Business rates

Explanatory notes for business rates

Non-domestic rates

Non-domestic rates, or business rates, collected by local authorities are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1 April 2013, we keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This provides a direct financial incentive for us to work with local businesses to create a favourable local environment for growth since we will benefit from growth in business rates revenues.

The money, together with revenue from Council Tax, locally-generated income and grants from central government, is used to pay for the services provided by your local authority and other local authorities in your area.

Read more about business rates on GOV.UK (link opens in new window), including transitional and other reliefs.

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Rateable value

Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the valuation officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Officers draw up and maintain a full list of all rateable values; view values on the VOA's website (link opens in new window).

The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date, specified in legislation. For the current rating list, this date was set as 1 April 2015.

The valuation officer may alter the value if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can also check and challenge the valuation shown in the list, if they believe it is wrong.

Visit the VOA's website for more about the grounds on which challenges may bemade and the process for challenging.

Alternatively, contact the VOA:

Telephone: 03000 501501
Email: ratingcentral@voa.gsi.gov.uk

Until your appeal is settled you should pay in accordance with your rate demand notice. Any overpayment resulting from a subsequent reduction will be refunded and interest may be added to the refund but only if payments have been made strictly in accordance with the regulations for the payment of non-domestic rates.
Any reduction in your gross charge resulting from a successful appeal against your rateable value may lead to an equal loss in transitional relief. The amount you are required to pay therefore may not change until you no longer qualify for transitional relief.

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National non-domestic rating multiplier

We work out the business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate multiplier. There are two multipliers; the national non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The government sets the multipliers for each financial year, except in the City of London where special arrangements apply.

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 (and who are not entitled to certain other mandatory relief(s) or are liable for unoccupied property rates) will have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier.

The multiplier for a financial year is based on the previous year’s multiplier, adjusted to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figure for the September prior to the billing year.

The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.

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Business rates instalments

Payment of business rate bills is automatically set on a 10-monthly cycle. However, the government has put in place regulations that allow businesses to require us to enable payments to be made through 12 monthly instalments. If you wish to take up this offer, you should contact us as soon as possible:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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Direct Debit

Direct Debit is the easiest way to pay your bill. All you need to do is call us on 0300 300 8011. The Direct Debit will be collected each month (as detailed on a schedule we will send you) and you are fully protected against mistakes under the terms of the Direct Debit Guarantee. You can make your payments on either the 5th, 9th, 19th or the last day of each month. Alternatively you may pay half yearly on 9 May and 9 October, or annually on 9 June.

Set up your Business Rates Direct Debit >>

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Revaluation 2017 and transitional arrangements

All rateable values are reassessed at a general revaluation. The most recent revaluation took effect from 1 April 2017. Revaluations ensure that business rates bills are up to date, more accurately reflect current rental values and relative changes in rents. Frequent revaluations ensure the system continues to be responsive to changing economic conditions.

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Business rates reliefs

Depending on individual circumstances, a ratepayer may be eligible for a rate relief (i.e. a reduction in your business rates bill). There are a range of available reliefs. Some of the permanent reliefs are set out below but temporary reliefs are often introduced by the government at budgets.

Read more about reductions and reliefs.

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Unoccupied property rate relief

Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period rates are payable in full. In most cases, the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate.

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Small business rate relief

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 (and who are not entitled to other mandatory relief or are liable for unoccupied property rates) will have their bill calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier.

In addition, generally, if the sole or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value which does not exceed £15,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 100%. For a property with a rateable value of not more than £12,000, the ratepayer will receive a 100% reduction in their rates bill.

Generally, this percentage reduction (relief) is only available to ratepayers who occupy either:

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

The aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b), must not exceed £19,999 outside London or £27,999 in London on each day for which relief is being sought. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable value, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase.

The government has introduced additional support to small businesses. For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rates relief, the government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.

