Business rate reductions

There are reductions and reliefs available to help you with the cost of your business rates.

Spring Budget 2020

On 11 March 2020 the government announced extra help for businesses for the year 2020/21.

Retail discount was due to be increased to 50% but this has now been increased further to 100%. The discount has also been extended to include leisure and hospitality businesses.

Pub relief of £1,000 was due to be brought back in but this has now been increased to £5,000.

Find out more about support for businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Business grants

The government has set out some measures to support businesses affected by the disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Businesses can apply for one of the following:

  • A small business grant of up to £10,000
  • For retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with rateable value of:
    • up to £15,000, a cash grant of £10,000
    • between £15,001 and £51,000, a cash grant of £25,000

Find out more about the new business grants.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) grant phishing email

If you receive an email asking you to resubmit your application, you should discard it immediately. Scammers are trying to get the details of those who are eligible for a business grant.

We will not ask you to resubmit your application for a business grant.

You can report a fraudulent email to NAFN by emailing intel@nafn.gov.uk

Retail relief

The government has provided guidance on the operation of expanded retail discount for 2020/21: coronavirus response.

As a result, ratepayers who have recently received a new annual bill showing a 50% discount will now receive a revised bill showing a 100% discount.

The 100% discount has been extended to include properties completely or mainly used for leisure, hotels and assembly such as public halls.

We will notify qualifying businesses and automatically award relief based on the information available to us.

Unoccupied properties

Your business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty, or six months for industrial properties.

You will need to pay your business rates in full after this period unless another relief applies.

In most cases business rates will not be payable for unoccupied properties owned by charities or community amateur sports clubs.

Unoccupied properties will be exempt if the:

  • occupation is prohibited by law
  • property is a listed building
  • property is an ancient monument
  • ratepayer is a personal representative of a deceased person
  • ratepayer is bankrupt
  • rateable value is £2,899 or below

Transitional relief

Following the revaluation in 2017, any significant increases or reductions in the amount of business rates payable will be phased in by transitional relief until the full amount is due.

Any relief you are eligible for will be automatically awarded and will show on your bill.

Small business rate relief

All occupied properties with a rateable value of £50,999 or below that are not in receipt of any mandatory relief such as charity relief will be charged using the small business multiplier.

Small business rate relief is available for properties with a rateable value below £15,000 and the ratepayer occupies either:

  • one property
  • one main property, and other additional properties with a rateable value of £2,899 or below where the total rateable value of all properties is £19,999 or less

The relief will only be payable on the main property and you will get 100% relief if the rateable value is £12,000 or less.

If the rateable value is above £12,000, the level of relief is reduced on a sliding scale up to £15,000 when no relief is payable.

Apply for small business rate relief

Supporting small business rate relief

This will continue to be available to ratepayers with large increases in 2017/18 due to the loss of small business rate relief  or rural rate relief.

The relief will limit the increase in business rates to £600 for 2017/18 and restricts increases until 2021/2022.

If you qualify for the relief it will be shown on your bill. We will notify qualifying businesses and automatically award relief based on the information available to us.

Revaluation relief

Some smaller businesses (with a rateable value of less than £100,000 and less than 250 employees) that faced increases in their business rates due to the revaluation in 2017 may be eligible for a reduction.

The relief will be available for the financial years from 2017/18 until 2020/21 on a reducing basis.

If you qualify for the relief it will be shown on your bill. We will notify qualifying businesses and automatically award relief based on the information available to us.

Download the Revaluation Rate Relief Policy

Pub rate relief

A discount up to £1,000 was available in 2017/18 and 2018/19 to all ratepayers who occupied public houses with a rateable value below £100,000. 

The relief was not available in 2019/20 but the government has reintroduced it for 2020/21.

The discount will be applied after any entitlement to retail discount.

Local newspaper rate relief

A discount up to £1,500 per year is available for office space occupied by local newspapers from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2025.

We will notify qualifying businesses and automatically award relief based on the information available to us.

Charity and community amateur sports club relief

If you are a registered charity or community amateur sports club (CASC), you can apply for a business rate reduction.

Mandatory relief of 80% will be awarded as long as the property you occupy is only or mainly used for the purposes of the charity or club. We will also consider if you’re eligible for any discretionary relief for the remaining 20%.

If you are a non-profit making organisation you can apply for a business rate reduction of up to 100%. The level of discount awarded will depend on your aims and objectives.

Apply for charity or community amateur sports club relief

Download the charity and community amateur sports relief policy

Part-occupied relief (section 44A)

If part of your property is likely to be empty for a short time, for example due to the relocation of your business, you can apply for a reduction on the unoccupied part of your property. 

You will need to provide a plan showing the occupied and unoccupied parts and details of how long it is likely to remain empty. We will also need to inspect the property.

Hardship relief

If you are having difficulty paying your business rates you can apply for hardship relief. Each application will be considered individually and we will only give relief if it is in the interests of Medway’s Council Tax payers. 

Rural rate relief

You may receive 100% relief if your property has a rateable value below £8,500 and is the only one of the following in the community:

  • general store
  • post office
  • food shop

You may also be able to receive 100% relief if your property has a rateable value below £12,500 and is a public house or petrol station.

Apply for a business rate reduction

If you have not been awarded any of the above reliefs and think you may qualify, please contact us by emailing rates@medway.gov.uk.