Discounts for business rates

Various reductions from business rates are available. These include:

Unoccupied properties


You can apply for a discount if your property is empty of all stock and furnishings (fixtures and fittings, plant, machinery and equipment are disregarded).

  • Empty properties qualify for a three month exemption commencing the date they become empty. This is extended to six months for certain industrial units.
  • Once this three or six month period has passed, the property is then liable for a 100% charge payable by whoever is entitled to possession. This will then continue until the property is re-occupied.
  • Certain properties will remain exempt for longer periods. These usually include properties with a 2017 rateable value of less than £2,900 and listed buildings. Please contact the business rates team to find out more details.

Please note that properties that go through periods of inactivity due to the nature of the business (such as, but not  exclusive to season restrictions) cannot be awarded empty property rate relief.

2013 - 2016 scheme

With effect from 1 October 2013 new properties brought into non-domestic rating will qualify for an exemption for 18 months whilst empty starting the date they are brought into rating. The scheme will run to 30 September 2016.

To apply for empty property relief please complete the form or contact the Business Rates team.

 

Part Occupied Properties (Section 44a Rate Relief)

Where a property is temporarily part occupied/empty and cannot be split by the Valuation Office Agency you may be able to apply for a short-term reduction on the vacant part of the premises.

The empty part will benefit from a three month exemption from rates (extending to six months for industrial premises). Once this period has passed a full charge will be due, regardless whether the affected area remains empty.

Please apply in writing/email to the Business Rates team providing the following:

  • A plan clearly indicating the occupied/empty part of the premises (to scale)
  • The time period requested
  • The nature of the business
  • The reason why part of the premises have been vacated
  • Whether the non-use of the vacant area is part of normal business practice (such as a year refurbishment)
  • Whether the non-use of the vacant area is by choice or enforces by an external factor beyond the business's control
  • Any exceptional or extenuating circumstances 

Upon approval the Valuation Office Agency will assess the rateable values of the occupied/empty parts of the premises.

 

Small business rate relief

Small business rate relief is available for ratepayers who pay an occupied non-domestic rate charge on properties which have a 2017 rateable value of less than £51,000.

You do not need to be running a business to qualify and if you own a beach hut or caravan you can still apply.

Empty properties and organisations in receipt of a mandatory relief (such as charity or rural rate relief) are not eligible for the scheme.

For 2017/18 your bill will be calculated using the lower multiplier of 0.466 automatically (the standard multiplier is 0.479).

Additional relief is available if the rateable value is below £15,000. To be eligible for the relief at your sole or main address you must occupy either:

  • One property

Or

  • One main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a 2017 rateable value below £2,900; and
  • The combined rateable value of all occupied properties does not exceed £19,999

 

How much relief is awarded?

The additional relief is based on the rateable value of your property. Since 1 April 2017 this has been as follows:

Relief awarded for rateable values
Rateable ValueRelief awarded
Up to £12,000100%
Between £12,000 and £15,000The amount of relief is reduced on a sliding scale from 100% to 0%

For rateable values over £12,000 the amount of relief will decrease by 1% for every £30 of rateable value of £12,000 to £15,000. A table is attached.

Change in circumstances

You must contact this office if:

  • The rateable value of any property in another Council area increases
  • You occupy and property which is not mentioned in your previous application

 

Mandatory relief for registered charities


A property that is occupied by a charity (or trustee of a charity) and used for charitable purposes will qualify for 80% mandatory relief.

In order for any application for mandatory relief to be considered the following must be noted:

  • The property must be occupied by the charity (or charities) applying for the relief, rather than a third party company operating on behalf of the charity.
  • The purpose of the property must be in order to advance the charity's aims and objectives.
  • A substantial part of the premises (more than 50%) must be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.
  • The main purpose of the property must not be to generate profit, even if that profit is then paid directly to a charity (see Exception below).
  • Exception - with charity shops the majority of goods available for sale must be donated and the proceeds of sale of such goods must be applied for the purposes of the charity.

