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Business Rates

Business Rate relief

Some businesses and premises may be entitled to relief. Use the information below to find out if you are entitled to business rate relief.

See our South Somerset NDR Full Business Rates DRR Policy for more information. 

  1. Small businesses

    Small Business Rate Relief

    Small business rate relief is designed to reduce the amount of business rates payable by small businesses.

    You can receive Small Business Rate Relief if:

    • You only occupy one business property in the UK
    • If you occupy more than one property, but:
      • Each additional property has a rateable value less than £2,900; and
      • The total rateable values of all your properties add up to less than £20,000 (The small business rate relief will be applied to the main property only).
      • The rateable value of your property is less than £15,000. (If your property is occupied and has a rateable value below £51,000, you're still considered to be a ‘small business'. Although you won't be entitled to Small Business Rate Relief, your business rates bills will automatically be calculated using the small business multiplier).

    If you qualify for other reliefs then you may not be entitled to claim Small Business Rate Relief and your bill will be calculated using the standard multiplier.

    For example, if you receive mandatory relief as a charity, then you will not qualify for small business rate relief. This does not include transitional relief or any discretionary reliefs.

    The amount of relief you receive changes depending on the rateable value of your property:

    • Less than £12,000: 100% relief.
    • Between £12,000 and £15,000: the percentage of relief available will decrease on a sliding scale.

    You can apply for small business relief online.

    Support Small Businesses relief

    The Supporting Small Businesses Relief is designed to help ratepayers who, as a result of the change in their rateable value at the revaluation, are losing some or all of their Small Business or Rural Rate Relief and, therefore, are facing large increases in their bills.

    The Supporting Small Businesses Relief will ensure that the increase per year of the bills of these ratepayers is limited to:

    • A cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month), or
    • The matching cap on increases for small properties in the transitional relief scheme. (The cap being 5% for 2017/18, 7.5% for 2018/19, 10% for 2019/20, 15% for 2020/21 and 15% for 2021/22)

    We will issue application forms to all those who qualify for this relief.

  2. Expanded Retail Discount 2021-22

    The Expanded Retail Discount will continue to apply in 21-22 at 100% for qualifying business rates customers for the first three months (1st April 2021 – 30th June 2021).  From 1st July 2021 – 31st March 2022 the relief will be reduced to 66%. For the initial 3 month period there is no cash cap on the relief received.  From 1st July 2021 relief will be capped at £105,000 per business, or £2 million per business where the business is or was required to close based on the law and guidance applicable on 5th January 2021.

    Which Properties will benefit from relief?

    Hereditaments that meet the eligibility for Expanded Retail Discount will be occupied hereditaments which meet all of the following conditions for the chargeable day:

    1. They are wholly or mainly being used:
      1. As shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
      2. For assembly and leisure; or
    • As hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.


    Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues mean:

    • Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public
      • Shops (Florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off licences, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets etc.)
      • Charity Shops
      • Opticians
      • Post Offices
      • Furnishing shops/display rooms (such as carpet shops, double glazing etc.)
      • Car/caravan show rooms
      • Markets
      • Petrol Stations
      • Garden Centres
      • Art Galleries (where art is for sale or hire)
    • Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public
      • Hair and beauty services
      • Shoe repairs/key cutting
      • Travel Agents
      • Ticket offices e.g. for theatre
      • Dry cleaners
      • Launderettes
      • PC/TV/domestic appliance repair
      • Funeral directors
      • Photo processing
      • Tool hire
      • Car hire
      • Employment agencies
      • Estate agents and letting agents
      • Betting shops
    • Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of food or drink to visiting members of the public
      • Restaurants
      • Takeaways
      • Sandwich shops
      • Coffee shops
      • Pubs
      • Bars
    • Hereditaments that are being used as cinemas
    • Hereditaments that are being used as live music venues.
      • Wholly or mainly used for the performance of live music for the purpose of entertaining an audience. Excludes those wholly or mainly used as a nightclub or theatre.
      • Can be a live music venue even if used for other activities if those activities are:
        • Ancillary or incidental to the performance of live music (e.g. selling drinks)
        • Do not affect the fact that the primary activity is the performance of live music.
      • There may be circumstances where it will be difficult to tell whether an activity is the performance of live music or, instead, the playing of recorded music. Guidance can be found in section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003

