A number of reliefs are available for your business rates, dependent on your circumstances or the location of your business.

Contact the business rates team to apply for a relief.

See further information about business rates property exemptions and reliefs.


Small business rates relief

Small business rates relief is available to reduce business rates bills for some small businesses.

You won’t pay any business rates on a property with a Rateable Value (RV) of £12,000 or less provided it is the only property which you occupy.

For properties with a rateable value of £12,001 to £15,000, the rate of relief will go down gradually from 100% to 0%.

In general this relief is only available to businesses who occupy either:

  • 1 main property with a RV which is less than £15,000, or;
  • 1 main property (with a RV which is less than £15,000) plus other additional properties providing:
    • the additional properties each have a RV which is below £2,899 and
    • the total RV of all your properties is less than £20,000

Even if you don’t qualify for small business rate relief, and your property has a rateable value below £51,000, you'll still have the bill for your main property calculated using the lower rate multiplier.

If you already qualify for any mandatory relief, for example as a registered charity or under the rural relief scheme, you will not be eligible for relief under this scheme. Similarly, small business rate relief awards does not apply to properties that are unoccupied.

Help for businesses that take on additional properties

If you currently receive small business rate relief and take on a second property you will continue to receive small business rate relief on your first property for a further 12 months. You will be charged full business rates on the new property.

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Retail Discount 2019 to 2021

The government announced a relief scheme for retail properties that have a rateable value less than £51,000 in the October 2018 budget. Under the scheme, eligible ratepayers will receive one third discount of their daily chargeable amount. The relief will take effect during the financial years 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021.

In order to be eligible for the discount, the property must:

  • be occupied
  • have a rateable value of less than £51,000
  • be wholly or mainly being used as a shop, restaurant, café or drinking establishment

We will identify retail businesses which we believe will be eligible and will automatically apply this relief. If you believe you may be eligible, but have not received a revised bill reflecting the award of Retail Discount, please contact the Business Rates Team.

For more information please view further Retail Discount guidance (GOV.UK).

The award of this relief must comply with EU law on State Aid. See further information regarding State Aid (GOV.UK).

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Relief for charities

Registered charities are entitled to relief from business rates on any 'non-domestic property' that is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. This includes charity shops, provided that the goods sold are wholly or mainly donated.

Relief is given at 80% of the rate bill. To qualify:

  • a registered charity or trustees for a registered charity must occupy the property
  • the property must be used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes

Certain other organisations, such as universities, which are exempt from registration as a charity may also qualify for relief.

If the property is empty you can still claim rate relief if, when next in use, the property will be used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes. There is full relief for empty properties in this situation.

Charities can apply for mandatory relief by writing to the Business Rates Team.

You can also apply for discretionary rate relief from the remaining 20% of your bill.

Please note any discretionary relief awarded is subject to State Aid limits. See further information regarding State Aid (GOV.UK).

See further information about business rates property exemptions and reliefs.

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Relief for not-for-profit organisations

Discretionary relief can be granted for up to 100 per cent of the rates charged to certain not-for-profit making bodies.

To be eligible the organisation must be a non-profit making body.

The property must be:

  • used for charitable, philanthropic or religious purposes, or;
  • concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts, or;
  • used wholly or mainly for recreation by a not-for-profit club or society (with objectives which are broadly charitable)

Please note any discretionary relief awarded is subject to State Aid limits. See further information regarding State Aid (GOV.UK).

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Community amateur sports clubs (CASC)

Registered community amateur sports clubs can receive 80% rate relief.

To qualify as a CASC your sports club must be occupied by the charity or club and be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes or as a registered community amateur sports club.

To apply for relief you must first register as a CASC. See further information on registering as a CASC (GOV.UK).

If the property is empty you can still claim rate relief if, when next in use, it will be used by a CASC. There is full relief for an empty property in this situation

You can also apply for top up discretionary rate relief from the remaining 20% of your bill

Please note any discretionary relief awarded is subject to State Aid limits. See further information regarding State Aid (GOV.UK).

See further information about business rates property exemptions and reliefs.

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Rural rate relief

Certain types of business in rural settlements with a population below 3,000 may qualify for 50% rate relief.

To qualify the property must be occupied and be the only:

  • general store, post office or food shop with a rateable value of less than £8,500
  • public house or petrol filling station with a rateable value of less than £12,500

In addition, we also have discretion to give up to 100% relief to any other business with a rateable value less than £16,500 in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000, if we're satisfied that the business is of benefit to the community, with regard to the interests of its council tax payers.

For more information on this scheme, and to make an application, download the rural rate relief application form.

Please note any discretionary relief awarded is subject to State Aid limits. See further information regarding State Aid (GOV.UK).

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Discretionary rate relief

There are 2 types of business rate relief: mandatory and discretionary.

The Local Government Finance Act 1988 requires local authorities to grant mandatory rate relief to the following categories of business rates payer:

  • registered charities.
  • village post offices, general stores, specialist food shops, public houses and petrol filling stations – where they are in a designated rural settlement
  • registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs)

The Local Government Finance Act 1988 gives local authorities the power to grant discretionary rate relief as follows:

  • to make a further award on top of mandatory relief to those categories listed above
  • in respect of sports grounds and clubs
  • to other non-profit making organisations
  • to other rural businesses situated within a designated rural settlement

Discretionary rate relief can be awarded for a maxim period of 2 years. The awards are made on an annual basis by elected council members within the constraints of the budget available in any one year.

Please note any discretionary relief awarded is subject to State Aid limits. See further information regarding State Aid (GOV.UK).

