Reductions and Relief

Reducing your bill

If you pay business rates, you may be entitled to rate relief that will help reduce your bill. Find the several rate relief schemes available listed below:

Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR)

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From 1 April 2017 qualifying businesses with a rateable value of up to £12,000 will receive 100% relief and for those between £12,001 and £14,999 they will receive relief on a tapered basis. If you do not already receive Small Business Rate Relief apply using the link below.

This relief is only available to ratepayers who apply to their local authority and who occupy either:

  • One property.
  • One main property and other properties, as long as those other properties each have a rateable value of less than £2,900.

Registered charities entitled to mandatory rate relief cannot apply for SBRR.

The rateable value of the property, or the aggregate rateable value of all properties, must be under £20,000 outside London or £28,000 in London. On 1 April of the financial year in question, on the day you apply for relief, and each day in between. If the rateable value or the aggregate rateable value of the properties increases above those levels, relief will end on the day of the increase.

If you meet these conditions we will work out the bill for your single, or main, property using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier. Instead of the ordinary non-domestic rating multiplier that is used to work out the liability of other businesses.

If the single, or main, property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value of up to £15,000, you will receive a percentage reduction in your rates bill for this property. The reduction will be up to a maximum of 100% for a property with a rateable value of no more than £12,000 (for those eligible businesses with rateable values between £12,001 and £14,999 the relief will be tapered). We grant your relief as long as your circumstances do not change.

You must tell us about the following changes in circumstances:

  • You start to occupy a property you did not occupy at the time of making your application for relief.
  • There is an increase in the rateable value of a property you occupy in another area.

It was announced by the government in the 2013 Autumn Statement that ratepayers receiving Small Business Rate Relief who take on an additional property, which would normally disqualify them from receiving relief, will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.

You must tell us about these changes within four weeks of the day after the change happened. As long as you do this there will be no interruption to your entitlement to the relief. To tell us you have started to occupy another property, you must make a fresh application for relief.

Apply for Small Business Rate Relief

Charitable Relief and Discretionary Relief

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Charities are entitled to relief, at 80% from rates on any non-domestic property that is totally, or mainly, used for charitable purposes.

As well as this, we can decide to give relief on all, or part, of any bill for property which is used by certain non-profit-making organisations.

More information is available in our approved guidelines regarding discretionary rate relief.

We can also consider giving rate relief in cases of hardship or if part of a property cannot be used for a certain period.

Apply for Charitable and/or Discretionary Rate Relief

Relief for registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs)

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Registered CASCs are also entitled to 80% rate relief on any non-domestic property that is totally, or mainly, used for the purposes of that club, or any other registered clubs. We can also decide to provide extra relief on the other 20% of the bill.

Empty Property Rating

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In general, there will be no business rates to pay for the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this, you must pay the full rate unless the government has reduced the empty property rate.

If the government has reduced the empty property rate for the financial year, the new rate will be shown on your bill.

You may not have to pay the empty property rate if you meet certain conditions (known as exemptions). These include the following:

Business rates
ExemptionDescription

A

A property is owned or held by a registered charity and will be next used for the purposes of that charity 

B

A property is owned or held by a community amateur sports club (CASC) and will be next used for the purposes of that club 

C

A property with a rateable value less than £2,900 

D

A property which is empty because of action taken by, or on behalf of, the Crown or any local or public authority with a view to forbidding occupation or to buying it 

E

A property which is placed under a building preservation notice 

F

A property where the owner is entitled to possession only because he or she is the personal representative of a person who has died 

G

A property where there is a bankruptcy order for the owner's estate 

H

A property where the owner is entitled to possession of the property as a trustee under a deed of arrangement 

I

A property that is owned by a company which is placed under a winding-up order or is being wound up voluntarily 

J

A property where the owner is entitled to possession as a liquidator 

K

A property where the owner is a company in administration or is subject to an administration order 

Relief for properties which are partly occupied

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You are liable for the full non-domestic rate whether the property is fully or only partly used. If you only use part of a property for a short time, we can award relief for the part you are not using. You can get full details by contacting the Business Rates Section.

Rural Rate Relief

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The occupier of a general store or post office in an area listed on our rural settlement list is entitled to rate relief if it is the only store or post office in that area and its rateable value is £8,500 or less. Also entitled to this rate relief is any food shop with a rateable value of £8,500 or less. As well as the only pub and the only petrol station in the village with a rateable value of £12,500 or less. We can give 50% relief off the rates bill. We can cancel all or part of the other 50%.

