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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.

Community Amateur Sports Club's Rate Relief

Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) can get their bills reduced by 80%.  The Council has the discretion to reduce the bill further.  It also has the discretion to award relief to some other types of not-for-profit organisations.

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

Empty Properties 

From April 2011, the Government changed the rules for rate relief on empty non-domestic properties.  The changes mean:

  • non-industrial properties can get 100% rate relief for a maximum of 3 months;
  • industrial properties can get 100% rate relief for a maximum of 6 months.

At the end of these periods, the premises will be subject to empty property rates equivalent to the full Business Rates charge.

The following types of premises are exempt from an empty property rate charge (in other words, they won't be charged Business Rates):

  • Empty properties where occupation is prohibited by law;
  • Empty listed buildings; 
  • Empty small properties with a rateable value of less than £2,600;
  • Empty properties of companies in administration or liquidation; 
  • Empty properties owned, and last occupied, by a charity where the next user of the property is likely to be charity;
  • Empty new builds (for up to 18 months between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016)

The Government has introduced a temporary measure for unoccupied 'new builds' from 1 October 2013. Under this temporary measure, we will use our discretionary powers to exempt unoccupied new builds from business rates for up to 18 months, up to state aid limits, where the property comes on to the list between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016.  The 18 month period includes the initial 3 or 6 month mandatory exemption.

If your business is only using part of the premises for which you are liable, you may be able to claim rate relief known as 'Section 44a relief'.  We can award this discretionary relief if the 'part occupation' is for a short time only and where:

  • the premises are partly occupied because you are phasing full occupation over a period of time; or
  • part occupation is temporary due to remedial building or refurbishment works, fire damage or similar.

If your property is not capable of occupation because it is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired, the Valuation Officer may decide it should be taken out of the rating list altogether.

Charitable and Discretionary Relief

Charities are entitled to 80% relief from rates on any non-domestic property which is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.

The Council has the discretion to reduce the bill further in line with it's Discretionary Rate Relief policy. 

Rural Rate Relief

If your business is in a designated rural settlement and it provides a service that meets the basic essential daily needs of the community, you may be able to claim Rural Rate relief. 

Small Business Rates Relief

From April 2005, the Government introduced the Small Business Rate Relief scheme and two multipliers: the small business multiplier and the standard multiplier. The 'standard' multiplier introduces a supplement which helps fund the Small Business Rate Relief scheme.

Until 31 March 2017, you will get 100% relief for properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less. This means you may not pay business rates on properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less.

The rate of relief will gradually reduce from 100% to 0% for properties with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000.

The current rate of relief was introduced by the Government in October 2010 to award a higher amount of relief. In December 2015, the Government chose to extend the scheme until 31 March 2017.

It was announced in the March 2016 budget, however, that from April 2017 the government will permanently double Small Business Rates Relief from 50% to 100% and increase the thresholds. Businesses properties with a rateable value of £12,000 and below will receive 100% relief. Businesses properties with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 will receive tapered relief. The threshold at which the standard business rates multiplier is applied is increased from £18,000 to £51,000.

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

Revenues and Benefits Service
West Somerset House
Killick Way

Telephone: 01643 703704