A number of reductions, reliefs and exemptions from business rates are available. These include:

Empty properties

Business rates are not payable for the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months for certain industrial properties. After this period, rates are payable in full unless the property is classed as exempt, for example:

Empty properties:

  • that are listed buildings or monuments

  • that are subject to a building preservation notice

  • with a rateable value of less than £2,600

  • that are legally prohibited from being occupied

  • that are vacant due to action taken by the Crown or any public or local authority

  • where the owner is subject to a bankruptcy order.

Empty properties whose owner is:

  • entitled to possession in his capacity as:

    • the personal representative of a deceased person

    • a trustee under a deed of arrangement

    • a liquidator under Section 112 or Section 145 of the Insolvency Act 1986

  • a company subject to a winding-up order under the Insolvency Act 1986 or which is being wound up voluntarily

  • a company in administration or subject to an administration order

Please email business.rates@huntingdonshire.gov.uk if you think an exemption applies to your property.

Small business rate relief

You can get small business rate relief if your property’s rateable value is less than £12,000 and you occupy only one property.

Small businesses with a rateable value of up to £6,000 will get 100% rate relief (double the usual rate of 50%) until 31 March 2017. This means you won’t pay any business rates on properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less until 31 March 2017.

The rate of relief decreases by approximately 2% for every £100 rateable value from £6,001 to £12,000.

You may also be able to keep the relief for a further year on your existing property if you expand into a second property. However, you will be liable for full rates on the second property.

Small businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 - £17,999 will have their business rates calculated using the small business rate multiplier of 48.4p, which is lower than the standard multiplier of 49.7p.

You must apply for small business rate relief. The application form includes guidance notes on the small business rate relief scheme. All applicants must meet the eligibility criteria set out in the application form.

Apply for Small Business Rate Relief

Retail rate relief

The government has introduced a scheme that gave business rates relief of up to £1,500 (until 31 March 2016) to retail properties that:

  • have a rateable value of £50,000 or less and

  • are completely or mainly used as shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments.

Examples of qualifying retail properties can be found in the Retail Relief Guidance Notes.

This relief was subject to State Aid limits of €200,000. Applicants must sign a declaration confirming they will not exceed this amount within the current financial year or the previous two financial years. This relief ended on 31 March 2016.

Further information on State Aid.

Please email business.rates@huntingdonshire.gov.uk if you would like to discuss retail rate relief.

Charity and discretionary relief

Charities are entitled to 80% relief from the rates on property which is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. We can grant the additional 20% at our discretion.

We can also grant discretionary relief for a property if it is occupied by an organisation that is not set up or operated for profit - the amount granted will depend on individual circumstances.

Please email business.rates@huntingdonshire.gov.uk to apply for charity and discretionary relief.

Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC)

If you are registered with HM Revenue and Customs as a CASC, then you are entitled to 80% mandatory relief. See the CASC website for further information and to check if you can qualify as one.

Rural rate relief

You may be able to get rural rate relief if your business is in a designated rural area with a population below 3,000. To qualify you must be:

  • the only post office, general store or food shop in the town or village and have a rateable value of less than £8,500

  • the only public house or petrol station in the town or village and have a rateable value of less than £12,500.

Qualifying properties will get 50% relief and may qualify for an additional 50% discretionary relief to make a total of 100%.

We may also give discretionary relief up to 100% to businesses where the property has a rateable value of less than £16,500. We will consider each application individually, taking into account the benefits to the local community and the interests of council taxpayers.

Please refer to this list and map to check if your business is in a designated rural settlement.

Please email business.rates@huntingdonshire.gov.uk to apply for rural rate relief.

Partly occupied property relief

If a property is partly occupied for a short time, we can sometimes award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.

Please email business.rates@huntingdonshire.gov.uk to discuss claiming relief for partly occupied property.

March 2016 Budget

Please note the recent announcement made in the Budget in respect to small business rate relief will not apply until April 2017.

The government announced in the 2016 spring Budget that from 1 April 2017:

Small business rate relief

  • small business rate relief will be doubled (from 50% to 100%)

  • businesses with a property with a rateable value of £12,000 and below will receive 100% relief

  • businesses with a property with a rateable value between £12,000-£15,000 will receive tapered relief.

Business rates multiplier

  • the threshold for the standard business rates muliplier will be increased to a rateable value of £51,000. Therefore, businesses with properties with a rateable value below £51,000 will pay lower rates based on the small business rate multiplier.

However, please note that the Valuation Office Agency is currently reassessing all rateable values, with the revaluation taking effect 1 April 2017.

Local newspapers

  • There will be a £1,500 business rates discount for office space used by local newspapers in England.