    Leisure means:

    • Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of sport, leisure and facilities to visiting members of the public (including for the viewing of such activities)
      • Sports grounds and clubs
      • Museums and art galleries
      • Nightclubs
      • Sport and leisure facilities
      • Stately homes and historic houses
      • Theatres
      • Tourist attractions
      • Gyms
      • Wellness centre, spas, massage parlours
      • Casinos, gambling clubs and bingo halls
    • Hereditaments that are being used for the assembly of visiting members of the public.
      • Public Halls
      • Clubhouses, clubs and institutions


    Hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation means:

    • Hereditaments where the non-domestic part is being used for the provision of living accommodation as a business:
      • Hotels, Guest and Boarding Houses
      • Holiday homes
      • Caravan parks and sites

    Hereditaments which are occupied but not wholly or mainly used for one of the above qualifying purposes will not qualify for the relief.  For the avoidance of doubt any hereditament which has been closed due to government advice on COVID19 should be treated as occupied for the purpose of this relief.

    The list above is not exhaustive but intended as a guide for local authorities.  Authorities have the discretion to determine for themselves whether particular properties are eligible and should consider whether the purpose is broadly similar in nature to those above.  Properties that are not broadly similar should not be eligible for the relief.

    Properties the Government has stated ARE NOT ELIGIBLE for the relief

    • Hereditaments being used for the provision of the following services:
    • Financial Services (banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short term loan providers etc.)
    • Medical Services (vets, dentist, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors etc.)
    • Professional services (solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/financial advisers)
    • Post office sorting offices
    • Hereditaments that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public.

    Further information on this can be found at Business rates: expanded retail discount 2021 to 2022 - local authority guidance.

    The Expanded Retail discount will be included automatically on your bill, however if you think you should have received this discount and have not please Contact us, you should also inform us without delay if you have received the discount and do not think that you are entitled.

  3. Charities and non-profit organisations

    Charities are entitled to relief on any non-domestic property that is wholly or mainly used for the objectives of the charity.

    Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC's) and other non-profit organisations are also entitled to relief.

    To be eligible for mandatory charity relief, you must be an organisation established solely for charitable purposes. For the purposes of awarding this relief, we define a charity as:

    • Any organisation that is registered with the Charity Commission or Department of Education.
    • Charitable organisations that are exempt from registration (e.g. Scout & Guide Groups, Religious Trusts, etc.)
    • Any organisation that is registered with HMRC as a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC).

    Registered charities will need to provide their charity commission registration number. CASCs will need to provide us with a copy of their HMRC registration certificate.

    Non-profit making organisations may be eligible for discretionary relief. This includes Community Interest Companies (CICs), Sports Clubs, Recreation Facilities and Hostels.

    To qualify, the main objectives of the organisation must be charitable, religious, or concerned with education, sports or recreation, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts.

    Mandatory charity relief is given at 80% of the amount due.

    Some charities may be entitled to further discretionary relief in addition to the mandatory 80%. In accordance with our Discretionary Rate Relief policy.

    Non Profit organisations may also be entitled to Discretionary Rate Relief.

    You will need to contact us to apply for this relief.

  4. Rural businesses

    Certain businesses in rural settlements, with a population below 3000, may qualify for Rural Rate Relief.

    Your business may be eligible for Mandatory Rural Rate Relief if it is:

    • The only village general store and has a rateable value of no more than £8,500.
    • The only post office and has a rateable value of no more than £8,500.
    • A food shop and has a rateable value of no more than £8,500.
    • The only village pub and has a rateable value of no more than £12,500.
    • The only petrol station and has a rateable value of no more than £12,500.