We can also cancel all or part of the rate bills on other property in an area on the rural settlement list if the rateable value is £16,500 or less and we are satisfied that the property is used for a purpose which benefits the local community.

Our rural settlement list is only made up of the parishes of Dunham Massey and Warburton. A copy of the list is held at our business rates section and can be seen via Access Trafford, Sale Waterside between 9am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Transitional Relief

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All rateable values are reassessed at a general revaluation. The most recent revaluation took effect from 1 April 2017. Revaluations make sure each ratepayer pays their fair contribution and no more, by ensuring that the share of the national rates bill paid by any one ratepayer reflects changes over time in the value of their property relative to others.

To help pay for the limits on increases in bills, there are also limits on reductions in bills. Under the transitional scheme, limits continue to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount is due (rateable value times the appropriate 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 1 April 2017, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of a bill that relates to any increase in rateable value due to those changes. Changes to your bill as a result of other reasons (such as changes to the amount of small business rate relief) are not covered by the transitional arrangements.

The transitional arrangements are applied automatically and are shown on the front of your bill. Further information about transitional arrangements and other reliefs may be obtained from Trafford Council or GOV.UK. Find more information on the 2017 revaluation.

Supporting Small Businesses Relief

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The Supporting Small Businesses relief will help those 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.

To support these ratepayers, 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 percentage increase p.a. of 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 15% and 15% 2017/18 to 2021/22 all plus inflation after small business rate relief or rural rate relief has been applied, or
  • a cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month).

In the first year of the scheme, this means all ratepayers losing some, or all, of their small business rate relief or rural rate relief will see the increase in their bill capped at £600. The cash minimum increase is £600 per year thereafter.

This means that ratepayers who are currently paying nothing under small business rate relief and are losing all of their entitlement to relief (i.e. moving from £6,000 rateable value or less to more than £15,000) would under this scheme be paying £3,000 in year five.

Those on the Supporting Small Businesses relief scheme whose 2017 rateable values are £51,000, or more, will not be liable to pay the supplement (1.3p) to fund small business rate relief while they are eligible for the Supporting Small Businesses relief scheme.

Ratepayers remain in the Supporting Small Businesses relief scheme for either five years, or until they reach the bill they would have paid without the scheme. A change of ratepayers will not affect eligibility for the Supporting Small Businesses relief scheme but eligibility will be lost if the property falls vacant or becomes occupied by a charity or Community Amateur Sports Club.

There is no second property test for eligibility for the Supporting Small Businesses relief scheme. However, those ratepayers who during 2016/17 lost entitlement to small business rate relief because they failed the second property test but have, under the rules for small business rate relief, been given a 12 month period of grace before their relief ended can continue on the scheme for the remainder of their 12 month period of grace.

The calculation of Supporting Small Businesses relief will be in line with Department for Communities and Local Government guidance at section two.

Extension of Transitional Relief and Supporting Small Business Relief for Small and Medium properties Scheme

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At the Budget the government also announced that it would extend the current transitional relief scheme and the supporting small business scheme for one year to the end of the current revaluation cycle. The scheme will restrict increases in bills to 15% for businesses with small properties (up to and including £20,000 rateable value) and 25% for medium properties (up to and including £100,000 rateable value). The guidance is intended to support billing authorities about the operation and delivery of the policy. The government anticipates that billing authorities will include details of the relief to be provided to eligible ratepayers for 2022/23 in their bills for the beginning of the 2022/23 billing cycle.

The guidance sets out the eligibility criteria announced by central government and can be found at GOV.UK.

Retail Discount

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At the Autumn Budget 2018, the government announced a one-third discount for eligible retail businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, up to state aid limits. This scheme will run for two years from April 2019.

This discount will be applied to the bill after the application of any reliefs, excluding any local discounts.

In January 2020, the government announced an increase in the retail discount from one-third to 50 per cent, effective from 1 April 2020, and extended the discount to cinemas and live music venues.

On 23 March 2020, the relief was increased to 100% leisure and hospitality sectors with the rateable value limit being removed, as part of the government’s response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 for 2020/21.

At the 3 March 2021 Budget, the government announced, as temporary measure for 2021/22, that the Expanded Retail Discount (2020/21) will be extended for three months for eligible properties, at 100% relief, uncapped, for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.

