About Reliefs

Using a Rating agent to apply for relief

We are aware that some ratepayers are being approached by companies that promise to act on their behalf to reduce their rates liability – and that a minority of these companies are subsequently charging fees for ‘securing’ access to existing reliefs to which the ratepayer is already entitled.

It is Rochford District Council and the Government’s view that these companies and agents are unnecessarily diverting business rate relief that is intended to help businesses into their own pockets – for example where little to no additional work is needed to obtain the relief.

We wish to make clear that all Business Rates reliefs and discounts can be obtained for free through Rochford District Council. You do not require a rating agent to do this on your behalf.

In certain circumstances reliefs are available to reduce your business rates bill. If you think that you may be entitled to any of the reliefs listed please download an application form using from Related Content. If you need any further information please contact the Business Rate section using the link in Related Content.


Small business rate relief

With effect from 1st April 2017 a Small Business Rate Relief multiplier is automatically awarded to any occupied property with a rateable value up to £51,000.

You can qualify for an additional small business rate relief discount if the rateable value of your property is less than £15,000 and if it is the only non-domestic property that you use.

If you qualify for small business rate relief discount, you will not have to pay business rates on a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

Relief decreases on a sliding scale from 100% to 0% for properties with rateable values between £12,001 and £14,999.

If you have more than one occupied property, you may still qualify for relief on your main property if both of the following apply:

  • None of your other properties have a rateable value above £2,899
  • The total rateable value of all your properties is less than £20,000

If you take on an additional property that would normally mean your entitlement to the relief ends you will keep the existing relief for a period of 12 months.

If your circumstances change at any point you must advise us in writing immediately.

You can download a form to declare your entitlement to the relief from Related Content.

Retail Relief 2019/2020

The Government announced in the Budget on 29th October 2018 that it will provide a Business Rates Relief Scheme for occupied “retail properties” with a rateable value of less than £51,000 in the year 2019-20. The value of relief will be one third of the rates bill, and will be awarded after all other mandatory and discretionary reliefs have been applied.

The property should meet the defined criteria for a “retail property”.

Full details can be found on the application form which is available to download in the Related Content section.

Expanded Retail Discount - Leisure, Hospitality and Retail Business 2020/21

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, in the Budget on 11 March the Government announced that it would increase the discount in 2020/21 to 100% and extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. Following the announcement on 23 March 2020 of further measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, the Government confirmed that some of the exclusions for this relief have been removed, so that retail, leisure, and hospitality properties that will have had to close as a result of the restriction measures will now be eligible for the relief.

A list of eligible properties can be found within the guidance that can be found in the “Related Content” section.

As State Aid limits do not apply to this relief it will be automatically awarded to your account. If you believe you are entitled to this relief but in has not been awarded to your account please contact the Business Rates section to discuss.

Nursery Discount 2020/21

The Education Secretary announced on Wednesday 18th March that properties occupied by providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage would pay no Business Rates in 2020/21.  

We have applied this relief to qualifying Business Rates accounts. You do not have to do anything, an amended bill has been issued.

Empty Property Relief

Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. The change of ownership or liability does not entitle the ratepayer to a fresh period of exemption.

After this period rates are usually payable in full.

Some properties can get extended empty property relief:

  • industrial premises (eg warehouses) are exempt for a further 3 months
  • listed buildings - until they’re reoccupied
  • buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 - until they’re reoccupied
  • properties owned by charities - only if the property’s next use will be mostly for charitable purposes
  • community amateur sports clubs buildings - only if the next use will be mostly as a sports club

Contact us for more details

Charitable Bodies

A registered charity occupying a property for charitable purposes is entitled to a reduction of 80% on its business rates bill. Other non-profit organisations whilst not registered charities may also qualify for this reduction. These include: Church commissioners, voluntary schools and certain universities and colleges.

In addition some sports clubs are eligible for mandatory rate relief. If you are a registered C.A.S.C (community amateur sports club) you can apply for charitable relief. For more information regarding C.A.S.Cs please see the official website in Related Content.

You can download a mandatory relief application from Related Content.

Discretionary Rate relief

The Council has discretion to award rate relief to other bodies for example sports clubs or leisure groups in its area, which are set up as non profit making but which are not charities. Local authorities also have the discretion to top up mandatory charitable and rural relief to a maximum of 100%. Each application is considered on its merit.

You can download a discretionary relief application from Related Content.

Rural rate relief

With effect from 1st April 2017 to qualify for 100% mandatory rate relief under the rural rate relief scheme, the property must:

  1. be within the boundaries of a qualifying settlement.
  2. have a rateable value of not more than £8500 if it is a general store, qualifying food store or post office
  3. have a rateable value of not more than £12500 if it is a public house or petrol filling station
  4. be used, in whole or part, as a petrol filling station, public house, general store or the only post office, or both
  5. be the only petrol filling station, the only public house, the only general store or the only post office in the settlement.

It is possible for both a General Store and a Post Office in the settlement to qualify for mandatory rate relief, provided that both meet the criteria.

A copy of our rural settlement list is available on request.

Contact us for more details.

Spring Budget 2017 Relief Scheme: Discretionary Scheme

The Government is providing £300 million of funding to local authorities over 4 years to 31st March 2021 to provide discounts to ratepayers in their area on a discretionary basis. Each authority has been allocated a share with which to design and implement a scheme to deliver targeted support to ratepayers. For Rochford our share of the pot is £125,764 in 2017/18; £61,085 in 2018/19; £25,152 in 2019/20 and £3,593in 2020/21. We have contacted ratepayers who meet the qualifying criteria for our scheme and those are entitled to the relief have already been awarded this. Our guidance notes can be found in Related Content.