online form.

Non-profit organisation

If a non-profit organisation occupying a property does not qualify for the mandatory relief, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council can grant up to 100% discretionary relief if the property is being used for the follow purpose:

  • charitable
  • philanthropic or religious
  • educational
  • social welfare
  • science
  • literature or fine arts
  • wholly or mainly for recreation by a non-profit club or society.

The service being provided by the non-profit organisation should be of benefit to and do activities which benefit the residents of Basingstoke & Deane.

Membership for the organisation must be open to all sections of the community and the cost of membership cannot be set at such a level that can exclude the general community. The organisation will also need to show that they do not unfairly discriminate against any section of the community.

If the non-profit organisation is already receiving 100% discretionary relief on another property within Basingstoke & Deane, unfortunately they will not again qualify for the relief on an additional property.

As this is a discretionary relief it is ultimately a council decision if it is awarded.

You can apply for non-profit organisation rate relief for an occupied property by completing out online form.

Occupied properties

Some occupied properties will qualify for a relief from either part or all of their business rates. Some reliefs are mandatory reliefs and the conditions for these are set by central government, and some can be discretionary which means they are provided by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council and the conditions for these are written into local policy and agreed by the local councillors.

Small business rate relief - new changes from April 2017

Find out more on our small business rate relief page.

Local newspapers - new from April 2017

A discount of £1,500 lasting for two years can be applied for local newspapers, where they occupy office space within the borough of Basingstoke and Deane will be introduced from 1 April 2017. The discount can only be applied once per newspaper title and per property, state aid limits apply (please see information regarding state aid below). You can apply online now, and this will be awarded in April 2017.

Hardship relief

Hardship relief is a 100% discretionary, using the powers given to local authorities under the Local Government Finance Act 1988 Section 49.

Hardship relief is intended to assist a business for one year to recover from a temporary crisis, financial or otherwise, as the result of exceptional unforeseen circumstances. Circumstances such as increased competition or running costs would not be considered as exceptional unforeseen circumstances as these a normal business risks. Circumstances which would be covered by a commercial insurance policy would also not be considered.

The business should be of benefit to the residents of Basingstoke and Deane. If there are any membership requirements, membership should be open to all sections of the community. For example, the business may be a large employer within the borough or may provide services for residents and if the business was to close, there would be a loss to the community which would be difficult to replace.

If the business has previously received hardship relief from the council, or another 100% discretionary discount on another property, it is unlikely to be granted.

New businesses may also be unlikely to receive hardship relief as it is expected that all running costs would be factored into their business plans, and that the business rates charge for the year would have been taken into account into these costs.

If you would like to apply for hardship relief you must:

  • complete our online application form
  • provide two years audited accounts
  • supply a recovery business plan showing how the money being saved by not paying business rates for a year will bring the businesses back into being profitable.

All applications are looked at on a case by case basis.

Empty and partially occupied properties

Empty properties

There are two common vacant exemptions for business rates:

  • Industrial premises and some warehouses qualify for a six month void exemption.
  • Retail units, office space and other properties not falling into the industrial category qualify for a three month exemption.

If the property remains vacant once the exemption has run out a full charge will be payable.

These are both property based exemptions, once they have run their course they cannot be awarded again until the property has been occupied for a period. If you take on a vacant unit, you may not qualify for any vacant exemption if it has already been used up by the previous ratepayer.

Find out about or apply for empty charity rate relief?

Properties with a rateable value of less than £2,600

Properties which become unoccupied and have a rateable value of less than £2,600 qualify for an exemption from business rates until the property becomes reoccupied. This is automatically applied by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, so there is no need to apply.

Listed buildings

Unoccupied buildings which are subject to a building preservation notice or are included in a list of buildings as defined under the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 or the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 are exempt from paying empty rates. This exemption is automatically applied by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council. For further information about listed buildings please see https://historicengland.org.uk/

Occupation prohibited by law

An empty property is exempt from business rates where occupation or allowing the property to become occupied is prohibited by law. For example:

  • if the local authority has taken legal action to prevent occupation due to the property posing a health or safety risk
  • where a property is being kept vacant due to action being taken by or on behalf of the Crown, local authority or public authority.

If you wish to apply for this exemption, please complete our online form.

Personal representatives of deceased persons

A property is exempt from business rates where the owner is only entitled to possession in their capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person. If you wish to apply for this exemption, please complete our online form.

Partially occupied properties

Under section 44a of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council has the discretion to award a discount for partially occupied properties, providing the situation only exists for a short time.

