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        Business rate relief

        If you pay business rates, you may be able to get rate relief. You need to apply for some rate reliefs, but others are automatic.

        COVID-19: support for businesses who pay business rates

        The Chancellor has set out a package to support businesses who pay business rates through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Find out more about this support

        Charitable rate relief

        Charities and registered community amateur sports clubs can get 80% relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the club, and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the purposes of the club (or of that and other clubs).

        We can award a further 20% in certain circumstances, giving up to 100% relief.

        We can also give up to 100% relief for a non-domestic property that is occupied by an organisation not established or conducted for profit.


        Hardship relief

        We can give relief on grounds of hardship. Relief will be considered if it can be shown that:

        • you would have financial difficulties if we did not grant relief, and
        • it is reasonable for us to grant relief, considering the interests of Council Tax payers.

        We will decide each case on its own merits.


        Local discretionary relief

        The government has given local authorities a set amount of money to help local businesses experiencing large increases in their business rates bills following the 2017 revaluation.

        This money will be phased over the five year revaluation period from 2017-18 to 2021-22, with the amount of money reducing each year.

        We have put together a scheme to help those in our area with their business rates bills, taking into account the money we have been given.

        You may get up to 2.8% off the increase to your bill in 2020/21 if:

        • the rateable value of your property has increased as a result of the 2017 revaluation
        • your rate liability as at 1 April 2017 was higher than your rate liability on 31 March 2017 (after reliefs, reductions and transitional relief has been taken off of your bill)
        • your property’s rateable value is under £275,000
        • you are not getting mandatory relief (relief for charities, community amateur sports clubs or rural rate relief)
        • you occupied your property on 31 March 2017 and 1 April 2017 (and each other day relief is being requested)
        • the business you operate is local; businesses that are national or multi-national will not be considered.

        You will not get help under this scheme if:

        • your property’s rateable value on 1 April 2017 was £275,000 or more
        • your property has been unoccupied since 31 March 2017
        • you took occupation of your property after 1 April 2017
        • your business is national or multi-national and not local
        • the property is a prescribed educational establishment (such as a school, college or university)
        • the property is occupied by a billing or precepting authority
        • you are getting mandatory relief (for charities, community amateur sports clubs or rural rate relief)
        • an application for reduction under S44a of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 has been made
        • the property has an increase in rateable value after 1 April 2017 which increases the rate charge to above what it was on 1 April 2017.


        Newspaper relief

        Office space occupied by local newspapers can get a discount of up to £1,500 per year until 31 March 2025.

        Newspaper relief can be claimed up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per property and up to state aid limits.

        If you think this applies to you, please contact us

        State Aid

        State Aid law is the means by which the European Union regulates state funded support to businesses.

        The award of this relief is considered likely to amount to state aid. However it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013. The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 ‘de minimis’ aid over a rolling three-year period.

        If you are receiving, or have received, any ‘de minimis’ aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), please contact us straight away with details of the aid received.

        More about state aid on GOV.UK


        Partly occupied relief

        We can give temporary relief to ratepayers who are only using a part of their property where the rest is completely unused.

        Relief under this section is only available where the unused part will remain so for a short time only. Such relief that is granted is stopped at the end of the rating year. If the part of your property that is unused is to remain empty for the foreseeable future and it is capable of being split from the part that is being used, the Valuation Officer may be requested to split the assessment.

        A Visiting Officer will visit your property to enable a determination to be made as to whether you would be eligible for relief. If it is decided that relief is appropriate the Valuation Officer will be requested to issue a certificate to show the rateable values of the occupied and unoccupied parts. A revised bill will then be sent.

        Please note that until and unless you are sent a revised bill, your current rates remain payable.


        Public House (pub) relief

        Pub relief has been superseded by the retail discount


        Retail discount

        Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses can get 100% relief on their business rates bill for 2020-21. There is no rateable value limit on this relief and it will not be subject to state aid.

        The property must be occupied or closed temporarily due to the government’s advice on COVID-19.

