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Business rates - reductions and reliefs

Last Modified April 23, 2015

There are a number of different reductions available.

Business Rates - Retail Relief

The Government announced in the Autumn Statement on 4 December 2014 that relief of up to £1,500 will be available in the financial years 2015/16 on rates bills for occupied retail properties with a rateable value of £50,000 or less that are used for the sale of goods or the provision of food and drink. (This has increased from £1,000 in 2014-15).

A list of properties to which this relief may apply is given below.

To comply with EU law on state aid, you must not be in receipt of state aid under the De Minimis Regulations (EC 1407/2013) that exceeds €200,000 in total, including retail relief and any other form of discretionary rate relief for these premises or others, whether within Hertsmere or elsewhere.

Under the European Commission rules, you must retain this declaration for three years and produce it on any request by the UK public authorities or the European Commission. (You may need to keep this longer than three years for other purposes.)

Furthermore, information on this aid must be supplied to any other public authority or agency asking for information on de minimis aid for the next three years. Further information on state aid law can be found here.

If you wish to apply for this relief, please complete the application form and return it by post to:

Revenues, Hertsmere Borough Council, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 1WA or email revenues@hertsmere.gov.uk

If you are applying for relief on more than one property, please complete a form for each.

If you have any questions relating to this relief, please call the Business Rates Team on 020 8207 7409.

Business Rates Retail Relief – qualifying criteria


Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied properties with a rateable value of £50,000 or less. You will need to confirm that your premises falls into at least one of the categories listed below:

  • Shops (such as florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off licences, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets)
  • Charity shops
  • Opticians
  • Post offices
  • Furnishing shops/display rooms (such as carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
  • Car/caravan showrooms
  • Second-hand car lots
  • Markets
  • Petrol stations
  • Garden centres
  • Art galleries (where art is for sale/hire)
  • Shoe repairs/key cutting
  • Travel agents
  • Ticket offices (for a theatre or similar)
  • Dry cleaners
  • Launderettes
  • PC/TV/domestic appliance repair
  • Funeral directors
  • Photo processing
  • DVD/video rentals
  • Tool hire
  • Hair and beauty services
  • Restaurants
  • Takeaways
  • Sandwich shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Pubs
  • Bars


Please note that the following types of uses are not eligible for retail relief:

i) Properties being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public:

  • Financial services (such as banks, building societies, cashpoints, bureaux de change, payday lenders, betting shops, pawnbrokers)
  • Other services (such as estate agents, letting agents, employment agencies)
  • Medical services (such as vets, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
  • Professional services (such as solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/financial advisers, tutors)
  • Post office sorting offices


ii) Properties not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public.

Small Business Rate Relief

Our Small Business Rate Relief Scheme normally provides a maximum of 50% mandatory rate relief for properties with a rateable value up to £6,000, with relief declining on a sliding scale until, at a rateable value of £12,000, there is no entitlement.

Relief will only be available to businesses occupying one property in England, with a rateable value less than £12,000, or businesses with one main property and other additional properties in England, providing the additional properties have individual rateable values below £2,600 and the combined rateable value of all the properties is below £18,000. In such cases, relief will only be applied on your main property (i.e. the property with the highest rateable value).

The Government temporarily doubled the rate of Small Business Rate Relief in 2012/13 and has extended this arrangement in subsequent years. The current extension now runs to 31 March 2016. This means:

  • If you are occupying only one property with a rateable value of below £6,000 you would pay no rates at all.
  • If you are occupying only one property with a rateable value of below £12,000 you would benefit from a discount on your bill.


The Government has also made it easier for eligible ratepayers with rateable values below £18,000 to have their bills calculated using the small business multiplier.  If you are not claiming and think you may be eligible, contact us on 020 8207 7409.

Download an application form now. 

Transitional Relief

After each revaluation there is a period of transition. No bill is allowed to increase or decrease by more than a set percentage. Any property with a large increase or decrease in its rateable value will therefore come under the transitional relief scheme, which has the effect of phasing in the valuation over a period of time. If transitional relief applies to your rates bill, it will be applied automatically.

Empty properties


For the majority of commercial properties there is a maximum of three months exemption from the payment of rates from the date the property becomes empty. If, after that period, the property remains empty, full rates will become payable.

Industrial properties that under previous law received full exemption from the payment of rates whilst empty (factories, warehouses and workshops) now only benefit from a maximum of up to six months exemption. If after that period the property remains empty, full rates become payable.

There are full and unlimited exemptions applicable to unoccupied charitable properties and listed buildings, and full exemptions for unoccupied small properties with rateable values of less than £2,600. 

The Government introduced a new temporary measure for unoccupied new builds from October 2013. Unoccupied new builds will be exempt from unoccupied property rates for up to 18 months (up to state aid limits) where the property comes on to the list between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016. The 18 month period includes the initial three or six month exemption and so properties may qualify, if unoccupied.

As part of the December 2013 Autumn Statement, the Government also introduced a 50% business rates relief for 18 months - between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016 - for businesses that move into retail premises that have been empty for a year or more.

Partly Occupied Property Relief


A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the local authority has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Full details can be obtained from the Business Rates Team on 020 8207 7409.

Charities and Community Amateur Sports Club Relief

Charities registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to an 80% reduction in their bills where the property 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 the discretion to reduce the bill further and to grant relief to some other types of non-profit making bodies. Download an application form and guide now. 

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 50% of the full charge. Full details can be obtained from the Business Rates Team on 020 8207 7409.

Hardship relief

This discretionary relief can be granted if you are experiencing hardship and your business is considered to be important to the local community. Contact us on 020 8207 7409 for an application form.


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