If the award is agreed, the Valuation Office gives a breakdown of the rateable value for the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property, and Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council will award either the three month, or for industrial properties six month, exemption to the occupied part only.

Situation where the S44a discount may apply:

  • Phased vacation of a property due to the lease ending.
  • Phased occupation of a property.
  • Taking on a larger premises to expand into at a later date.
  • Vacation of floors in a large building to refurbish and reoccupy.
  • Vacation of floors to then be sub-let

Situation where the S44a discount would generally be refused:

  • Where there is no intention to fully occupy the vacant part of the property.
  • If a landlord is using the property, or parts of the property, for storage facilities for short periods of time.

As this is a discretionary discount, each application will be looked at on a case by case basis. If you wish to apply for this discount please complete our online application form.

Further information about the business rates system, including transitional and other reliefs, may be obtained at www.gov.uk

Rural Rate Relief

Rural rate relief is awarded to certain properties when they fall within a parish which has a population of 3,000 or less as at the 31 December prior to the new financial year.

If a property is currently in receipt of Rural Rate Relief and the population of the parish exceeds 3,000 as at the 31 December, it will be removed from 1 April in the next financial year.

50% Mandatory Relief and 50% Discretionary

This relief will generally be applied by the council automatically, however if you believe your business should qualify please contact the local tax office.

General Stores

General stores, with a rateable value of up to and including £8,500, which retail food for human consumption (excluding confectionary) and general household goods and where there is no other business carrying out the same function within the rural area, can qualify for 100% mandatory rural rate relief.

Post Offices

Post offices, with a rateable value of up to and including £8,500, can qualify for 100% mandatory rural rate relief if they are the only businesses acting as a post office within the rural area.

Public Houses

A public house, with a rateable value of up to and including £12,500, can qualify for 100% mandatory rural rate relief if they have a license in force under the Licensing Act 2003 which authorises the retail of alcohol for the purposes of consumption on or off the premises. The public house must also be the only businesses in the rural area carrying out this function.

Petrol Stations

A petrol station, with a rateable value of up to and including £12,500, can qualify for 100% mandatory rural rate relief providing they are selling fuel for motor vehicles intended for use on the public highway and they are the only business providing this service within the rural area.

Rural Food Shops

Rural food shops, with a rateable value of up to and including £8,500, can qualify for 100% mandatory rural rate relief providing the shop is mainly used for the sale of food – for human consumption – but excluding confectionary, and can partly sell hot food which can be for take away or for consumption on the premises. The business must be the only one providing this service within the rural area.

However, shops where the main business is a restaurant, tea room, take-away or confectionery sales are not classed as rural food shops so will not qualify for 100% mandatory rural rate relief.

100% Discretionary Relief

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council also award 100% discretionary rural rate relief, the requirements are very similar to the 100% mandatory relief however the rateable value threshold is increased to £16,500 and there is no requirement for the businesses to be the only one providing their function within the rural area.

General Stores

General stores, with a rateable value of up to and including £16,500, which retail food for human consumption (excluding confectionary) and general household goods can qualify for 100% discretionary rural rate relief.

Post Offices/Hairdressers/Beauty Salons/Dispensing Chemists

Post offices/Hairdressers/Beauty Salons/Dispensing Chemists, with a rateable value of up to and including £16,500, can qualify for 100% discretionary rural rate relief.

Public Houses

A public house, with a rateable value of up to and including £16,500, can qualify for 100% discretionary rural rate relief if they have a license in force under the Licensing Act 2003 which authorises the retail of alcohol for the purposes of consumption on or off the premises.

Petrol Stations

A petrol station, with a rateable value of up to and including £16,500, can qualify for 100% discretionary rural rate relief providing they are selling fuel for motor vehicles intended for use on the public highway.

Rural Food Shops

Rural food shops, with a rateable value of up to and including £16,500, can qualify for 100% mandatory rural rate relief providing the shop is mainly used for the sale of food – for human consumption – but excluding confectionary, and can partly sell hot food which can be for take away or for consumption on the premises.

However, shops where the main business is a restaurant, tea room, take-away or confectionery sales are not classed as rural food shops so will not qualify for 100% discretionary rural rate relief.

Other relief available:

State aid

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council can grant discretionary local discounts. The award of such discounts is considered as state aid.

To ensure discounts are state aid compliant, they will be provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013. The De Minimis Regulations allow a business 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), please tell us immediately and provide details of the aid received.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/state-aid

Contact details

Local Tax

If you have an enquiry about council tax, send a message to the Local Tax Team.

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