        If you have more than one occupied business property you can get a retail discount on each one.

        Following guidance published by the government, we have sent new business rates bills to all businesses we have identified that quality for the retail discount. If you have not received a new bill and think you should receive a retail discount, please contact the Business Rates Team

        Properties that will be considered for a retail discount

        Properties that are being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public:

        • shops (like florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off-licences, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets)
        • charity shops
        • opticians
        • Post Offices
        • furnishing shops or display rooms (like carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
        • car or caravan show rooms
        • second hand car lots
        • markets
        • petrol stations
        • garden centres
        • art galleries (where art is for sale or hire).

        Properties that are being used to provide the following services to visiting members of the public:

        • hair and beauty services (like hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops)
        • shoe repairs and key cutting
        • travel agents
        • ticket offices (for example, for theatre)
        • dry cleaners
        • launderettes
        • PC, TV or domestic appliance repair
        • funeral directors
        • photo processing
        • tool hire
        • car hire
        • employment agencies
        • estate agents and letting shops
        • betting shops.

        Properties 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.

        Properties that are being used as cinemas.

        Properties that are being used as live music venues:

        • properties that are wholly or mainly used for the performance of live music for the purposes of entertaining an audience
        • properties can be a live music venue even if they are used for other activities, as long as those other activities are secondary to the performance of live music (for example, the sale of alcohol to audience members)
        • properties can still get a discount if they are used infrequently for other purposes.

        Properties that are being used for the provision of sport, leisure and facilities to visiting members of the public (including for the viewing of such activities):

        • sports groups and clubs
        • museums and galleries
        • nightclubs
        • sport and leisure facilities
        • stately homes and historic houses
        • theatres
        • tourist attractions
        • gyms
        • wellness centres, spas and massage parlours
        • casinos, gambling clubs and bingo halls.

        Properties that are being used for the assembly of visiting members of the public:

        • public halls
        • clubhouses, clubs and institutions.

        Properties used as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation:

        • hotels, guest and boarding houses
        • holiday homes
        • caravan parks and sites.

        Properties that will not be considered for a retail discount

        • financial services (like banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short-term loan providers)
        • medical services (like vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
        • professional services (like solicitors, accountants, insurance agents, financial advisers)
        • Post Office sorting offices
        • event companies
        • trade suppliers to the retail, leisure or hospitality industries
        • online retailers.

        These are not complete lists. If you’re unsure if your business is eligible for a retail discount, please contact us.


        Rural rate relief

        The rural rate relief scheme was introduced to help protect the last retail outlets and similar services in rural areas with a population of less than 3,000.

        Under the scheme, the following businesses in certain rural areas are entitled to 100% rate relief:

        • the only food shop, general store or Post Office with a rateable value of less than £8,500
        • the only public house or petrol station with a rateable value of up to £12,500

        The property must be occupied.

        It is possible for both a general store and a Post Office in the same rural area to qualify for this relief, if they both meet the conditions.

        To qualify for relief, a general store must mainly sell both food and general household goods. Only part of the property need be used as a general store. For example, the business of a general store and another business could be carried out side-by-side in one premises. If there are two general stores in the same rural area, neither will qualify for this relief; although, if either functions as a Post Office, relief for this can be claimed separately.

        If you don’t meet the above conditions, we may still award discretionary relief of up to 100% for a property in a rural area if:

        • the property has a rateable value of £16,500 of less
        • the property is used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community; and
        • it would be reasonable for us to award relief, considering the interests of the Council Tax payers in the district.


        Small business rate relief

        You can get small business rate relief if you:

        • only use one property, and its rateable value is less than £15,000
        • use more than one property, and the rateable value of each of your other properties is less than £2,900, with the rateable value of all these properties combined being less than £20,000.

        You can only get small business rate relief on one property.

        Small business rate relief is not automatically applied to your account, you must apply for it if you think you qualify.

        If you don’t qualify for relief but your occupied property has a rateable value of less than £51,000 you will still pay less. Your bill will be automatically calculated using the small business rate multiplier (even if you have more than one property)

        Where the ratepayer is a person the ratepayer must complete the application, and in any other case for example a company, it must be completed by a person with authority to do so on behalf of the ratepayer.

        How much you will get

        • If your 2017 rateable value is £12,000 or below, small business rate relief will be given at 100%.
        • If your 2017 rateable value is between £12,001 and £14,999 inclusive, the small business rate multiplier is used and relief will be given on a sliding scale – from 100% at the bottom of the range to 0% at the top.

        Backdated small business rate relief

        You can apply for small business rate relief at any time during the current valuation period and for a further six months after the end of this period. You can also apply up to six months after the date the council is told about a change in the rateable value that means the property would be eligible for relief if this is later.

        On 1 April 2017, the 2017 rating list came into effect. This means that you can apply for small business rate relief up to and including 30 September 2017 and still have this backdated to 1 April 2010. For applications received on the 1 October 2017 and later, small business rate relief can only be backdated to 1 April 2017.

        If you take on an additional property

        For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, the government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.  If you take on an additional property, inside or outside of Thanet, you must contact us straight away.

        If something changes

        If something changes that could affect your small business rate relief you need to tell us straight away.


        Supporting small businesses relief

        This relief is available to ratepayers who have lost some or all of their small business rate relief or rural rate relief as a result of an increase in rateable value in the 2017 revaluation. This relief was introduced from 1 April 2017 to help phase-in large percentage increases for those affected.

        This scheme limits any increase in business rates to £600 per year and will apply for a maximum of five years. Relief will automatically be applied each year that the business is eligible to receive it; this could be every year for the five years or could end sooner if the bill amount without the relief is reached.

        This means that in the first year of the scheme, all ratepayers losing some or all of their small business rate or rural rate relief will have the increase in their bill capped at £600. For year two to five onwards, the bill will increase by no more than £600 per year. This means that by year five, overall bills will increase by a maximum of £3,000.

        Should your property become empty during the period of the scheme or if you are entitled to mandatory relief for charities or community amateur sports clubs, you will no longer be eligible to receive supporting small businesses relief and your bill will return to the full amount due without this relief.

        We automatically identify those ratepayers who should receive this relief and apply it to their bill.

        If you feel that you qualify for this relief but it is not showing on your bill, please contact the business rates team.


        Transitional rate relief

        All rateable values are reassessed every five years at a general revaluation. On 1 April 2017, the new rating list came into effect and your bill will be based on this new rateable value.

        Property values normally change a good deal between each revaluation, so transitional relief arrangements help to phase-in the effects of these changes on ratepayers’ bills. Large rises are restricted so businesses are not suddenly asked to pay much larger amounts and this is offset by limiting big gains where businesses would have to pay significantly less.

        We will automatically include transitional relief when we calculate your bill. It is shown on the bill as ‘Transitional Adjustment’.

        Transitional relief limits the percentage your business rates bill can be increased or decreased each year following revaluation. The transitional relief will apply each year until the full amount is due and your bill reaches what your full bill should be.

        The full 2017 bill is calculated by multiplying the rateable value by the multiplier. More information is available on how are business rates calculated page.

        More information on transitional rate relief is available on the website.


        Unoccupied properties

        Non-domestic properties are exempt from paying business rates for the first three months that they are empty and unoccupied. After this time, most businesses must pay full business rates.

        Some properties can get extended empty property relief:

        • industrial premises, such as warehouses, are exempt for a further three months
        • listed buildings are exempt until they become occupied again
        • buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 are exempt until they become occupied again
        • properties owned by charities are exempt if the property’s next use is likely to be wholly or mainly for charitable purposes
        • community amateur sports club buildings if their next use is likely to be wholly or mainly for a sports club

        After the exemption period ends business rates will be charged at 100%.

        Please note that a change in ownership or tenancy will not affect the right to an exemption. For example, if someone purchases or leases a property that has already been unoccupied for over three months a new period of exemption cannot be applied.


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