Business rates for empty and unused properties
In general, you don't need to pay business rates for the first three months that a property is empty. After that, you must pay the same rates as if the property was occupied. Certain properties can receive an extended period in which they do not need to pay business rates. Listed buildings and small properties (with a rateable value of up to £2,600) may get empty property relief until they are reoccupied. Those owned by charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs may also be eligible if they meet certain criteria. Industrial units (like warehouses) can have empty property relief for up to six months.
Unoccupied new builds will be exempt from unoccupied property rates for up to 18 months 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 exemption and so properties may, if unoccupied, be exempt from non-domestic rates for up to an extra 12 or 15 months.
For the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years, business premises with a rateable value of less than £51,000 that are occupied wholly or mainly for retail use shall receive a reduction of one third. The amount of relief applied is calculated and applied to accounts after all other eligible reductions have been taken into consideration.
The Retail Discount has been introduced under Section 47 of Local Government Finance Act 1988 and is therefore applied using the council’s discretionary powers. In February 2019, Selby District Council approved policy to award retail discount in line with the Retail Discount Guidance.
The Local Taxation Section has identified those who may be eligible for this relief and has written to them. The relief will be applied to their accounts very shortly. If you believe you may be eligible, but have not receive any details about this, please telephone the Local Taxation Section or email firstname.lastname@example.org and they can check if you may be eligible.
Part occupation relief applies where part of the business property is empty and will remain so for a short time. To apply for this, we will need:
- a plan detailing the occupied and unoccupied parts
- an estimate of how long the empty part will remain so, and
- to know what you intend to do with the empty part, eg are you hoping to use this empty part in the foreseeable future
Charity relief is a mandatory relief which applies to a charitable organisation (eg a charity or trustees of a charity). The relief is set at 80% of the business rates calculated.
To qualify for this relief, the organisation would normally be a registered charity, so when you make your application please ensure that you quote your registration number, or the reasons why you have chosen not to register.
Please download an application form using the link below, this form is complete with guidance notes.
Non profit making organisations - mandatory and discretionary relief are both available. Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) can receive 80% mandatory rate relief from 1 April 2004. To qualify as a CASC, the sports club must be registered with HM Revenue and Customs. You can also contact HM Revenue and Customs Community Amateur Sports Clubs team on 0300 123 1073.
Discretionary relief may be granted where the property is used for the following concerns:
Discretionary relief may also be granted if the property is used for the promotion of:
- Social welfare
- The fine arts
Discretionary relief may also be granted if the property is occupied for the purpose of a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit.
Rural rate relief
Certain types of properties in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000 may be entitled to relief.
The property must be the only general store, the only post office or a food shop and have a rateable value of less than £8,500, or the only public house or the only petrol station and have a rateable value of less than £12,500. The property has to be occupied. An eligible ratepayer is entitled to relief at 50% of the full charge while we also have discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill.
The 2016 Autumn Statement confirmed the doubling of rural rate relief from 50% to 100% from 1st April 2017. As such where you are entitled to the Mandatory Rural Rate Relief we have used our local discount powers to award 100% rural rate relief from 1st April 2017.
Our policy is that the maximum award of rural rate relief would normally be 80% of the charge (50% mandatory + 30% discretionary relief). However in order to satisfy the 2016 Autumn Statement announcement we have removed this restriction for ratepayers who qualify for mandatory rural rate relief, and we will be amending our policy in due course to reflect this change.
Discretionary Rural Rate Relief
This relief may be granted as a "top up" to Mandatory Rural Rate relief or in its own right. The amount of any award is at our discretion and may be any amount up to 80% of the rates due. The cost of any award of this relief falls in part on the Council Taxpayers of the district as a whole.
The criteria that must be met before an award can be considered are:
- The property must be located in a rural settlement with a population of less than 3,000.
- The property has a rateable value of less than £16,500 from 1 April 2010 (£14,000 prior to 1 April 2010).
