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Billing of business rates

Do any types of organisations qualify for a reduction?

Charities or organisations that are not established or conducted for profit may be entitled to relief. Their purpose must be philanthropic, religious, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or fine arts.

If you would like to apply for this type of relief please get in touch using the 'contact us' option on the right hand side of the page.

Alternatively contact the Business Rates team on (01482) 394748 or call in to one of our customer service centres.

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Can I find out rateable values for business premises?

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), part of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is responsible for allocating the correct rateable value for business premises in England and Wales.

You can check rateable values for all properties in England and Wales, including your own, on the VOA website.

Valuation Office Agency (external website)

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Can I check my balance online?

You can check your balance online by entering your eight digit business rates account reference number using our online balance enquiry facility . Your reference number can be found at the top of your Business Rates bill.

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Can I get any help with my business rates?

Unoccupied properties

Properties can be exempt from business rates for certain periods if they are unoccupied and there are various other discounts and exemptions available.

If a property is empty the following types of exemption are available:

  • If the property has a rateable value under £2,600 or the property is listed or the property is classified as land then an exemption can be applied for as long as the property is empty.
  • If the property has a rateable value of over £2,600 and is an industrial property then a six month period of exemption can be applied
  • If the property is over £2,600 and is not industrial then there is a period of three months exemption
  • In all cases the exemption goes with the property and so if the previous account holder has already had some of the empty exemption then the remaining amount of time is the maximum that can be applied. If the property has already had all the period of exemption then no further exemption is applicable until the property has been occupied again for at least 6 weeks.
  • If a property is a listed building and it becomes unoccupied, an exemption can be awarded.
  • If a property is designated by the Valuation Office Agency as being "land", when the property is empty an exemption can be awarded.

Occupied properties

The discounts that apply will depend upon the property being occupied and are as follows:

  • Small business rate relief is applicable where a property has a rateable value of under £18,000 and the liable party does not have any other occupied business properties in England. If they have any other business properties that have a rateable value of under £2,600 then as long as the sum total of all the properties is under £18,000 then they can apply on one of the properties. The relief is 50 per cent for properties under £6,000 in rateable value and for those whose rateable values are between £6,001 and £12,000 they lose one per cent of the discount for every 120 extra rateable value. For properties over £12,000 and below £18,000 then the only reduction is that the multiplier applied in calculating the rates payable is changed from 0.482 to 0.471. To apply for the relief a form needs to be completed confirming all the qualifying factors apply. From 1 September 2010 until 31 March 2016 the Government has increased the level of discount to double the normal rate as explained above.
  • If they are a not for profit organisation they can apply for relief by completing a form and they will be granted the level of relief that is determined by the answers they give on the form.
  • In the case of charities they will receive an 80 per cent mandatory relief from rates as long as they are a registered charity with the Charity Commission. They can then apply for the remaining 20 per cent relief by completing a form. The amount of extra relief granted depends on the answers given on that form.
  • In the case of community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) they can also obtain an automatic 80 per cent relief if they are registered as a CASC with HM Revenue & Customs and can apply for the extra 20% relief by contacting the business rates team. If they are not registered but they are a sporting organisation which is not for profit they can also apply through the sports development section for relief off the rates by completing a form that is assessed by the sports development team.

Rural properties

Rural Rate Relief is open to any businesses who fall within a designated rural settlement. They can apply for a mandatory 50 per cent relief if they are:

  • A general store with a rateable value of under £8,500.
  • A post office with a rateable value of under £8,500.
  • A public house with a rateable value of under £12,500.
  • A petrol filling station with a rateable value of under £12,500.
  • A food store with a rateable value of under £8,500.
  • In all the above cases they must also be the only business premises of their type in the rural settlement and they can apply for an extra amount of relief by completing a form the answers to which determine how much if any extra relief they will receive.
  • There is also a discretionary relief for other businesses which fall within a rural settlement and have a rateable value of under £16,500. They would need to complete a form and the level of relief would be determined by the answers given on that form.

Retail properties

The Government announced in the Autumn Statement on 5 December 2013 that it will provide a relief of up to £1,000 to all occupied retail properties with a rateable value of £50,000 or less in 2014-15 and £1,500 in 2015-16.

Awards such as Retail Relief are required to comply with the EU law on State Aid. This means that you must confirm that any State Aid you receive, including any other Relief you are being granted for premises, does not exceed 200,000 which is the State aid De Minimis level under the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013.

If you believe that any state aid you receive, plus any Business Rates relief will exceed 200,000 then you MUST contact us on (01482) 394748 as soon as possible. In terms of declaring previous De Minimis aid, we are only interested in public support which is De Minimis aid (State Aid received under other exemptions or public support which is not State Aid does not need to be declared).

Re-occupation relief

This is a temporary measure to encourage re-occupation of empty former retail premises, and you would be eligible if the premises:

  • was previously used for retail purposes.
  • was empty for at least 12 months prior to re-occupation.

A 50% discount of Business rates liability  (after any mandatory and other discretionary reliefs)  for 18 months will be applicable if moving into the premises between 1/4/14 and 31/3/16.

Once the property has been re-occupied it does not have to be re-used for retail. It can be used for  any use, with the exception of:

  • betting shops
  • payday loan shops
  • pawn brokers

There is no rateable value limit to eligibility, and the reduction is subject to state aid de minimis rules.

Part occupied properties

Where a property  is partly occupied, and a clearly defined area is going to be left empty for a short period of time up to six months, then the liable party can apply for a Section 44A discretionary relief.  This relief is at the council's discretion, and all cases are considered taking into account their own circumstances.  If the council decided to grant the relief we would then ask the Valuation Office Agency to provide a section 44A certificate to provide a split of the assessment between the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property A new bill based on the occupied part will then be calculated.


There is also a hardship relief which is for any business suffering from something other than then the general economic climate. There is a form to complete and each case is decided based on the information given. The decision is based on what the council tax payers would want to invest money in as the money comes directly from the council budget.

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Do I pay rates if I run a business from home?

If part of the property is set aside, modified and frequently used for business purposes then business rates may be payable for that part.

The council tax for the remaining domestic part of the property may be adjusted accordingly. Each case is considered on its own merits and the Valuation Office Agency will make the decision.

The Valuation Office Agency website can provide further information:

Valuation Office Agency (external website)

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Do I pay rates if my business is mobile?

No, business rates are only assessed on property that is used permanently for business purposes.

However, if you have a license to occupy a temporary site permanently, then business rates are payable. Please you need more information.

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Where can I find an electronic copy of the financial information supplied with my annual bill?

The documents below are normally issued with your annual council tax or business rates bill.

Humberside Police Authority leaflet (pdf 603kb opens in new window)

Humberside Fire Authority leaflet (pdf 5mb opens in new window)

A guide to council tax (pdf 219kb opens in new window) 

Business rates -Explanatory  notes (pdf 121kb opens in new window)

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