Business Rates reductions


The Business Rates enquiries number 020 8496 3000 is available from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.

You may be eligible for a reduction of your Business Rates if you:

  • own an empty property
  • are a charity
  • are a small business
  • are in financial hardship

Other business reliefs may apply to you. See the GOV.UK guide to Business Rates reliefs.

Empty property relief Click to get info

You don’t have to pay Business Rates on empty buildings for three months. After this time, most businesses must pay full Business Rates.

Some properties can get extended empty property relief. These include:

  • industrial premises (eg warehouses) - exempt for a further three months
  • listed buildings - until they’re reoccupied
  • buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 - until they’re reoccupied

Contact us to let us know when your property becomes vacant or for further details about exemptions.

You can get small business rate relief if:

  • you only use one property
  • your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000

If your sole property’s rateable value is less than £12,000 you won’t have to pay any Business Rates. If your property’s rateable value is between £12,000 and £15,000 the amount of relief you get will be between 100 per cent and 0 per cent.

If you use more than one property

You can get small business rates relief if the rateable value of each of your other properties is less than £2,900, and if the rateable values of all the properties added together is not more than £27,999.

You must advise us if you:

  • move out
  • start to use an additional property anywhere else in England
  • make any changes to the property

Small business rate relief guide on GOV.UK

Find and check your rateable value

Apply for small business rate relief

If small business rate relief is shown on your bill but you do not qualify, please complete this form.

If you have any further questions please call the Business Rates enquiries number.

Charities and registered community amateur sports clubs (CASC)

Charities and registered community amateur sports clubs can get 80 per cent mandatory relief where the property is occupied by the charity or club, and is wholly or mainly used for their charitable purposes.

We can also give discretionary awards to top-up the mandatory relief by up to 20 per cent as funds allow.

Non profit-making organisations

We may grant discretionary relief from all, or part of, the amount payable for properties occupied by a charity for charitable purposes, and by certain voluntary bodies or organisations which are not established or conducted for profit.

Their main objects must be charitable or of a philanthropic or religious nature, for recreation, and concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts.

Apply for discretionary or mandatory relief

Read Waltham Forest's policy on discretionary rate relief (pdf 302KB) to find out which organisations can apply for discretionary relief.

To apply for both mandatory and discretionary relief, download and complete the mandatory (charity) and discretionary relief application form.

Apply for targeted discretionary relief

Targeted discretionary relief is for commercial premises used for non-profit open-workspaces. The premises must provide a combination of workspaces at affordable rates, with easy in-out contractual conditions and supporting facilities and services that nurture the growth of new and small businesses. Workspaces can be an office space, workshop, studios or retail premises.

To apply for targeted discretionary relief, download and complete the targeted discretionary relief application form (PDF 360KB)

Transitional relief Click to get info

Rateable values are reassessed every five years, which could mean that the amount of Business Rates you pay could suddenly increase or decrease.

The most recent revaluation came into effect from 1 April 2017.

The transitional arrangements spread the impact of changes by increasing or decreasing the amount of relief given every year between revaluations to balance out the difference.

You don’t have to apply for transitional relief as it is applied automatically. The amount given will be shown on your bill.

Check how your bill is calculated

Read more about transitional arrangements under Revaluation 2017 on our what you need to know about Business Rates page

Business Rates are due on a property whether it is fully or partly occupied. However, if your property is only partly occupied for a short time, we can choose to grant relief on the part that isn’t occupied. The relief is for either three or six months depending on the type of property.

To apply for this relief send a plan of the premises showing which parts are unoccupied and your contact details by email to

Local newspaper discount Click to get info

Local newspapers occupying office space in the borough for use by journalists and reporters may qualify for a new discount of up to £1,500 a year for two years from 1 April 2017.

Get more information on business rates relief for local newspapers.

Apply for the local newspaper discount (pdf 224KB)

The local newspaper discount policy (pdf 317KB)

Retail discount Click to get info

The retail discount is applicable to retail properties where all the following criteria are met:

  • the property is occupied
  • the property is wholly or mainly used as a shop, restaurant, cafe or drinking establishment
  • the property has a rateable value of less than £51,000

If the retail discount is given, the business cannot exceed the State Aid threshold (see below for further details).

Check if your business qualifies as a retail property on GOV.UK 

How much is the discount?

The retail discount will reduce the amount of Business Rates payable by one third of your net bill.

Because it reduces the net bill, this means the relief applies to your remaining balance after mandatory reliefs and other discretionary reliefs have been deducted.


The discount applies for the financial years 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021.

The retail discount was announced by the government in the autumn budget 2018.

How to apply

Please check your annual bill to first see if you have been automatically awarded the retail discount.

Apply online

You must continue to pay your full Business Rates whilst your application is being processed.

Can I be automatically awarded the retail discount?

Prior to the 2019-2020 financial year, we were able to identify the majority of eligible businesses and award the retail discount without application. But in some cases, we didn’t hold sufficient information about the business to establish whether they qualified, and so they needed to apply.

We are no longer reviewing accounts to award the discount, so if you think your business is eligible, please complete an application.

State aid

The retail discount is classed as state aid and we must therefore comply with the European Commission State Aid legislation. The application form requires your organisation to confirm that the granting of the retail discount will not result in your organisation exceeding the state aid threshold of €200,000 over the last three years (De Minimus Regulations EC 1407/2013).

Further information on state aid law can be found on GOV.UK

Hardship relief Click to get info

If your business is facing hardship as a result of unforeseen or exceptional circumstances you can apply for non-domestic rates hardship relief.

This is a discretionary relief aimed at helping businesses recover from a temporary crisis that causes a serious loss of trade or have a major effect on the services that can be provided.

Each case is considered on its own merits.

For more details of the eligibility criteria and evidence needed to apply, read the non-domestic rates hardship relief policy (Word 39KB)

To apply for the relief, download and complete the hardship relief application form (Word 55KB)

If you want to question your rateable value you can discuss it directly with the Valuation Office or get advice from a professional organisation such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors for a fee.

You do not have to be represented by a rating agent or adviser to check your rateable value or rates bill, or to apply for a reduction. Contact us for further advice.

Contact Click to get info

Revenues and Benefits Service
London Borough of Waltham Forest
PO Box 856
London E17 9PN
Phone: 020 8496 3000 (9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday)