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Hardship relief

The Council can reduce all or part of a business rates bill in exceptional circumstances of hardship.  The criteria that must be met include:

  • The ratepayer will suffer hardship if relief is not granted
  • The relief will provide a direct benefit to the ratepayer, or the community, and will cause no adverse impact to other ratepayers or the community.

We will consider a combination of the following factors:

  • Financial:
    • Income and outgoings (i.e., money coming in and expenses)
    • Reserves (i.e., could the hardship be covered by the organisation or individuals’ reserves)
    • Other shops / areas of business (i.e., are there other areas of the business that could offset hardship)
    • Excessive outgoings (i.e., is the organisation or individual renting excessively large premises).
  • History and future planning:
    • Is there a recognisable, one-off reason for the hardship?
    • Is there an improvement plan and what are the chances of success?
    • Will the granting of relief be effective or will it only delay the inevitable?
  • Loss of amenity:
    • What would be the effect on the local community?
    • Are there other similar businesses or would there be a loss of this amenity?
    • Do large sectors of the Birmingham community benefit?
    • Would an empty property be detrimental to the local public?
  • Employment implications:
    • What number of people would be in danger of losing their jobs?
    • Are those employees residents of Birmingham?
    • Are the employees family or are vacancies open to the general public?
    • Are jobs are more difficult to obtain in that area?
  • External factors:
    • Consideration should be given when certain regional, national or global factors affecting hardship are beyond the organisation's control, particularly when central Government provides extra funding and including consideration of rules of state aid.

Birmingham City Council is only able to support applications for hardship relief under these provisions, where we are satisfied on all of the following counts:

  • Exceptional hardship is demonstrated;
  • The business is responsible for providing a local amenity and/or employment to Birmingham residents;
  • The business has a credible future;
  • A short term award of hardship relief will ensure the future of the business, the continued provision of the amenity and/or employment opportunities; and
  • There is sufficient budgetary provision available to meet the Council's commitment to fund the relief.

There is no minimum award period. The maximum is 12 months but this would only be in the rarest of circumstances.

Applying for relief

Please complete the National Non-Domestic rates hardship relief downloadable form and send it with a copy of audited accounts to the Business Rates team.

Your application will be assessed carefully against the criteria set out in our policy on this relief. We will then write to you with our decision. If we award relief we will issue you with a new bill.  If we do not grant relief we will write to you to explain why.

Appealing the decision

Because this relief is discretionary there is no formal right of appeal.

If you think our decision is wrong you should first look again at our policy to make sure you meet the criteria.

If you still think our decision is wrong you should email or write to the Business Rates team within one month of the decision letter explaining why you believe you meet the criteria and providing additional evidence where appropriate.

An independent officer will review your application and write to you with the outcome, normally within 28 days.

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