From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, the Expanded Retail Discount would apply at 66% relief for eligible properties in the scheme, with a cash cap of £2m for businesses that were required to close as of 5 January 2021. And up to £105,000 for business permitted to open at that date.

Businesses may choose to opt out of support by providing billing authorities notification of their request to refuse support, per eligible hereditament.

Read the government issued guidance on the operation of the scheme.

State aid de minimis limits

Awards such as Retail Discount are required to comply.

Who qualifies

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments (a property, or part of a property, which is assessed for rates), that are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments.

We consider shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments to mean:

  1. Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public:

    • Shops (such as: florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off licences, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets, etc.)
    • Charity shops
    • Opticians
    • Post offices
    • Furnishing shops/ display rooms (such as: carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
    • Car/caravan show rooms
    • Second hand car lots
    • Markets
    • Petrol stations
    • Garden centres
    • Art galleries (where art is for sale/hire)
  2. Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

    • Hair and beauty services (such as: hair dressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops, etc.)
    • Shoe repairs/key cutting
    • Travel agents
    • Ticket offices e.g. for theatre
    • Dry cleaners
    • Launderettes
    • PC/TV/domestic appliance repair
    • Funeral directors
    • Photo processing
    • Tool hire
    • Car hire
  3. Hereditaments that are being used for the sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public:

    • Restaurants
    • Takeaways
    • Sandwich shops
    • Coffee shops
    • Pubs
    • Bars
  4. Hereditaments which are being used as cinemas.

  5. Hereditaments that are being used as live music venues:

    • Live music venues are hereditaments wholly or mainly used for the performance of live music for the purpose of entertaining an audience. Hereditaments cannot be considered a live music venue for the purpose of business rates relief where a venue is wholly or mainly used as a nightclub or a theatre, for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended).

    • Hereditaments can be a live music venue even if used for other activities, but only if those other activities (i) are merely ancillary or incidental to the performance of live music (e.g. the sale/supply of alcohol to audience members) or (ii) do not affect the fact that the primary activity for the premises is the performance of live music (e.g. because those other activities are insufficiently regular or frequent, such as a polling station or a fortnightly community event).

    • There may be circumstances in which it is difficult to tell whether an activity is a performance of live music or, instead, the playing of recorded music. Although we would expect this would be clear in most circumstances, guidance on this may be found in Chapter 16 of the statutory guidance issued in April 2018 under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003.

Who does not qualify

The list below sets out the types of uses that the government does not consider to be retail use for the purpose of this relief:

  1. Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

    • Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, payday lenders, betting shops, pawn brokers)

    • Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)

    • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers, tutors)

    • Post office sorting offices

  2. Hereditaments that are not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public.

How to apply

To apply for retail discount, complete the form. Once your application is received, we will write to you to confirm the exact amount of relief we are awarding.

Apply for a Retail Discount

Nursery discount

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On 18 March 2020, in response to the coronavirus, the government announced that many childcare providers would pay no business rates in 2020/21.

At the Budget on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor announced that the government would provide additional business rates support for nursery businesses in England occupying a qualifying property.

As temporary measure for 2021/22 he announced that the Nursery Discount 2021 would also be extended for three months, at 100%, uncapped, for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022 the Nursery Discount would apply at 66% relief for eligible properties, with a cash cap of £105,000.

Businesses may choose to opt out of support by providing billing authorities notification of their request to refuse support, per eligible hereditament.

Read the government issued guidance on the operation of the scheme.

State aid de minimis limits

Nursery discount for 2020/21 is not classed as a state aid.

Who qualifies

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

The Council has applied this relief automatically to the qualifying hereditaments. If you fulfil the criteria and the Nursery Discount does not appear on the front of your bill, contact the business rates team.

2022/23 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme

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At the Budget on 27 October the Chancellor announced the introduction of a new business rates relief scheme for retail, hospitality and leisure properties worth almost £1.7 billion in 2022-23. This will support the businesses that make our high streets and town centres a success and help them to evolve and adapt to changing consumer demands.

The 2022/23 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief scheme will provide eligible, occupied, retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a 50% relief, up to a cash cap limit of £110,000 per business.

The Government anticipates that local authorities will include details of the relief to be provided to eligible ratepayers for 2022/23 in their bills for the beginning of the 2022/23 billing cycle.

The guidance sets out the eligibility criteria for the scheme and can be found at GOV.UK.