Please Note - in order to verify the premises are being used in accordance with the above criteria it may be necessary for a council inspector to visit the premises to ensure applications are made correctly.

Mandatory relief for community amateur sports clubs (CASCs)

A property that is used by a community amateur sports club (CASC) will qualify for 80% mandatory relief.

To apply please forward a copy of your registration letter from HM Revenues and Customs.

If you are interested in becoming a CASC and would like to know more please see the external link.

This will take you directly to the HM Revenues and Customs website and will provide any details you may need to become a CASC.

Discretionary Rate Relief


From April 2011 applications for discretionary reliefs will be considered by the Grants and Concessions Panel.

The Grants and Concessions Panel will meet four times a year to consider applications. The panel will consist of six District Council members and be chaired by an Executive member.

From 1st April 2012 discretionary rate relief is available to any local ratepayer in addition to registered charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Each application is view on its own individual merits. General guidelines are as follows:

  • The application must be reasonable
  • Granting the relief should be in the interests of the Council Tax payers of the district
  • Granting of the relief must not transgress state aid rules
  • Any application must be for a finite period only

Considerations taken by the Grants and Concessions Panel include:

  • Whether the organisation can demonstrate financial need
  • Whether the Council provides other support to the organisation whether financial or otherwise
  • Whether the organisation can demonstrate that awarding the relief will be in the interests of the council tax payers of the district and support the Council's Grants and Concessions policy
  • If the organisation ceased to exist what would the impact be on the Council of local people?

If you wish to apply, please apply in writing or email providing:

  • Reasons for the application
  • Any evidence of the circumstances that have led to the application
  • Details of any special, exceptional or extenuating circumstances that may apply
  • Any other supporting evidence as appropriate

Rural Rate Relief

Rate Relief is available to certain businesses that operate within a rural settlement area.

The Government has designated areas within 65 of the 68 parishes in our district as rural for the purposes of Business Rate Relief. The only parishes excluded are Chichester City, East Wittering and Midhurst.

Rural businesses are encouraged to apply for 100% mandatory rural rate relief for occupied properties with certain criteria:

  • Village shops and post offices with a rateable value of up to £8,500, provided they are the only such village shop or post office within that rural settlement area. To be considered eligible as a general store the business must consist wholly or mainly for the retail sale of both food for human consumption (excluding confectionary) and general household goods.

 

  • Public houses and petrol filling stations with a rateable value up to £12,500 provided they are the only such public house or petrol station within that rural settlement area. To be considered eligible as a public house the premises must be on license (within the meaning of the Licensing Act 1964, other than Part 1 V license within the meaning of the Act). To be considered eligible as a petrol station the premises must be where petrol or other automotive fuels ar sold retail to the general public for fuelling motor vehicles intended or adapted for use on roads.

If you wish to apply please complete the online application form or ring up the business rates team.

Up to 100 discretionary rural rate relief is available from Chichester District Council for sole village shops and post offices with a rateable value over £8,500 up to £16,500 where no other reliefs are available. Please write or email the Business Rates team with details in support of your application.

Hardship relief

Additional help with the rates may be available to ratepayers who are facing hardship.

Hardship relief is funded by the Council Tax payers of the Chichester District. Any application must therefore take the needs of the ratepayers of the district and how local people would be affected  if relief was not awarded into consideration. In view of this hardship relief is awarded only in wholly exceptional circumstances.

Relief will only be granted for the period for which there is clear evidence of hardship for the ratepayer and normally for no longer than the financial year in which the request was made.

If you wish to apply please write to the business rates team providing details.

 

State Aid

Awards for discretionary relief are required to comply with EU law on State Aid. In order to be eligible a declaration must be signed stating that the award of the relief, along with any other De Minimis State Aid being awarded in respect to your premises does not exceed €200,000 under the De Minimis Regulations EC 407/2013.