- The property is used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community and that the cost to the taxpayers is justified.
Please find below details of the points system for Discretionary Rural Rate Relief.
|Is there a similar facility or business within the settlement? If so||
|Does the business primarily provide an important service to the local community and is it in the interests of local council tax payers to support it? If not,||
|Employment of Local Residents||
|Does the business provide a free delivery service to any of the local community?||
Proximity to nearest similar business. if 2 miles or more
|Poor availability of public transport (buses not available at regular intervals each day, i.e. only geared to school/work hours). (Where relevant the nature of the business)||
|Opening Hours (if the business is open 7 days for long hours)||
|Provision of additional services (unconnected to the nature of the business and provided to assist the local community)||
Please download an application - Rural Rates Relief - pdf.
Former Agricultural Premises
Rate relief is also available for land and buildings used for non-agricultural purposes on what had been agricultural land or agricultural buildings. The following provisions apply:
- The rateable value does not exceed £7000 for 1 April 2005 (£6000 prior to 1 April 2005).
- The land or buildings have been used as agricultural land or agricultural buildings for at least 183 days during the year prior to 15 August 2001.
- This does not apply to Stud Farms which already benefit from an existing concession on their rateable value.
- Relief is currently limited to a maximum of 5 years from 15 August 2001.
Subject to certain conditions, the business will get a 50% reduction in the rates bill up to 16 August 2006. We have the discretion to give further relief on the remaining 50% under Discretionary Rural Rate Relief.
Where the business is suffering hardship that has been caused through exceptional circumstances we can grant discretionary relief. When considering an application we will require some form of financial statement. Audited accounts are preferred, but if these aren't available, other documents such as bank statements or cash books etc may be accepted. In the case of an individual, we may also require a statement of means.
To back up your application we will also need to know what exceptional circumstances have led to your current situation and why, in your view, we should reduce your liability.
Supporting Small Business Relief
As a result of the 2017 revaluation, certain businesses have lost some or all of their entitlement to small business rate relief or rural rate relief. The transitional relief scheme does not provide support in respect of businesses who have lost a mandatory relief, therefore a new scheme has been made available from 1 April 2017.
Ratepayers in this circumstance will see their annual increase capped under the supporting small business rate relief scheme to a maximum of £600 per year. We have automatically identified the accounts that may qualify for this relief and it has been applied to their bills.
Discretionary Revalution Relief
In the Chancellors 2017 Spring Budget, it was announced that a discretionary fund of £300 million over a four year period from 2017-18 would be made available to support businesses that face the steepest increases in their business rates bill as a result of the 2017 revaluation. The transitional relief scheme already limits increases to bills due to the revaluation, however, the Government have decided that local authorities can at their discretion, grant further relief to those most affected.
Selby District Council has approved policy to automatically grant additional relief for properties with rateable values up to £200,000 who have had an increase in charge of more than 12.5%. The funding allocated by Central Government, which will be applied against the charge as follows:
2017/18 12.5% discretionary rate relief
2018/19 6% discretionary rate relief
2019/20 2.2% discretionary rate relief
In 2020/21 due to a very small amount of funding cases will be considered in exceptional circumstances only.
Grants and funding
North Yorkshire County Council is sometimes able to offer grants. They have recently secured funding from the European Commission to support businesses in North Yorkshire. For more information, see the Grants and External Funding page of their website.
Providing discretionary relief on business rates is counted as state aid; as such, we are required to comply with European Union law on state aid. This is the means by which the EU regulates state funded support for businesses.
If you receive business rate relief you must advise us immediately if any award brings your support more than the de minimis state aid limit. This means that the combined total of the business rates relief you are receiving, other business rates relief you have received for other premises and any other discretionary funding from a government body does not exceed €200,000 over 3 years (consisting of the current financial year and the two previous financial years). If your company is part of a group, you must include aid to the group as a whole.