Business rates reductions
Business rate reductions and grants in response to the coronavirus pandemic
The government has announced changes to the pub and retail reliefs scheme in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it is having on businesses.
Expanded Retail Discount scheme
Businesses eligible for relief now includes hospitality and leisure facilities and the amount of relief has been increased to 100 per cent from 2020/2021 business rates. Revised business rates bills have been issued to those affected.
Small Business Rate and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants
Watch out for scams
We have contacted by a number of businesses who may qualify for grants by email on 3 April 2020. But please be aware that there are a number of scam emails and messages being sent to businesses about claiming grants.
The council will always quote your business rate account number in any communication so you will always know that our messages are genuine.
Find out how to check if an email is a scam.
Do I qualify?
Update: this scheme has now closed
Please be advised the scheme for the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant closed on 30 September 2020. No further awards can be made.
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.
Types of 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.
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.
Spring Budget 2017 Relief Scheme: Supporting small businesses
Ratepayers losing Small Business or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the 2017 revaluation will have their increases limited to the greater of either
- a cash value of £600 per year, or
- the matching cap on increases for small properties in the transitional relief scheme.
This relief will run for 4 years to 31 March 2021 and ratepayers will receive the relief until this date or they reach what their bill would have been within the relief scheme, whichever is first.
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
For further information please read the criteria and guidance that has been agreed by elected members and used by officers of the council to assist in the decision making process.
The transitional relief scheme limits the amount that a bill can be increased or decreased following a revaluation (change to rateable value) which takes place every five years. The current list is the 2017 rating list. These adjustments will be shown in detail on the front of your bill if your property is eligible for transitional relief.
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 (six 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.
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.
A discount of £1,500 for office space occupied by local newspapers, up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits, is available for two years from 1 April 2017. The relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act.
The government has announced a new relief scheme for retail properties that have a rateable value of below £51,000. Under the scheme, eligible ratepayers will receive a one third discount of their daily chargeable amount. The relief will have effect for 2019/20 and 2020/21 and will be applied automatically by the council. State aid rules will apply to the retail relief in the normal way. If you have not received the award automatically and you believe that you are eligible please contact the business rates team. Further information can be found on gov.uk.
Local Discretionary Relief Scheme (LDRS) 2017
A Local Scheme operated by the council and funded by central government which helps those businesses that face the steepest increases in their business rate bills as a result of the revaluation.Eligible businesses will automatically receive the award which will be fixed for a four year period. The scheme was formally approved by cabinet on the 28 November 2017.
Find out more about the details of the scheme.
In order to reduce the burden of individuals or organisations making individual applications for Retail discount or Local Discretionary Relief Scheme (LDRS) 2017 the council has identified eligible ratepayers based on the design of the scheme and will automatically award the relief.
The award of the relief is classed as State Aid and the council must therefore comply with the European Commission State Aid legislation. The Council has diligently searched the list of recipients and to the best of its knowledge removed any organisations that it considers may exceed the State Aid threshold of €200,000 over the last 3 years (De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013).
Further information on State Aid law can be found at https://www.gov.uk/state-aid.
If your organisation has received an award of discretionary relief and the total amount will exceed the €200,000 limit over the last 3 years the you must notify the Council immediately so that a full determination can take place.
To find out if your property is eligible for any of the above contact the Business Rates team:
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
5 Clove Crescent
Tel: 020 7364 5000
Please quote your rate account number in your email
Businesslink provides information on business rates and links to the VOA and ODPM web sites where you can get more detailed information.