Business rate relief

Find out if you're eligible for business rate relief.

Support Small Business Relief

The Supporting Small Businesses Relief is designed to help ratepayers who as a result of the change in their rateable value at the revaluation are losing some or all of their Small Business or Rural Rate Relief and, as a result, are facing large increases in their bills.

The Supporting Small Businesses Relief will ensure that the increase per year in the bills of these ratepayers is limited to the greater of:

a)    a cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month). This cash minimum increase ensures that those ratepayers currently paying nothing or very small amounts are brought into paying something, or

b)    the matching cap on increases for small properties in the transitional relief scheme [The cap being 5% for 2017/18, 7.5% for 2018/19, 10% for 2019/20, 15% for 2020/21 and 15% for 2021/22]

The Council's Revenues Team has issued application forms to all those who would qualify for this relief.


Business Rate Relief Scheme for Pubs

The Government introduced a new relief scheme for pubs that have a rateable value of below £100,000. Under the scheme, eligible pubs will receive a £1000 discount on their 2017/18 bill. This is a one year relief scheme.

Eligible pubs should:

  • be open to the general public
  • allow free entry other than when occasional entertainment is provided
  • allow drinking without requiring food to be consumed
  • permit drinks to be purchased at a bar.

For these purposes, it will exclude:

  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • nightclubs
  • hotels
  • snack bars
  • guesthouses
  • boarding houses
  • sporting venues
  • music venues
  • festival sites
  • theatres
  • museums
  • exhibition halls
  • cinemas

The Council's Revenues Team has issued application forms to all those who would qualify for this relief.


New Discretionary Rate Relief

A national £300m discretionary fund over four years from 2017-18 has been provided by Government to support those businesses that face the steepest increases in their business rates bills as a result of the 2017 revaluation. Billing authorities were expected to develop their own discretionary relief schemes to deliver targeted support to those who are facing an increase in their bills following revaluation.

South Somerset District Council has been allocated the following funding and has used its discretionary powers to introduce a new local discretionary rate relief:


Amount of funding










Revaluation Support Relief Scheme

Conditions of the relief

  • There has been an increase in liability of more than 12.5% after other reliefs have been applied.
  • The ratepayer must have been registered on our IT System and in continuous occupation since 31 March 2017 (Relief will not be applied where a ratepayer claims occupation retrospectively)
  • Those properties entitled to Supporting Small Business Rate relief or Small Business extension relief will not be entitled to this relief
  • Properties must be on the rating list as at 1 April 2017. (Relief will not apply where properties are entered into the list retrospectively)

If all conditions are met then discretionary relief at the following percentages of the net increase in the bill for 2017/18 would be granted:

Financial year

Percentage relief of net increase for those with RV under 200,000

Percentage relief of net increase for those with RV over 200,000










The Council's Revenues team has identified all those ratepayers that could meet the above criteria and applications have been sent to them.

A reserve fund has been retained for those businesses;

(i)            that do not qualify for Revaluation Support Relief and;

(ii)           who have experienced an increase in business rates due to the revaluation, and;

(iii)          who have suffered hardship as a result and;

(iv)         whose circumstances are such that the authority wishes to provide them with assistance. 

The Council's Business Rates Team will consider applications and if you wish to make an application for the reserve fund please contact the Revenues Team.


State Aid

The award of any discretionary reliefs must comply with EU law on State Aid: Discretionary Relief qualifies as State Aid. An application will be required by ratepayers where they will be asked to declare that their company or business has not received more than 200,000 Euros in de minimis state aid in the last three years, and that granting relief under this scheme for this or any other property, whether within South Somerset or not, will not cause this limit to be exceeded.


Transitional Relief

Transitional relief may apply following a revaluation of all Business Rate assessments.

Property values normally change a good deal between each revaluation. Transitional arrangements help to phase in the effects of these changes by limiting the amount by which a bill may rise or fall following a revaluation.

Under the transition scheme, limits continue to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount is due (rateable value times the multiplier).

The scheme applies only to the bill based on a property at the time of the revaluation.  If there are any changes to the property after the revaluation date, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of a bill that relates to any increase in rateable value due to those changes. Any transitional adjustments will be shown on the front of your bill.

The transitional limits for the 2017 rating list are shown in the table below: -

Transitional Arrangements for 2017 revaluation (before inflation) funded by 3 caps on reductions







Upwards Cap




















Downwards Cap




















Note: these are year on year caps on increases. For instance, the maximum increase for small properties over 5 years would be 64%. But a small property with an increase of 7% would reach their full bill in year 2. Medium is above £20,000 elsewhere. Large above £100,000.

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Small business rate relief

The Small Business Rate Relief scheme is designed to reduce the amount of Business Rates payable by small businesses.

Who is eligible for the relief?

You can get Small Business Rate Relief if you only occupy one business property in the UK (see below for exceptions) and its rateable value is less than £12,000. From April 2017 this will be less than £15,000.

This amount of relief you can get changes depending on the rateable value of your property:

  • If the rateable value for your property is less than £6,000, you'll get 100% relief. From April 2017 this will be less than £12,000.
  • If the rateable value is between £6,000 and £12,000, then the percentage of relief available will decrease on a sliding scale. From April 2017 this will be between £12,000 and £15,000.

If you occupy more than one property

You may still be eligible for relief if:

  • Each additional property has a rateable value less than £2,600.From April 2017 this will be less than £2,900;and
  • The total rateable values of all your properties add up to less than £18,000.From April 2017 this will be less than £20,000. 
  • The small business rate relief will be applied to the main property only.

