Apply for small business rate relief
Non-Domestic Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 (and who are not entitled to other mandatory reliefs or are liable for unoccupied property rates) have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier (49.1p in 2019/20), rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier (50.4p in 2019/20).
In the majority of cases, if the sole or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value which does not exceed £15,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 100%. For a property with a rateable value of not more than £12,000, the ratepayer will receive a 100% reduction in their rates bill.
The table below is a guide to these reductions.
Rateable value approximate percentage reductions
£12,000 and under
£15,000 and above
Generally, 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 £2,899.
The aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b) must not exceed £19,999 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.
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.
Where a ratepayer meets the eligibility criteria and has not received the relief they should contact Oldham Council’s Business Rates Department. 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 Oldham Councils Business Rates Department (other changes will be picked up by the council). 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 council which granted the relief.
Non-Domestic Rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties.
After this period, rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order. In most cases, the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs.
In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the empty property rate. These are properties:
- whose rateable value is less than £2,900
- that are listed buildings
- whose owner is prohibited by law from occupying it or allowing it to be occupied
- kept vacant by reason of action taken by or on behalf of the Crown or any local or public authority with a view to prohibiting the occupation or to acquisition of it
- which are classed as an ancient or historical monument
- where the owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person
- where, in respect of the owner’s estate, there subsists a bankruptcy order
- where the owner is entitled to possession in his capacity as trustee under a deed of arrangement
- where the owner is a company which is subject to a to a winding-up order made or is being wound up voluntarily
- where the owner is a company in administration
- where the owner is entitled to possession of the property in the capacity of a liquidator
To claim unoccupied property relief, you must inform the Oldham Councils Business Rates Department as soon as the property becomes vacant.
Partly occupied property relief
Partly-occupied properties are not exempt from paying non-domestic rates.
If a property is partly-occupied for a short period of time, we have the discretion to give non-domestic rate relief on the part of the property that is unoccupied.
For example, this could apply if your business is moving, due to practical reasons, into or out of a property, in stages.
If discretionary relief is granted, the rateable value will be recalculated. If applicable, empty property rates will be payable on the unoccupied part and full rates will be payable on the occupied part of the property.
It is not intended that all properties which temporarily become partly occupied should have their liability reduced.
When applying, you will need to provide the following information:
- Address of the property.
- Name of the current owner or leaseholder.
- Date from when it was or will be partly-occupied.
- A plan of the property which identifies the unoccupied area (if available).
- Reasons for the application.
Relief for charities
Registered charities are entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property that is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.
- Mandatory Relief is given at 80% of the bill.
- Oldham Council has the discretion to provide further relief on the remaining bill. The criteria are included in the Council’s Discretionary Rate Relief policy (See below).
- Relief for Non-Profit Organisations
- Non-profit making organisations have no automatic entitlement to rate relief but the Council can decide to grant discretionary relief to non-profit organisations who are philanthropic or religious in nature, or are concerned with education or social welfare.
Relief for Community Amateur Sports Clubs
Registered community amateur sports clubs (CASC) are entitled to 80% Mandatory rate relief. Where the property is occupied by the charity or the club, and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the purposes of the club (or of that and other clubs). Oldham Council has the discretion to provide further relief on the remaining bill. The criteria are included in the Council’s Discretionary Rate Relief policy (See below).
To qualify as a CASC, a sports club must:
- Be open to the whole community
- Be run as an amateur club
- Be a non-profit-making organisation
- Aim to provide facilities for, and encourage people to take part in, eligible sport.
You can find more information about CASCs on the HMRC website:
- Community Amateur Sports Clubs: detailed guidance notes - HMRC website
- Mandatory relief application form
Relief for local newspapers
The Government is providing funding to Local Councils so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year on office space occupied by local newspapers. This was due to run for 2 years from 1st April 2017. At Autumn Budget 2018, the Government extended the scheme for an additional year (2019/20). This scheme provides up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits. The relief will be delivered through Local Authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Eligibility criteria for this relief is set out in a guidance note: “The case for a Business Rates relief for local newspapers”, which can be obtained here:
The Council has discretion to award rate relief where a business is experiencing hardship. This relief will only be awarded if it is believed to be in the interest of the Oldham Council’s taxpayers. If your business is suffering hardship that has been caused through exceptional circumstances you may be entitled to relief up to 100%. For further details of how to apply for Hardship Relief please contact, the Oldham Councils Business Rates Department.
Rate relief in rural areas
Certain types of business in rural villages, with a population below 3,000 may qualify for rate relief of 50%.
Businesses that qualify for this relief are:
- The sole general store or food shop in the village (if it has a rateable value of less than £8,500)
- The sole post office in the village (if it has a rateable value of less than £8,500)
- The sole pub in the village provided (if it has a rateable value of less than £12,500)
- The sole petrol station in the village (if it has a rateable value of less than £12,500)
A "food shop" means a trade or business consisting wholly or mainly for the sale by retail of food for human consumption (excluding confectionery and catering). Catering means any supply of food for consumption on the premises on which it is supplied and any supply of hot food for consumption off the premises.
The 2016 Autumn Statement confirmed the doubling of rural rate relief from 50% to 100% from 1 April 2017. Oldham Council will continue to grant 100% rural rate relief to eligible ratepayers from 1 April 2019.
For Oldham, the rural settlements are:
Discretionary rate relief policy
Voluntary, charity or non-profit making organisations
Discretionary rate relief can be applied for by any voluntary, charity or non-profit making organisation which operates within Oldham, is liable for business rates, and provides services which meet the eligibility criteria.
Local Discounts to support business
The Council also has the a general power under the Localism Act 2011 to grant discretionary local discounts to support local business
This document sets out the Council’s policy on the granting and administering of discretionary rate relief.
The award of such discounts is considered likely to amount to state aid. However it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013. The de minimis regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 'de minimis' aid over a rolling three year period. If you are receiving, or have received, any 'de minimis' aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), you should contact the council immediately with details of the aid received.