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Relief for local newspapers

The government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year for 2 years from 1 April 2017, to office space occupied by local newspapers. This is up to a maximum of 1 discount per local newspaper title and per property, and up to State Aid limits. See further information regarding State Aid (GOV.UK).

The property must be occupied by a local newspaper and wholly or mainly used as office premises for journalists and reporters.

The relief is specifically for local newspapers considered to be a “traditional local newspaper.” The relief is not available to magazines.

At Autumn Budget 2018, the government extended the scheme for an additional year (2019/20).

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Discretionary revaluation relief

At the Spring Budget 2017, it was announced that a discretionary fund of £300 million has been made available nationally. It's payable over 4 years to enable billing authorities to support those facing the steepest increases in their business rates following 2017 revaluation.

The transitional relief scheme already limits increases to bills due to the revaluation; however, the government have decided that local authorities can grant further relief to those most affected at their discretion.

Every billing authority in England has been provided with a share of £300 million to support their local businesses. The responsibility of determining how this fund should is allocated to support businesses and the local economy was passed on to local authorities.

We have identified eligible accounts and have automatically applied this relief. If you believe you may be eligible, but have not received a revised bill reflecting the award of discretionary revaluation relief, please contact the Business Rates Team.

See further details of the discretionary revaluation relief scheme.

Relief for businesses losing Small Business or Rural Rate Relief following 2017 re-valuation

In the Spring Budget 2017, the Chancellor announced that a scheme of Relief would be made available to those ratepayers losing Small Business or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the 2017 revaluation will have their increases limited to the greater of either:

  • a cash value of £600 per year, or
  • the matching cap on increases for small properties in the transitional relief scheme

This relief will run for 5 years to 31 March 2022 and ratepayers will receive the relief until this date or they reach what their bill would have been within the relief scheme, whichever is first.

The award of this relief must comply with EU law on State Aid. See further information regarding State Aid (GOV.UK).

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Enterprise Zones business rates discounts

Part of York Central has been designated as an Enterprise Zone from April 2017. View a map showing the Enterprise Zone area.

Enterprise Zones are a key part of the government's strategy for enabling growth. Discounts in business rates offer substantial benefits to businesses choosing to locate to an Enterprise Zone. In turn, the business rates can be retained by the Local Enterprise Partnership for 25 years to re-invest in local economic growth.

Commercial occupiers entering the site before April 2022 may be eligible for a discount for a period of 5 years.

The Council’s Executive approved a policy for business rate relief in respect of the York Central Enterprise Zone on Thursday 18 May 2017.

A webcast of the 18 May 2017 Executive meeting is available to watch online, as well as details of the agenda items discussed.

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Acomb business development district

The Acomb area of York has been identified as a Business Development District from August 2014.

If you are looking to occupy an empty property in Acomb you may be eligible to additional business rate relief.

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Hardship relief

Councils may grant relief to a ratepayer who would suffer hardship if they paid the whole of the rates bill. As this relief is partly funded by the local council, we will usually only grant this relief where it is evident that it is in the interests of the community that the ratepayer remains in business if either of the following apply:

  • they provide a unique, regularly required amenity, such as a village general store
  • the loss of employment provided by a ratepayer would be severely damaging to the local community

Before we'll consider granting this relief you will need to provide:

  • a written request for hardship relief
  • copies of audited accounts

See our guidelines for business rates relief on grounds of hardship.

Please note any hardship relief awarded is subject to State Aid limits. See further information regarding State Aid (GOV.UK).

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Transitional Relief Scheme

For those that would otherwise see significant increases in their rates liability, the government has put in place a £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme to limit and phase in changes in rate bills as a result of the 2017 revaluation.

To help pay for the limits on increases in bills, there also have to be limits in reductions in bills. Under the transition scheme, limits continue to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount is due (rateable value times the appropriate multiplier). The scheme applies only to the bill based on a premises at the time of the revaluation.

Property values normally change a good deal between each revaluation, so transitional relief arrangements help to phase-in the effects of these changes on ratepayers' bills. Large rises are restricted so businesses are not suddenly asked to pay much larger amounts and this is offset by limiting big gains where businesses would have to pay significantly less.

If there are any changes to the rateable value after 1 April 2017, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of a bill that relates to any increase or decrease due to those changes. Changes to your bill as a result of other reasons (such as changes to the amount of small business rate relief) are not covered by the transitional arrangements.

We will automatically calculate any transitional relief against your business rates bill, there is no need to apply for it.

See further information about the Transitional Relief Scheme (GOV.UK).

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Properties in partial occupation

If your business is only using part of a property with the rest completely unused for a short period of time, we may be able to give a temporary discount.

After applying, a member of our business rates team may visit your property to see if you're eligible for the discount.

If you're eligible then the Valuation Office Agency will issue a certificate to show the rateable value of the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property. This will be used to decide your new bill.

See further information about business rates property exemptions and reliefs.

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State Aid for business rates

European Union competition rules generally prohibit government subsidies to businesses. Non-domestic rate relief can constitute State Aid. Generally speaking, this can apply to all discretionary reliefs for commercial bodies. There is, however a “de minimis” threshold for this of €200,000 for any business over a rolling three year period under EC1407/2013. This is a cumulative figure for all government grants including business rates relief.

We are likely to ask for confirmation from you when awarding relief that such an award would not exceed these limits.

If, however we award relief that you feel would lead to you exceeding the threshold you should contact the Business Rates Team for the relief to be cancelled.

See further information on State Aid law.

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