Who has to pay business rates

What are business rates

Business rates is a local tax paid by occupiers of non-domestic property.

It is charged on most business properties such as shops, offices, pubs, warehouses and factories. However, a property doesn't have to be used for a business - if it is used for any purposes which are not domestic, it is likely to be rateable.

All properties liable for rates are given a rateable value (RV) by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), and the council issues bills based on these values.

If a property is is occupied, he person or company occupying it is liable for rates. This is the case even if a lease or licence agreement states otherwise, or there is no formal agreement to occupy.

If a property is unoccupied, empty rates will be charged to the person entitled to possession. Empty properties may be exempt for up to three months (non-industrial properties) or six months (industrial properties).

Properties that meet certain other criteria, including those with an RV below a certain threshold, may not have to pay rates. Others such as charities can also apply for a reduction in their bill.

Appealing your liability

You can ask us to reconsider our decision in writing/email:

You must clearly state what you are asking us to reconsider and provide supporting evidence.

We will respond in writing once we have reviewed our decision. We aim to do this within 28 days although you should receive a reply much sooner.

  • If we agree your liability is incorrect we will send you a revised bill
  • If we decide our original decision was correct we will provide you with a full written explanation.

If you wish to challenge our decision you will need to attend a liability order hearing at the magistrates’ court.

The council does not endorse particular companies or individuals but you are advised only to deal with qualified members of the IRRV or RICS.

The council does not decide your rateable value (RV). If you are unhappy with your banding you need to contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and ask them to review it.

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