If you meet the eligibility criteria and have not received the relief, please contact us:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

Provided the ratepayer continues to satisfy the conditions for relief which apply at the relevant time as regards the property and the ratepayer, they will automatically continue to receive relief in each new valuation period.

We need to be told about certain changes in circumstances, by a ratepayer who is in receipt of relief.

The changes you need to tell us about are:

  • if the property falls vacant
  • the ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property
  • an increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than Central Bedfordshire

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Charity and community amateur sports club relief

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 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 have discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill.

For full details, please contact us:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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Spring Budget 2017 Relief Scheme: supporting small business

Ratepayers losing Small Business or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the 2017 revaluation will have their increases limited to the greater of either (i) a cash value of £600 per year, or (ii) the matching cap on increases for small properties in the transitional relief scheme. This relief will run until the next revaluation in 2021 and ratepayers will receive the relief until this date or they reach what their bill would have been within the relief scheme, whichever is first.

This relief will be delivered through our discretionary discount powers, under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

Please contact us for further information:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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Spring Budget 2017 Relief Scheme: discretionary scheme

The government is providing £300 million of funding to local authorities over 4 years to 31 March 2021, to provide discounts to ratepayers in their area on a discretionary basis. Each authority has been allocated a share with which to design and implement a scheme to deliver targeted support to ratepayers.

Read more about local authority allocations on GOV.UK (link opens in new window).

This relief will be delivered through our discretionary discount powers, under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

Please contact us for further information:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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Support for pubs

In a written Ministerial Statement on 27 January 2020, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury announced a £1,000 business rate discount for public houses with a rateable value of less than £100,000 for one year from 1 April 2020. 

Where pubs are part of a chain, relief will be available for each eligible property in the chain, subject to meeting State Aid requirements.

You do not need to complete an application form to apply for this discount. This relief will be applied to your bill automatically and will be applied after the award of any other reliefs.

This relief will be delivered through our discretionary discount powers, under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

If this relief has not been awarded and you believe you qualify, please contact us:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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Retail discount 2020/21

In a written ministerial statement on 27 January 2020, the government announced that it would extend the value of the retail discount from one third of the bill to 50% in 2020/21. This relief will apply to occupied retail properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 in the year 2020/21. This discount will be applied to the bill after the application of any reliefs, excluding any local discounts and pub relief.

The government has issued guidance on the operation of the scheme.

This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

You do not need to complete an application form to apply for this discount. The discount will be awarded to your bill automatically. If it has not been awarded and you believe that you qualify, please contact us:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

Local discounts

We have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts.

For full details, please contact us:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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State aid

The award of discretionary reliefs 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 EUR 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), you should tell us immediately with details of the aid received:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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Hardship relief

We have discretion to give hardship relief in specific circumstances.

For full details, please contact us:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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Rating advisers

Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value, their rates bill or any other reductions or reliefs they may be entitled to. Appeals against rateable values can be made easily and free of charge.

Read more about reductions and reliefs, or ask us:

Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk
Telephone: 0300 300 8011

You can find out how to appeal your rateable value from GOV.UK (link opens in new window), or call us on 0300 300 8011.

However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (link opens in new window)(RICS) and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a rating adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.

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Rate relief for businesses in rural areas

Certain types of properties in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000 may be entitled to relief. The property 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 the only public house or the only petrol station and have a rateable value of less than £12,500. The property has to be occupied. An eligible ratepayer is entitled to relief at 100% of the full charge (50% mandatory relief and 50% centrally-funded discretionary relief).

For full details, please contact us:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Email: businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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Information supplied with demand notices

Read about our gross expenditure in relevant and previous financial years. A hard copy is available on request by writing to us or by calling 0300 300 8000.

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My account

Take control of your Business Rates account.

You can now access your account 24/7, 365 days of the year. It’s the quick and easy way to keep track of your account, see your bills, complete e-forms and make payments.

Using your online account is safe, secure and simple to use.

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