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.

Types of reductions

COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) Scheme

What is the CARF Scheme? 

It gives business rates relief (not grants) for the financial year 2021/22 to businesses that were affected by COVID-19 but have not already had help through the pandemic. 

It gets applied to an eligible ratepayer’s business rates for the financial year 2021/22. 

It is designed by the council to reach as many smaller businesses as possible. 

We have identified eligible businesses and sent amended notices to them. 

What are the conditions?

Tower Hamlets should:

  • not award relief to ratepayers who for the same period of the relief either are or would have been eligible for the Extended Retail Discount (covering Retail, Hospitality and Leisure), the Nursery Discount.
  • not award relief to a property for a period it was unoccupied.
  • direct support towards ratepayers who have been adversely affected by the pandemic and have been unable to adequately adapt to the impact. 

Please read our full CARF policy document. It outlines further businesses and property uses that the scheme excludes. 

Have you been sent a notice but think you are ineligible?

Please contact us straight away.

Email your business rates account number and property address to

Subsidy Control

Government guidance advises that Subsidy Control (formerly State Aid) will apply to this relief through the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund Allowance. 

This means that businesses can receive the CARF allowance if the business has not received more than £2,243,000 in State Aid / Subsidy Control within the last 3 years. 

Further, a business that has exceeded this limit could still receive a further £10M if it meets specific Subsidy Control eligibility criteria under the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund Further Allowance element of Subsidy Control. 

It is the business’s responsibility to tell Tower Hamlets if they will exceed the subsidy limit so that the relief can be removed. 

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 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 from financial years 2017-18 to 2022-23 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 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




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.

Transitional relief

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.

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

Since 2019/20 the government has provided a Business Rates Retail Discount for retail properties which for 2020/21 it expanded to include the leisure and hospitality sectors.

In 2020/21 the government confirmed that the Expanded Retail Discount would continue to apply at 100 per cent for three months from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021, and at 66 per cent for the remaining period, from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022.

The government confirmed that there would be no cash cap on the relief received for the period from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.

From 1 July 2021, relief was capped at £105,000 per business, or £2 million per business where the business is in occupation of a property that was required, or would have been required, to close, based on the law and guidance applicable on 5 January 2021.

The 2022/23 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief scheme will provide eligible, occupied, retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a 50 per cent relief, up to a cash cap limit of £110,000 per business.

This cash cap applies at a Group company level (so holding companies and subsidiaries cannot claim up to the cash cap for each company). It also applies to organisations which, although not a company, have an interest in a company that they would, if they were a company, result in it being the holding company.

To claim the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief you must not have exceeded either the £110,000 cash cap for 2022/23 or the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance limit of £343,000 over 3 years (including 2022/23).

Find out more on the 2022/23 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme page.

Please email the business rates team ( if your business will be in breach of the cash cap.

If you wish to refuse the discount please email for each eligible hereditament anytime up to 30 April 2023 with your account reference in the subject header.

Subsidy allowance

The new domestic subsidy allowance for the COVID-19 business support grants took effect on 4 March 2021. Applications made before this date are subject to the previous rules.

This scheme is covered by three subsidy allowances:

  • Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance – you’re allowed up to £325,000 Special Drawing Rights (£343,000 as at 9 December 2021) in a three year period (consisting of the 2022/23 year and the two previous financial years).

  • COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance – you’re allowed up to £1,900,000

  • COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance – if you have reached your limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, you may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £10,000,000 provided certain conditions are met.

Any relief provided by local authorities under discretionary relief or the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Scheme will need to comply with the UK’s domestic and international subsidy control obligations.

See the BEIS guidance for public authorities which explains the subsidies in more detail.

Further information

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

London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Revenue Services
Town Hall
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
E14 2BG

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.