An additional measure has been introduced for businesses in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief. If your business takes on additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, you may be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.

Please contact us for further details.

You cannot receive this relief unless your business actually occupies the property. If you do not intend to occupy a business premises straight away you may be eligible for Empty Property Relief (conditions apply).

If the rateable value of your property is between £15,000 and £18,000, increasing to £51,000 from 1 April 2017

If your property is occupied and has a rateable value below £18,000,increasing to £51,000 from 1 April 2017you're still considered to be a 'small business'. Although you won't be entitled to Small Business Rate Relief, your Business Rates bills will automatically be calculated using the small business multiplier.

Apply for Small Business Rate Relief

To apply for Small Business Rate Relief please complete the online small business rate relief form.

Small Business Rate Relief - Online Form

After you've applied for Small Business Rate Relief

We will assess your entitlement and send you an amended bill if you qualify. You must tell us about any changes which may affect your entitlement to rate relief, such as:

a)    vacating the property

b)    taking up occupation of an additional property

c)    an increase in the rateable value of a property

If you do not report a change, you may pay an incorrect amount for Business Rates and may even be investigated for fraud. If you would like more information on what changes to report please contact us.

If you qualify for other reliefs then you may not be entitled to claim Small Business Rate Relief and your bill will be calculated using the standard multiplier. For example, if you would qualify for, or are already in receipt of, mandatory relief as a charity or rural rate relief as a post office, general store, Public House or food shop then you will not qualify for this relief. This does not include transitional relief or any discretionary reliefs.


Relief for rural businesses

Certain types of business in rural villages, with a population below 3000, may qualify for rural rate relief. The Council is able to give advice on the types of relief's available and how to apply, alternatively view the Discretionary Relief Policy here.

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Mandatory Rural Rate relief

To be eligible, you must fulfil at least one of criteria below:

  • The only village general store where the rateable value is up to £8,500.
  • The only post office with a rateable value of up to £8,500.
  • A food shop with a rateable value of up to £8,500.
  • The only village pub with a rateable value of up to £12,500.
  • The only petrol station as long as it has a rateable value of up to £12,500.

If you are a business located within a qualifying rural settlement, you are entitled to at least a 50 per cent reduction in the business rates bill. From April 2017 the Council will be awarding a further 50% discretionary relief to all businesses entitled to mandatory rural rate relief.

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Discretionary Rural Rate relief

To be eligible, you fulfil one of the criteria below:

  • The only village general store where the rateable value is up to £8,500.
  • The only post office with a rateable value of up to £8,500.
  • A food shop with a rateable value of up to £8,500.
  • The only village pub with a rateable value of up to £16,500.
  • Other businesses with a rateable value of up to £16,500.

If you are a business located within a qualifying rural settlement with a rateable value of up to £16,500, we may decide to give you up to 50 per cent relief on top of any mandatory relief, as long as your business is of benefit to the community.

Apply for discretionary village shop relief

Charities and non-profit organisations

Registered charities are entitled to relief on any non-domestic property that is wholly or mainly used in relation to the objectives of the charity. Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC's) are also entitled to relief. Relief is given at 80% of the amount due. The Council can award discretionary relief on the remaining 20%.

If your organisation is not established or conducted for profit the council may decide to award you relief of up to 90%. To qualify, the main objectives of the organisation must be charitable, religious, or concerned with education, sports or recreation, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts. The Organisation must occupy premises with a rateable value below £8,500.

You will need to apply to the Council for these reliefs.

For further information please contact us.

Empty Property Relief

The Empty Property Rate Relief scheme provides for a reduction of up to 100% of the Business Rates on a property.

Who is eligible for the relief?

 You may be eligible for relief if your business premises are empty. Certain plant, machinery and equipment used when the property was last occupied or intended for use when the property next becomes occupied may be disregarded when determining whether a property is empty. The length of time you can receive relief depends on a number of factors as set out below.

  • non-industrial properties can get 100% rate relief for a maximum of 3 months;
  • industrial properties can get 100% rate relief for a maximum of 6 months.

At the end of these periods, your business will be liable for the full charge. You will be charged full occupied rates if stock or goods remain on the premises, irrespective of whether you have ceased trading.

The following types of premises are exempt from Business Rates when empty.

  • Empty properties where occupation is prohibited by law;
  • Empty listed buildings; 
  • Empty small properties with a rateable value of less than £2,900;
  • Empty properties of companies in administration or liquidation; 
  • Empty properties owned, and last occupied, by a charity where the next user of the property is likely to be charity;


Partially occupied properties

If part of your property is not being used and is completely unoccupied for a short time, you may receive relief to reduce the amount you have to pay.

To be eligible:

  • part of the property must be unused and cleared of equipment whilst the business is relocating
  • or short-term practical or financial constraints must be preventing you from occupying part of the property.

If we decide to issue a relief we will ask the Valuation Officer to split the rateable value between the occupied and unoccupied parts. Once the exemption for the unoccupied part has expired 100 per cent empty property rates becomes payable.

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Hardship relief

If your business is suffering severe hardship and cannot pay your business rates bill, you may be able to receive relief of up to 100 per cent.

This would normally only be done in extreme cases of hardship and for businesses which are particularly important to the local community. The decision to grant relief takes account of the fact that local council taxpayers will cover part of the cost of the relief.

A successful applicant would need to demonstrate all three of the following conditions:

  • Hardship is being endured (established by the examination of two years financial records).
  • The business is viable and the granting of relief will help ensure the future of the business.
  • The business provides a considerable community benefit. (We will take into account the range of facilities available and the businesses impact on the local area).

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