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West Somerset Council

Business Rate Relief

Business Rates are also called National Non Domestic Rates. It is a national tax collected by local authorities. The proceeds are used to assist Councils with the cost of local services.

There are a number of different reductions available.

Help for Retail Businesses

The Council have the discretion to discount business rate bills by up to £1,000 in each of the next two years (2014-15 and 2015-16) for retail premises with a rateable value of £50,000 or less. Retail premises must be occupied and wholly or mainly used to sell goods, services or food and drink to visiting members of the public. More information is available on Retail Rate Relief Reoccupation Relief 2015-16 (443 kb pdf)

Amateur Sports Club's Rate Relief

If your sports club registers with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) you can benefit from various tax advantages, for example claiming back tax on Gift Aid donations, tax relief on the Corporation Tax you pay on income and capital gains, and non-domestic rates relief.

The CASC scheme is open to qualifying sports clubs in other European Member States or relevant territories as well as clubs in the UK.

For more information see Registering as a Community Amateur Sports Club on the HMRC website.

Empty Properties 

Unoccupied Property Rating

Business Rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty.  This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period, rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order. In most cases, the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs. In addition , there are a number of exemptions from the empty property rate.

Charitable and Discretionary Relief

Charities are entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property which is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.

Relief is given at 80% of the full rate bill (or the transitional bill if applicable).
The Council has discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20% of a charity's bill on such property and also has discretion to remit all or part of any rate bill in respect of property occupied by certain bodies not established or conducted for profit.

Rural Rate Relief

Certain types of business in rural villages, with a population below 3000 may qualify for rate relief of 50%. Businesses that qualify for this relief are the sole general store and the sole post office in the village, provided it has a rateable value of up to £8,500; any food shop with a rateable value up to £8,500; and the sole pub and the sole petrol station in the village provided it has a rateable value of up to £12,500. Local councils have the discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill on such property.

The Council may decide to give up to 100% relief to any other business in such a rural village, with a rateable value of up to £16,500, if it is satisfied that the business is of benefit to the community and having regard to the interests of its council tax payers.

Small Business Rate Relief

This relief is only available to ratepayers who apply to their local authority and who occupy either-

(a) one property, or

(b) one main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties have a rateable value of less than £2,600.

The rateable value of the property mentioned in (a), or the aggregate rateable value of all properties mentioned in (b), must be under £18,000 outside London or £25,500 within London, including on 1st April each year.

Ratepayers who satisfy these conditions will have the bill for their single or main property calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier rather than the ordinary non-domestic rating multiplier that is used to calculate the liability of other businesses.

In addition, if the single or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value of up to £12,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 50% for a property with a rateable value of not more than £6,000.

If an application for relief is granted, provided the ratepayer’s circumstances do not change, the application will not need to renewed until the next revaluation of non-domestic premises, which happens every five years. Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the local authority by the ratepayer (other changes will be picked up by the local authority). The changes which must be notified are-

a) the ratepayer taking up occupation of a property they did not occupy at the time of making their application for relief; and

b) an increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted the relief.

Notification of these changes must be given to the local authority within 4 weeks of the day after the day the change happened. If this happens, there will be no interruption to the ratepayer’s entitlement to relief. However, failure to notify the authority within this timeframe will mean the ratepayer ceases to be entitled to the relief with effect from the day that the change happened. If they are still eligible, the ratepayer will be entitled to the relief again with effect from the day that they notify the local authority. A notification that the ratepayer has taken up occupation of an additional property must be by way of a fresh application for relief; notice of an increase in rateable value must be given in writing.

Financial difficulties

If you are struggling to pay your bill please let us know as soon as you can, we will try to offer our advice and deal with your problems in a sympathetic manner.

Contact Us

West Somerset House
Killick Way

Telephone: 01643 703704