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Business Rates FAQs

How are business rates calculated?

Business rates are calculated as follows:

  • Rateable Value x National Non-domestic Rating Multiplier = Business Rate

All business properties have a rateable value. The Valuation Office Agency sets the rateable values and reassesses them every five years.

We work out your bill by multiplying the rateable value of your property by the appropriate rate multiplier (which the government sets each April).

For more detailed information view page Introduction to Business Rates.


How can I find out the rateable value of my premises or other premises in my area?

You can find out how much your business rates will be by checking on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website.

On the VOA website you can check the rateable value of your property. This is set by the VOA and used by us to calculate your business rates bill.


 Are all businesses rateable?

Generally, business rates are payable on most commercial properties like shops, offices, pubs, warehouses, factories, holiday rental homes or guest houses and business car spaces.

For more detailed information view page Introduction to Business Rates

 How can I pay my business rates?

You can pay your business rates by a number of different methods. The most efficient way to pay to avoid any late payment reminders is to set up a direct debit instruction. The direct debit payment will show as 'LB Tower Hamlets' on your bank statement.

You can set up a direct debit online and choose your preferred instalment plan.

For more detailed information view page How to pay Business Rates.

Do I have to pay rates if I have not moved into the business premises yet?

Please note that empty rate relief is not automatically awarded by the council and therefore you will need to provide evidence that the property is empty. Business rates remain due and payable until any relief has been granted.

For more detailed information see page Business Rates reductions and reliefs

What do my business rates pay for?

Business rates are the way that those who occupy non-domestic properties contribute towards the cost of local services.

Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1 April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This provides a direct financial incentive for authorities to work with local businesses to create a favourable local environment for growth, since local authorities will benefit from growth in business rates revenue.

The money, together with revenue from council tax payers, revenue support grants provided by the government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by your local authority.


How do I apply for small business rates relief?

This relief is only available to ratepayers who apply to their local authority and who occupy either:

  • (a) one property in England, or
  • (b) One main property and other additional properties in England providing those additional properties each have a rateable value which does not exceed £2,899.

The rateable value of the property mentioned in (a), or the aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b), must not exceed £27,999 inside London (£19,999 outside London) on each day for which relief is being sought. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable value, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase.

For more detailed information and to complete an online application form view page Business Rates reductions and reliefs

Do we have to pay business rates if we are a charity?

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs may be entitled to 80% mandatory relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the CASC, and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of that charity or CASC. We have discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. You will need to register your organisation with us first, then an online application can be made for this relief.

For more detailed information and to complete an online application form view page view page Business Rates reductions and reliefs


What happens if I do not pay my business rates?

Should you have problems paying your business rates, please contact us immediately. We may be able to offer you an alternative payment arrangement. Remember that paying by direct debit is the easiest, cheapest way to pay your business rates and ensures that your payments are made on time each month.  

Your business rates bill will state how it should be paid. Normally it will be payable by monthly instalments on dates shown on the bill. If an instalment is not paid, a reminder will be issued. It is important that a reminder is paid quickly. If not, further action may be taken and costs incurred.  

If a reminder has been issued and the reminder amount has not been paid in full, or subsequent instalments have not been kept up to date, a cancellation notice will be issued. This notice stops your right to pay by instalments and requests that the full balance remaining on the account is paid within 7 days.

For more detailed information view page what happens if I don’t pay?


What happens if I receive a court summons?

Should payment not be made in accordance with the final notice a summons will be issued for you to appear at a designated Magistrates Court. If a summons is issued costs will be charged and these will need to be paid in addition to the business rates already due.

At the court hearing we will ask the magistrates to issue a liability order which will incur additional costs. The liability order enables us to take various steps to recover the unpaid debt.

To avoid further action and costs the summons must be paid in full before the court date. If you are unable to pay the amount in full we will consider any reasonable offer of repayment but will still apply for a liability order.

For more detailed information view page what happens if I don’t pay?