Ratepayers who are not entitled to another mandatory relief, or who are liable for unoccupied property rates and occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £17,999 outside London or £25,499 in London, will have their bill calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the national non-domestic multiplier.
In addition, if the sole or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value which does not exceed £12,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 50% for a property with a rateable value of not more than £6,000. However, until 31 March 2014 the Government has doubled the usual level of relief.
This percentage reduction (relief) is only available to ratepayers who occupy either:-
(a) one property, or
(b) one main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value which does not exceed £2,599.
The rateable value of the property mentioned in (a), or the aggregate rateable value of all properties mentioned in (b), must not exceed £17,999 outside London or £25,499 in London on each day for which relief is being sought. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable value, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase.
However, the Government has introduced additional support to small businesses. For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, the Government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months. This came into force on February 14th 2014.
An application for Small Business Rate Relief is not normally required. Where a ratepayer meets the eligibility criteria and has not received the relief they should contact their local authority. Provided the ratepayer continues to satisfy the conditions for relief which apply at the relevant time as regards the property and the ratepayer, they will automatically continue to receive relief in each new valuation period. Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the local authority by a ratepayer who is in receipt of relief (other changes will be picked up by the local authority). The changes which should be notified are:-
(a) the ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property, and
(b) an increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted the relief.