Here at Great Annual Savings (GAS), we like to provide you with the kind of business money saving advice that leaves no stone unturned. Our latest topic of conversation is business rates and the potential relief available to you.
Business rates became a controversial talking point in the media back in 2017 when the government announced a large rate increase that impacted thousands throughout the UK.
You might be aware that some firms are now eligible for discounts from the local council, but have you investigated how much you’re entitled to?
In the following piece, we’ll discuss the different types of relief available to you, the qualifying criteria, and how you go about applying.
What are business rates?
Business rates are charges paid on non-residential properties, such as shops, offices, warehouses, factories, holiday rental homes, churches, charities and pubs.
If you occupy one of these sites, or part of one, and you use them for non-domestic purposes, the odds are you’re paying them.
What business rates relief is available to me?
Some businesses are entitled to business rates relief from their local council to help reduce bills. Although this is automatic in some cases (transitional and pub relief etc.), others will require you to apply directly to the council.
Despite the plethora of relief out there, many business owners are unaware of the rates relief on offer.
So, without further ado, let’s look at what you CAN apply for, and whether your business qualifies.
Small business rate relief
If you’re a small business owner, then there’s a chance you might be eligible for business rates relief through the government’s Small Business Rates Relief scheme (SBRR).
To do this, you must meet the following criteria:
- The business’ property’s rateable value is less than £15,000.
- You only use one property (in some cases it’s even possible to get relief if you use more).
This relief reduces the amount you must pay, and, In fact, if your property is worth less than £12,000, you won’t be required to pay any business rates at all!
Rural rate relief
Is your business in a rural area with a population of less than 3,000? If the answer is yes, then you’re likely to qualify for the rural rate relief.
You will be entitled if your business is in an eligible village and either:
- The only shop or post office in the area, with a rateable value not exceeding £8,500.
- The only public house or petrol station in the area, with a rateable value not exceeding £12,500.
Charitable rate relief
Charities and community amateur sports clubs can apply for charitable rate relief of up to 80% if a property is used for charitable purposes.
If you’re not sure whether your business classifies as a charitable organisation (you’d be surprised how many don’t), speak to your local council or a cost saving expert.
Enterprise rate relief
To encourage businesses to move to enterprise zones, the government is now offering a reduction in business rates to those who choose to relocate. The relief rate is calculated on a case-by-case scenario, but some businesses have enjoyed up to £55,000 a year over a 5-year period. We’re not saying you’re going to receive that much, but, it highlights the potential savings on offer if you’re moving into one of these zones.
Hardship rate relief
Less black and white than other areas, hardship rates relief are down to the discretion of your local council.
For a successful application, the council will require assurances that without it, your business would fall victim to financial difficulties. Secondary to this, it could be granted if you were able to convince them that a rate relief would be in the interest of the local population.
What if I’ve been eligible for years but haven’t been claiming? Can I get those payments backdated?
If you think you’ve paid too much for your business rates, then you’re entitled to apply for a full refund or partial repayment (rebate). Simply contact your local council and speak to a representative.
What to do next?
If you feel that you qualify for any of the above criteria, then contact your local council immediately.
Alternatively, our team at GAS would be more than happy to investigate the situation on your behalf.
For more helpful tips on running your business, please visit our media portal.