    If you don’t meet these criteria, you may still be eligible for support as we also award Discretionary Rural Rate Relief to certain rural businesses.

    Your business may be eligible if it can be shown to be a benefit to the community and is:

    • The only village pub and has a rateable value of no more than £16,500.
    • The only dentists surgery or hairdresser and has a rateable value of no more than £16,500.

    If you are awarded Mandatory Rural Rate Relief, you will be fully exempt from paying business rates (100% reduction).

    If you are awarded Discretionary Rural Rate Relief, you could receive up to 50% relief on your business rates.

    You will need to contact us to apply for this relief.

  5. Businesses in hardship

    If your business is suffering severe hardship and you cannot pay your business rates bill, you may be considered for Hardship Relief.

    Your business must be occupying the property in question in order to be eligible.

    The ratepayer must not be entitled to any of the following types of relief:

    • Mandatory charity relief
    • Mandatory rural rate relief
    • Discretionary relief for non-profit organisations

    If you think you may be eligible for any of these reliefs, you should try applying for them first.

    To be considered for hardship relief you would need to demonstrate all 3 of the following conditions:

    • Hardship is being endured (this is established by examining 2 years of the businesses financial records)
    • Your business is viable and the granting of relief will help ensure the future of the business. (We will need you to submit a business plan or financial projection for the organisation in order to show this).
    • Your business provides a considerable community benefit. (We will take into account the range of facilities available and the businesses impact on the local area).

    If successful, you will be entitled to up to 100% relief.

    This would normally only be done in extreme cases of hardship and for businesses which are particularly important to the local community.

    The decision to grant relief takes account of the fact that local council taxpayers will cover part of the cost of the relief.

    You will need to contact us to apply for this relief.

  6. Empty or partially occupied properties

    The Empty Property Rate Relief scheme provides business rate relief for businesses with empty premises.

    A property is not deemed as empty if stock or goods remain on the premises, despite whether you have ceased trading. Your business will still be liable for the full charge.

    However, certain machinery and equipment used when the property was last occupied, or intended for use when the property next becomes occupied, may be disregarded when determining whether a property is empty.

    The amount of relief you will receive depends on the nature of the empty property:

    • 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, your business will be liable for the full charge.

    Some property types are permanently exempt from Business Rates when empty:

    • Properties where occupation is prohibited by law
    • Listed buildings
    • Small properties with a rateable value of less than £2,900
    • Properties of companies in administration or liquidation
    • Properties owned, and last occupied, by a charity where the next user of the property is likely to be charity.

    If part of your property is not being used and is completely unoccupied for a short time, you may receive relief to reduce the amount you have to pay in Business Rates.

    To be eligible, the empty area of the property must be completely cleared of equipment and stock.

    If you choose to apply, you will need to submit a detailed plan of your property, highlighting the unoccupied area.

    We will send an inspection officer to visit to verify your application.

    If we decide you are eligible for relief, we will ask the Valuation Officer to split the rateable value between the occupied and unoccupied parts.

    We will then award Empty Property Relief for the unoccupied area, i.e. you will be exempt from paying business rates for the vacant area, for a maximum of 3 months or 6 months for industrial properties.

    You will still be charged business rates for the occupied area.

    You will need to contact us to apply for this relief.

  7. Transitional relief

    For information about transitional relief visit our revaluation and transitional relief page.

    We will adjust your bill automatically if you’re eligible.

    You may be entitled to other reliefs, as well as transitional relief.

  8. Change in circumstances

    You must tell us about any changes which may affect your entitlement to rate relief, such as:

    • vacating the property
    • taking up occupation of an additional property
    • an increase in the rateable value of a property

    If you do not report a change, you may pay an incorrect amount for Business Rates which could lead to an investigation for fraud.

    Visit our change in circumstances page to tell us about a change.

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