Business Rates reductions and grants

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Alert

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.

Important information about Covid restrictions grants

National lockdown 3 grant (Closed Addendum 16 February to 31 March 2021) applications close 31 May 2021, successful applications will be paid by 30 June 2021

All other grants have a deadline of 31 March 2021, if you have been successful your grant will be paid by 30 April 2021

New grant opportunities are coming from 1 April, including the ‘restart grant’ keep an eye out for more details coming soon.

For more information please see our Covid Restrictions Business Grants page

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.

Apply for discretionary or mandatory relief

Read Waltham Forest's policy on discretionary rate relief 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)

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.

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 businessrates@walthamforest.gov.uk.

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 properties which are occupied and are wholly or mainly used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure; or
  • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

You can find the full qualifying criteria for this discount on the GOV.UK website.

Download our COVID-19 Expanded Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Discount and Nursery Discount Policy.

How much is the discount?

The retail discount will reduce the amount of Business Rates payable by 100% for the 2020/21 year.

The retail discount was available for the 2019/20 year however, the qualifying criteria differed to that of the current year. The main differences being, the amount of reduction was one third of the net bill, leisure and hospitality properties were not included and state aid rules applied. All applications received will be considered for both years based on the guidance for each year. Guidance for the 2019/2020 can be found on the gov.uk website listed above.

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.

Timescales

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 and expanded upon in March 2020

* The retail discount was available for the 2019/20 year however, the qualifying criteria differed to that of the current year. The main differences being, the amount of reduction was one third of the net bill, leisure and hospitality properties were not included and state aid rules applied. All applications received will be considered for both years based on the guidance for each year. Guidance for the 2019/2020 can be found on the gov.uk website listed above.

How to apply

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

Apply online

Can I be automatically awarded the retail discount?

Following the government’s announcement we have awarded those who were in receipt of retail relief for the 2019/2020 year with the 100% relief for the new 2020/2021 year. In addition, we have been actively reviewing our records to identify leisure and hospitality assessments.

Due to the major changes to the discount made during March 2020 which affect multiple business premises we would ask that you make an application if you receive your bill without the retail discount and you believe you meet the criteria.

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)

Rating Advisers

Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors RICS website  and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation IRV website are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a rating adviser or company you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract as you will be charged a fee for using a rating agent or adviser.

How we will process requests from third party agents or advisers

Whilst we will accept template letters of authority for agents or advisers to act on behalf of clients, we will only consider these documents valid for a 3 month period.

What we will not do:

  • Repeat information in respect of reductions achieved by third-party agents or advisers where we have already sent the information directly to the ratepayer particularly where 3 months has lapsed since the authority to act template was signed. If you require information in relation to reductions received, this will need to be confirmed with the ratepayer of whom would have been informed of the amount and value.
  • Update the forwarding address on the ratepayers account to the third-party agents address without a letter from the ratepayer* requesting us to do so. (a signature on the third-party agent or advisers authority to act template will not be accepted).
  • Pay any credit through reduction to a rating agents account without a letter from the ratepayer* requesting us to do so (a signature on the third-party agents or advisers authority to act template will not be accepted).

*The Director in the case of a limited company

 

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)