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Relief and exemptions

Types of rates relief

You can get small business rate relief if your property has a rateable value of less than £15,000. It’s only available to ratepayers who occupy either:

  • one property, or
  • one main property and other additional properties (providing those additional properties each have a rateable value which does not exceed £2,899 each and the combined value does not exceed £19,999)

If you meet the criteria, you will only receive small business rate relief on one property. More information is available at Small Business Rate Relief GOV.UK.

You can apply via email, telephone or letter. If an application for relief is granted, the ratepayer will not need to re-apply for relief in each new valuation period (providing the conditions for relief apply at the relevant time, for both the property and the ratepayer).

The local authority has the discretion to give relief in special circumstances.

North East Lincolnshire Council may award this relief to new business developments or expansions to existing business properties that will increase the revenue received from the tax base in the medium to long term.

Consideration is given to the business’ commitment to creating new jobs and developing the skills of local people, whether this would create unfair market conditions, and whether the rules relating to state aid would apply.

Localism act discretionary relief application form (PDF, 25KB)

The full non-domestic rate is due to whether a property is wholly occupied or partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, we have discretion, in certain cases, to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.

Charities and registered CASC’s are entitled to 80% relief where:

  • the property is occupied by the charity of the CASC, and
  • is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity, or for the purposes of the CASC (or of that and other CASC’s)
  • A full exemption can be applied if a property’s next use will be mostly for charitable purposes

The local authority has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill.

The local authority has the discretion to give relief to non-profit making organisations.

Certain types of properties, in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000, may be entitled to relief.  The property has to be occupied and must be:

  • the only general store, the only post office, or a food shop and have a rateable value of less than £8,500
  • or be the only public house or the only petrol station and have a rateable value of less than £12,500

An eligible ratepayer is entitled to relief at 50% of the full charge whilst the local authority also has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill.

In addition, the local authority can give relief on certain other occupied property in a rural settlement where the rateable value is less than £16,500.

With effect from 1 April 2017, local authorities have a discretionary power to top up the mandatory relief to 100%.

The extension of the £1500 business rates discount for office space occupied by local newspapers will apply for an additional 5 years until 31 March 2025.

Section 1 of the Non-Domestic Rating Act 2023 created a new mandatory relief to support businesses making improvements to properties they occupy. From 1 April 2024, businesses that have made qualifying improvements may benefit from 100% relief from higher bills for 12 months. The scheme will run until 1 April 2029.  Further information will be published once guidance has been received in relation to this relief.

You will not pay business rates if your property is only used or mainly used to supply heating or cooling to other properties from a central source. If your property is a heat network, you could be eligible.

The heat network must:

  • Take its energy from a low carbon source
  • Supply heating and cooling to other properties – for example, homes, shops, public buildings, hospitals, and offices

The heat network must not supply heat or cooling for industrial use, such as to create products in factories.

Contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to check if your property is eligible for heat networks relief.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his latest budget that eligible film studios would benefit from a 40% reduction on gross business rates bills from 1 April 2024 until 2034.

From 1 April 2020 the government expanded the Retail Discount as follows:

  • Widened the Retail Relief scheme to include the leisure and tourism industry, including hotels, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs and gyms. Properties previously not allowed retail relief including estate agents and betting shops have now also been included.
  • Removed the £51,000 rateable value ceiling level.

This then continued for 2021/22, 2022/23, 2023/24 and will continue for 2024/25 as follows:

  • 100% relief for three months from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021 with no cash cap, followed by 66% relief from 1 July to 31 March 2022.
  • 50% relief from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.
  • 75% relief from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2025 for eligible properties up to a cap of £110,000 per business.

View the latest guidance for the Business Rates Relief: 2024/25 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme (GOV.UK)- external site 

All ratepayers have the option of declining their retail relief. If you wish to decline the retail relief as described in the Budget, please contact us as soon as possible.  We can be contacted at [email protected] or call 0300 3030164 and choose option 4

Business rates exemptions

If you own or lease a non-domestic property which is empty, you do not have to pay business rates for 3 months (6 months for industrial premises). The relief starts when the property becomes empty. After this time, full business rates will be payable unless your property falls under another exemption class.

If a property has not been in occupation for at least 13 weeks before it becomes empty, an exemption will not be awarded.

To be exempt from paying business rates, your property must be one of the following:

  • empty less than three months
  • empty less than six months if a qualifying industrial property
  • have a rateable value of less than £2,900 (with effect from 1 April 2017)
  • an ancient monument
  • a listed building
  • one where occupation is prohibited by law
  • kept empty by action of Crown or public authority
  • the owner is bankrupt
  • the owner is a trustee under a deed of arrangement
  • the owner is entitled to possession as a liquidator
  • the owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person
  • the owner is a company in administration
  • the owner is a company which is subject to a winding-up order
  • In most cases, the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs

If the unoccupied property rate for the financial year has been reduced by order, it will be shown on the front of your bill.

Certain types of property are not included in the rating list for non-domestic rates and therefore are not charged business rates. These properties are shown below:

  • agricultural land and buildings
  • fish farms
  • places of religious worship
  • lighthouses, buoys and beacons
  • property of drainage authorities
  • parks
  • properties used by the disabled
  • air raid protection works
  • sewers
  • sporting rights
  • swinging moorings
  • road crossings over watercourses
  • visiting forces headquarters
  • crown properties

Contact details

Business rates, local taxation and benefits, Municipal Offices, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HU

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 0300 3030164 option 4

Telephone opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 4:30pm, except bank holidays