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Business Rates: What you need to know

Last updated 28 October 2015

Telephone lines for Business Rates enquiries are only available from 9am to 1pm

Why do I have to pay Business Rates?

You’ll probably have to pay business rates if you use a building or part of a building for non-domestic purposes.

Read more on Business Rates

Business Rates Retention

From 1 April 2013, Councils can keep a proportion of the Business Rates paid locally. As Councils will benefit from any increase in Business Rates collected they will be encouraged to work with local businesses to regenerate the area and promote growth.

How is my Business Rates charge worked out?

Each commercial premises in England and Wales is assessed individually and assigned a 'Rateable Value' (RV). The RV is calculated by various means but should be roughly equal to the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date.

Read more on How your rates are calculated

Revaluation of Business Rates

The assessment is carried out by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. They draw up and maintain a full list of all rateable values which are available to the public on their website at

The VOA carry out a revaluation of each property every five years, however the revaluation due in 2015 has been put back to 2017. The RV shown on your bill will be based on valuations effective in April 2008 for the latest revaluation list in 2010.

Read more on Revaluation of Business Rates

What can I do if I think my Rateable Value is too high?

The rates you pay on your non-domestic (eg business) property depend on its 'rateable value'. This is calculated by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

The Valuation Officer may alter the value if the circumstances of the property have changed. If you think the current value for your property is wrong you can appeal.

Read more on Business Rate appeals

Do you want to get professional advice?

In England and Wales, you can query your rateable value by contacting the Valuation Office Agency. There's no charge for this.

Read more information on where to get the professional advice

Transitional Phasing

In order to reduce the impact for those ratepayers who would otherwise have seen significant increases in their Rates liability, the Government has put in place a £2billion transitional relief scheme. This scheme is designed to limit and phase in changes in Rate bills as a result of the 2010 revaluation by setting a limit on the amount that any ratepayer’s charge can increase per year. To help pay for the limits on increases in bills, there also have to be limits on reductions in bills.

Under the transition scheme, limits continue to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount is due (rateable value times the appropriate multiplier). Therefore the amount of relief shown on your bill will change slightly each year as the increase or decrease is phased in. The scheme applies only to the bill based on a property at the time of the revaluation. If there are any changes to the property after 1 April 2010, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of a bill that relates to any increase in rateable value due to those changes. Changes to your bill as a result of other reasons (such as changes to the amount of small Business Rate relief) are not covered by the transitional arrangements.

The transitional arrangements are applied automatically and are shown on the front of your bill. More information on revaluation 2010 can be found at

What else can I do to reduce my charge?

There are various ways that you can reduce the amount of Business Rates that you pay. You may qualify for relief as a retail business, small business, charity or if your property is empty for example.

Please visit Business Rates - Reductions for more information and application forms.

You can also apply to pay your Business Rates by instalments through to March each year in order to maximise the amount of time you have to pay and therefore reducing the monthly sum.

Download the Business Rates guide

Download this year's Business Rates mailout.

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