Business rates relief

Rate relief for small businesses

A new form of relief for small businesses has been introduced with effect from 1 April 2017. A small business is any business with a rateable value of below £15,000. Download the Small Business Rates Relief form and return it to us.

The relief is available upon application and is granted to businesses who occupy one assessment of below £15,000 or whose businesses occupy other properties where the rateable value of these properties is under £2,900. The total of all the properties must be below £20,000.

Generally, if the sole or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value that does not exceed £15,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill up to a maximum of 100%. For a property with a rateable value of not more than £12,000, the ratepayer will receive 100% reduction in their rates bill.

All assessments below £51,000 will be charged the lower rate poundage of 46.6p (for 2017/18).

Unoccupied properties

Non-domestic properties are exempt for the first three months that they are empty and unoccupied.

After the initial three-month exemption no further exemption or reduction is applicable and Business Rates will be charged at 100%.

Certain types of property e.g. factories, stores and warehouses, will be exempt for the first six months that they are empty and unoccupied before being charged Business Rates at 100%

A change in ownership or tenancy will not affect the entitlement to an exemption.

For example, if someone purchases or leases a property that has already been unoccupied for over six months, a new exemption period can't be applied.

In October 2013, the government introduced a temporary measure for unoccupied new build properties.

These will be exempt from unoccupied property rates for up to 18 months where the property comes into the VOA list between 1st October 2013 and 30th September 2016.

The 18 month period includes the initial 3 or 6 month exemption and so properties may, if unoccupied, be exempt from non-domestic rates for between an extra 12 to 15 months.

From 1st April 2017, if your property has a rateable value of less than £2,900, you will be exempt from paying rates, if it is empty or unoccupied.

If your property is a "listed" building, you will also be exempt from paying rates if it is empty and unoccupied.

Mandatory and discretionary rate relief for charities

Charities are entitled to an 80% reduction in their bills. The council has the discretion to reduce the bill further by awarding a further 20% Discretionary Rate Relief.

In addition, the council has the discretion to grant relief to some other types of non-profit making bodies.

To qualify for this you will need to send your last three years of accounts and download an application form. An award will be made for a single year only and you will have to make a new application each year.

Rural rate relief

If your business property is in a designated rural area where the population is less than 3,000, you may be able to claim rural rate relief.

Application forms can be requested by emailing nndr@watford.gov.uk.

Hardship relief

This discretionary relief can be granted by the council if you are experiencing hardship and your business is considered to be important to the local community.

There are no specific criteria for entitlement all applications are considered individually.

Mandatory and discretionary rate relief for community amateur sports clubs (CASC)

Registered Community Amateur Clubs (CASCs) can receive 80% rate relief. To qualify as a CASC, a sports club must:

  • Be open to the whole community
  • Be run as an amateur club
  • Be a non profit making organisation
  • Aim to provide facilities for, and encourage people to take part in, eligible sport

The council has the discretion to reduce the bill further by awarding a further 20% Discretionary Rate Relief.

To qualify for this you will need to send your last three years of accounts and download an application form.

An award will be made for a single year only and you will have to make a new application each year.

You can register as a CASC or telephone the Inland Revenue Sports Clubs Unit on 01131 777 4147.

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