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You are here: Home / Business / Business Rates / Discounts And Exceptions / Reliefs


Unoccupied property relief:

You will not pay business rates in the first three months that a property is empty or the first six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this time, unless your property has a Rateable Value of less than £2,900 (£2,600 up to 31 March 2017), you must pay rates in full.  Empty rates are always calculated on the full multiplier (currently 50.4p for 2019).

Other exemptions may apply.

In most cases, the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs.

Partly occupied property relief:

You are liable for the full non-domestic rate if your property is wholly occupied or partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time only, we have discretion to award relief for the unoccupied part.

Empty New Build Commercial Properties:

The Government has funded an extension to the initial exemption from empty property rates, on all newly built commercial property, classed as substantially complete on a date, between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016.  The relief would be granted for a maximum period of 18 months, whilst the property remained unoccupied.  If you wish to apply for relief in these circumstances, please complete this form

Small business rate relief

The Government has updated the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme from 1 April 2017; this is available to ratepayers with either:

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 bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier (49.1p in 2019/2020), rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier (50.4p in 2019/2020).

In addition, you may receive a 100% reduction in your rate bill if your Rateable Value is below £12,000 and if your Rateable Value is between £12,001 and £14,999 you will receive a percentage/phased reduction in your bill up to 100%.

The small business rate relief scheme is funded by a supplement on the rate bill of all businesses not eligible for relief. This is built into the standard multiplier (50.4p in 2019/2020).

You must let us know of changes in your circumstances within four weeks of the day they happened if:

  1. You take occupation of another property that you did not occupy at the time of making the application for relief, and
  2. The Rateable Value of a property occupied by you in an area outside the Borough increases.

If you wish to claim small business rate relief, please complete this form.

The Government has introduced additional support to small businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, businesses will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months, from the date the additional property is occupied.

Supporting Small Businesses

A new scheme of Small Business Relief has been introduced for those ratepayers facing large increases as a result of the loss of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) following the revaluation.

For 2016/17, eligible ratepayers with a Rateable Value less than or equal to £6,000 are entitled to 100% SBRR. Those with a Rateable Value of between £6,000 and £12,000 enjoy tapered relief from 100% to 0%. Following the measures in the 2016 Budget, these thresholds were increased from 1 April 2017 to £12,000 for the 100% relief and £15,000 for the tapered relief. This ensures that most ratepayers currently entitled to SBRR will pay less or nothing following the revaluation. However, some ratepayers that are facing large increases in their Rateable Value will lose some or all of this relief

To support these ratepayers, the Supporting Small Businesses Relief will ensure that the increase per year in the bills of these ratepayers is limited to the greater of:

In the first year of the scheme, this means all ratepayers losing some or all of their SBRR will see the increase in their business rate bill capped at £600. The cash minimum increase is £600 per year thereafter. This means that ratepayers who were paying nothing previously, losing all of their entitlement to relief (i.e. moving from £6,000 rateable value or less to more than £15,000) would under this scheme be paying £3,000 by year 5.

Those on the Supporting Small Businesses Relief scheme whose 2017 Rateable Values are £51,000 or more, will not be liable to pay the Business Rate supplement (1.3p) to fund SBRR while they are eligible for the Supporting Small Businesses relief scheme.

Ratepayers remain in the Supporting Small Businesses relief scheme for either 5 years or until they reach the bill they would have paid without the scheme. A change of ratepayer will not affect eligibility for the Supporting Small Businesses relief scheme but eligibility will be lost if the property becomes vacant or is occupied by a charity or Community Amateur Sports Club.

There is no need to apply for this relief as we will identify all eligible properties.  However please contact us if you have any questions.

Revaluation Discretionary Relief

An additional £300m of funding has been made available nationally, over a 4 year period, for local Authorities to support businesses who have suffered the largest increases in their Business Rate Bills.

Fareham will be allocated £311,000 of the funding split over the 4 year period, distributed as:

58% in year 1 =  £182,000
28% in year 2 =  £88,000
12% in year 3 =  £36,000
2% in year 4   =  £5,000

The share of funding for each Authority has been calculated based on the total increase in 2017 bills (excluding the impact of reliefs) for every rateable property:

Fareham has a duty to design and scheme and allocate the funding; our scheme uses the criteria above but only awards relief where the increase is above £600 (comparing your bills with your 2016/2017 Rate Bill).  The relief will be distributed proportionately in line with the % increase in rates bill (around 41% on the increase above the first £600); in addition the property must be occupied on 31 March 2017 & 1 April 2017.

We will contact all those businesses that are eligible to receive relief, you will be required to confirm that the receipt of this relief will not be contrary to State Aid rules. This issue is most likely to affect businesses that are part of a national chain rather than independently owned, but you may need to seek your own advice on this subject.

We will also carefully consider applications from businesses who are suffering severe hardship due to the revaluation of their property, each case will be considered on its merits

In order to apply for this relief, please complete and return the Revaluation Discretionary Relief form PDF (649 KB).

Charity relief, relief for registered community amateur sport clubs (CASCs) and discretionary relief

Charities and certain non-profit making organisations are entitled to a reduction on Non-Domestic Rates for properties occupied for charitable purposes. There are two types of relief, Mandatory and Discretionary. Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) are also entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property wholly or mainly used for the purposes of that club or other such registered club

Mandatory Relief

Your organisation must be a charity or trustees for a charity or a registered community amateur sports club, and

If the property is unoccupied you may still qualify for relief so long as it appears that when next used the property will be wholly or mainly used for charitable purpose.  

Note, if we cannot establish regular use of the premises or expected regular use, or if the use made is very erratic, we may decide relief is not appropriate.

Discretionary Relief

The Council will also consider granting Discretionary Relief of:

(a) Occupy a property where all or part is occupied for the purposes of one or more institutions or other organisations which are not established or conducted for profit and their main objects are charitable or are otherwise philanthropic or religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts; or

(b) a property which is wholly or mainly used for purposes of recreation, and all or part of it is occupied for the purpose of a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit.

Important Information:

The Charity Commission offers the following advice to charities in relation to entering into any tenancy agreements to occupy empty properties; the commission advises that the charity trustees must:

The Charity Commission has been made aware of a number of charities who have entered tenancy agreements and is examining whether the trustees of the charities involved have properly discharged their trustee duties when making the decisions to occupy those properties to further their charitable purposes, and whether any benefit to the landlord is incidental to that.

For more information about any relief, contact our business rates team on 01329 824651 or by email to

State Aid

Any Discretionary Rate Relief is considered as State Aid and in order to minimise distortion of competition, the European Commission sets limits on how much State Aid can be given without its prior approval, to organisations operating in a competitive market. 

This limit is known as De Minimis State Aid under EC Regulation 1407/2013 (De Minimis Aid Regulation) as published on the Official Journal of the European Union 24 December 2013.  There is a celling of €200,000 for all De Minimis aid provided to any one organisation over a three fiscal year period (i.e. your current fiscal year and two previous fiscal years).  You must declare this amount if asked in the future to any other aid awarding body and also satisfy yourself that any State Aid given/the total State Aid given does not exceed the €200,000 ceiling. 

Further information is available on the Government's website External Hyperlink


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