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Discounts for business rates

Various reductions from business rates are available.

Part occupied properties (Section 44a rate relief)

Where a property is temporarily part occupied/empty and cannot be split by the Valuation Office Agency (opens new window) 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.

Section 44a policy (PDF) [413KB]

Small business rate relief

Small business rate relief is a government scheme intended to assist ratepayers who occupy a small property that is assessed for non-domestic rates (commonly known as business rates).

You do not need to be running a business to qualify - for example, if you are renting a workshop to use for a hobby, or if have a beach hut, you can still qualify.

Additional information is available at Small business rate relief (opens new window)

The scheme works in two ways:

  • If the rateable value is below £51,000 you will be charged at a lower multiplier (0.499 for 2023/24 instead of 0.512). This is applied automatically

 

  • If the rateable value is below £15,000 additional relief will be award (up to 100%). This is by application

 

Registered charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCS) are not eligible for small business rate relief - alternative relief schemes are available

How do I qualify?

With a few exceptions (see below), the scheme is intended for ratepayers who occupy one non-domestic property only.

The property must be occupied and used in some capacity - empty properties are not eligible

What if I occupy more than one property, or expand my business and take on additional premises?

If more than one property is occupied, small business rate relief can still be awarded to the main property (the property with the highest Rateable Value) where:

  • The Rateable Value for all secondary occupied properties must have RVs below £2,900

And

  • The combined Rateable value for all occupied properties (main and secondary) must be below £20,000

Empty properties are not eligible for small business rate relief and are therefore not relevant to these criteria.

If both criteria are met, you will qualify for small business rate relief at the main property. You cannot get small business rate relief on the secondary properties as well.

If you receive small business rate relief and then take on and occupy an additional property, you may lose your eligibility for small business rate relief.

If the new property has a rateable value below £2,900, and both rateable values combined come to below £20,000, you will continue to qualify (see "What if I occupy more than one property?" above).

However, if the rateable value of the new property is £2,900 or over, you will only continue to receive small business rate relief at your original premises for an additional 12 months (commencing the date you occupy the additional premises). Once 12 months has passed, the relief will end, and a full charge bill will be payable.

You cannot get small business rate relief on the additional property as well.

How much relief do I get?

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

Rateable Value

Relief awarded

Up to £12,000

100%

Between £12,000 and £15,000

The amount of relief is reduced on a sliding scale from 100% to 0%

For RVs over £12,000 the amount of relief awarded will decrease by 1% for every £30 of RV. A table is attached as a rough guide.

Small Business Rate Relief Award (2017 and 2023 Lists) RV £12,000 to RV £15,000 (PDF) [184KB]

How do I apply?

Please complete the online application

Small business rate relief application

 

Change in circumstances

You must contact this office if:

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

Mandatory relief for registered charities

Mandatory rate relief for registered charities application

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

Discretionary rate relief for charities and not-for-profit organisations application

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 viewed 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

Discretionary Relief Guidance Notes (PDF) [192KB]

Grants Policy 2024 (Word doc) [102KB]

Rural rate relief

Rural rate relief application

Rate Relief is available to certain businesses that operate within a rural settlement area (opens new window).

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 confectionery) 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 are 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.

If you wish to apply please complete the online application form or contact the taxation team on 01243 534501.

Discretionary Relief Guidance Notes (PDF) [192KB]

Rural Settlement list 2022 (PDF) [214KB]

Hardship relief

Additional help with business 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.

Discretionary Relief Guidance Notes (PDF) [192KB]

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.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) relief 2024/25

The Government has extended the 2023/24 scheme by an additional year. It will now end 31 March 2025.

The property must be wholly or mainly used as a retail, hospitality or leisure business open to the public. Qualifying businesses are eligible for 75% rate relief off their business rates bills. There is a maximum award or £110,000 per business (not per property)

Where a business occupies multiple premises, the £110,000 limit is spread across all premises. Premises cannot get up to £110,000 in respect to each property. This includes where a business has a qualifying connection with another business (such as a parent/subsidiary business, or holding company).

Under no circumstances can businesses exceed the £110,000 cash cap across their business premises in England in the same financial year.

To apply, please contact the Taxation team on 01243 534501 or by email at taxation@chichester.gov.uk with the header "RHL application".

Please also email Taxation if:

  • The business has been awarded retail relief in Chichester and you believe you will exceed the £110,000 limit
  • The business occupies more than one qualifying property. You must declare to Chichester District Council you do not exceed the £110,000 limit. 
  • The business wishes to opt out of the scheme. Please note that once the relief has been refused this decision cannot be reversed later within the same financial year.

Further information is available at 2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme (opens new window)

 

Contact us

For further information and advice email taxation@chichester.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can phone us on 01243 534501.