Business rates reductions

Business owners may be eligible for reductions in their business rates. The council provides advice on eligibility for rate reductions and will provide application forms and process applications for reductions.

Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR)

Small business rates relief is awarded based on the rateable value of the property and the number of properties a business occupies.

You can apply for small business rates relief if you occupy one property in England and the rateable value of that property is below £15,000.

If you have more than one business property in England you can also apply providing each additional property's rateable value is below £2,900.

To apply please download and complete an application form for Small Business Rates Relief and the guidance notes to complete the application.

100 per cent discount can be awarded for properties with a rateable value of not more than £12,000. For properties with a rateable value from £12,001 - £14,999 a phased percentage discount is applied.

Supporting small businesses

Ratepayers losing Small Business, Rural Rate Relief or 2017 SSBR as a result of the 2023 revaluation will have their increases limited to a cash value of £600 per year.

Ratepayers receiving 2017 SSB relief in 2022/23, any eligibility for 2023 SSBR will end on 31 March 2024. All other eligible ratepayers remain in 2023 SSBR for either:

  • 3 years or
  • until they reach the bill they would have paid without the scheme.

The relief will automatically be awarded to eligible ratepayers.

A change of ratepayers will not affect eligibility for the Supporting Small Business scheme but eligibility will be lost if the property:

  • falls vacant or
  • becomes occupied by a charity or Community Amateur Sports Club.

Charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs, who are already entitled to mandatory 80% relief, are not eligible for 2023 SSBR.

Charity relief

Charity organisations and registered community amateur sports clubs can apply for mandatory relief which may result in an 80 per cent reduction in the charge. Additional relief on the remaining bill can be awarded at the council's discretion.

Non-profit making organisations may be entitled to relief which is also at the discretion of the council. This discretionary power allows the council to grant relief for all or part of any non-domestic rate liability for property occupied by certain bodies not established or conducted for profit.

Awards will be made for a fixed period of 12 months or until the end of the current financial year (31 March) and may be extended for a further 12 month period (or the end of the current financial year) without the need for a review to take place.

Applications for charity relief can only be made by completing the online form and providing all requested information and documentation.  You will be notified whether or not your application was successful when a Non-Domestic Rate Demand is issued to you.

Apply for charity relief online



Transitional relief

At a revaluation, some ratepayers will see reductions or no change in their bill whereas some ratepayers will see increases. Transitional relief schemes are introduced at each revaluation to help those facing increases. Transitional relief is applied automatically to bills.

Unoccupied property relief

If a property is empty and unfurnished business rates will not be payable for the first three months. In the case of industrial properties this is extended to six months. After this the full rate becomes due and payable.

Empty properties with a rateable value less than £2,900 are exempt from empty property rate.

There are other empty property rate exemptions. Details are available from the Business Rates team

Partly occupied relief

Where a property is partly occupied the full rate remains payable in most cases. However where it is partly occupied for a short time the council has discretion in certain cases to award relief for the unoccupied part for up to three months (6 months for industrial properties).

Our Revenues Inspector will need to view the premises at the time of the application to establish eligibility. We do not consider retrospective claims.

Hardship relief

A hardship claim can be submitted to the local authority who will consider each case on its individual circumstances and with regard to the interests of the council tax payers.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme

The 2024/25 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) relief scheme will provide eligible, occupied, retail, hospitality, and leisure properties with 75 per cent relief, up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business. 

Relief will be automatically provided to eligible occupied retail, hospitality and leisure properties in 2024/25. For more information, see the Business Rates Relief: 2024/25 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme.

Under the cash cap, no ratepayer can in any circumstances exceed the £110,000 cash cap across all of their hereditaments in England. Where a ratepayer has a qualifying connection with another ratepayer then those ratepayers should be considered as one ratepayer for the cash caps. 

The Retail Hospitality and Leisure Scheme is likely to amount to a subsidy. Any relief provided by Local Authorities under this scheme will need to comply with the UK’s domestic and international subsidy control obligations. 

Please email the business rates team if your business will be in breach of the cash cap or subsidy control regime. Email the business rates team

Business rates relief policy - criteria and guidance

Please read the criteria and guidance that elected members have agreed on and used by council officers to asset in decision-making.

Subsidy control

If your organisation has received an award of discretionary relief and the total amount will exceed the subsidy control/cash cap levels you must notify the council immediately so that a full determination can take place.

The Subsidy Control Act allows an economic actor to receive up to £315,000 in a 3-year period (the 2024/25 year and the 2 previous financial years).

Discretionary relief is likely to amount to being classed as a subsidy. Therefore, reliefs such as Retail, Hospitality & Leisure, Supporting Small Business and CARF would all be classed as subsidies.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief has a cash cap of £110,000. Therefore, no business at the group company level can go over this.

It is the responsibility of ratepayers, on a self-assessment basis, to inform the authority if they are in breach of the Minimal Financial Assistance MFA limit. If they are not, they do not need to do anything

The new UK subsidy control regime commenced from 4 January 2023. The new regime enables public authorities, including devolved administrations and local authorities, to deliver subsidies that are tailored for local needs.

Public authorities giving subsidies must comply with the UK’s international subsidy control commitments. The subsidy control legislation provides the framework for a new, UK-wide subsidy control regime. See more information on the UK subsidy control regime.

Further information

To find out if your property is eligible for any of the above contact the Business Rates team:

Revenue Services
Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

Tel:  020 7364 5000

Please quote your rate account number in your email