Am I eligible for relief or reductions?
- Empty properties are exempt from business rates for three months after they become vacant, or six months for industrial premises
- Listed buildings are exempt until they become occupied again
- Buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 are exempt until they are occupied again
If you think your property may be exempt please contact our Council Tax team as soon as possible.
Please note, after the exemption period ends, you will be liable to pay the full rate.
After the initial three or six month rate free period expires, empty property is liable for 100% of the basic occupied business rate unless:
- The rateable value of the property is less than £2,900. From 1 April 2017 the rateable value of the empty property must be less than £2,900 to be exempt
- The owner is prohibited by law from occupying the property or allowing it to be occupied
- The property is kept vacant because of action taken by or on behalf of the Crown, or any other local or public authority, to prohibit occupation of the premises or acquisition of them
- The property is included in the schedule of monuments compiled under s.1 to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979
- The property is the subject of a building preservation notice within the meaning of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 or is included in a list compiled under section 1 of that Act
- The owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person
- One of the following insolvency or debt administration situations exists:
- A bankruptcy order within the meaning of section 381 (2) of the Insolvency Act 1986
- The owner is entitled to possession of the property in his capacity as trustee under a deed of arrangement to which the Deeds of Arrangement Act 1914 applies
- The owner is a company subject to a winding-up order made under the Insolvency Act 1986 or which is being wound up voluntarily under that Act
- The owner is entitled to possession of the property in his capacity as liquidator under s112 or s145 of the Insolvency Act 1986
The owner is a company in administration under the Insolvency Act 1986 or is subject to an administration order.
There are also no business rates to pay on an empty property if:
- It is held by a charity and appears likely to be next used for charitable purposes
- It is held by a community amateur sports club and appears likely to be next used for the purposes of the club.
Charity and Registered Community Amateur Sports Club Relief (CASC)
Charities and registered amateur sports clubs can apply for mandatory relief, which can reduce the bill by 80%. We also have powers to remit all or part of the remaining 20% on such properties. You can apply for discretionary relief which may reduce your bill by up to 50%. Bodies that may be considered for discretionary relief include those whose objectives are charitable, philanthropic, religious or educational or those with social welfare, science, literature and fine arts.
Discretionary Rate Relief
The Council reviewed its policy and procedures for awarding Discretionary Rate Relief to Charitable and non-profit organisations in April 2013:
- Relief to be granted at 10% instead of 20% (80% Mandatory relief still applies)
- No relief for shops - except where the profits generated can be shown to be used mainly for the benefit of Hastings residents
- No relief for premises used for warehouse/storage purposes
Community Amateur Sports Clubs:
- Relief to be granted at 10% instead of the 20% (80% Mandatory relief still applies)
- Relief to be granted at 50%
- In addition the council will provide 100% to those organisations in receipt of Community Partnership Funding and where organisations directly save the council money (but not in respect of a charity shop or warehouse).
The following principles and criteria have been adopted in order to guide the determination of all discretionary rate relief applications from 1 April 2013. Applicants also need to show how their current activities meet the corporate objectives. For the purposes of this policy the council's corporate objectives have been summarised as:
- Employment, Economic Growth, Economic Inclusion - services that seek to overcome the barriers that prevent people from participating fully in the workplace. Providing services to people in most need of support to access work and training
- Equality and an Inclusive Supportive Community - Organisations, clubs and societies which provide services and facilities, those which target low income families; work in areas of disadvantage; and demonstrate inclusive practice
Applications must provide details of their activities within the relevant areas and the level of this service provision that directly benefits Hastings residents so that full consideration to the application can be given.
- The organisation must encourage membership from the sections of the community where participation is disproportionately low, (e.g. older people, people with disabilities, unemployed people, black and minority ethnic communities etc.), or the purpose of the organisation being to assist such groups
- In respect of clubs and accessibility, membership must generally be open to all Hastings residents
- Priority for relief will to be given to those organisations where the granting of relief directly saves the Council money, thus freeing up resources to spend elsewhere
- Priority for relief will be given to those organisations or services which provide or enable care and assistance to those in priority need
- The Council will generally only consider providing discretionary rate relief to sports clubs that do not have paid staff (other than coaching staff), and which would not be viable without the relief being granted by the Council. The Council will generally not award relief where there is a bar and staff are paid either in money or kind
The Council will generally not award relief to the following types of organisations:
- Charity shops and shops operated by trading arms of charities - except where the profits generated can be shown to be used mainly for the benefit of the residents of Hastings (in which case discretionary relief will be awarded at 50%)
- Premises mainly used for storage
- Premises used mainly for religious worship
- Overseas Aid organisations
- Administration offices for national charities
- Social Clubs
- Private nurseries, schools, academies, colleges and other educational establishments
New applications for Discretionary Rate Relief
Applications must be made each financial year for this relief. Please use this form for new applications for Discretionary Rate Relief.
Small Business Rate Relief
With effect from 01 April 2017, all rate bills for businesses with rateable values below £51,000 will be calculated using the lower multiplier.
From 01 April 2017, the government have increased the level of relief to 100% for those businesses with rateable values below £12,000, who qualify for the percentage reduction. Tapered relief will apply for all who qualify with rateable values between £12,001 and £15,000 on a sliding scale of between 0% and 100%.
The criteria for the additional percentage reduction, remains unchanged. To qualify a business must:
- Occupy one business property in England with a rateable value below £12,000
- Occupy one business property with a rateable value below £12,000, together with others whose rateable values are each below £2,899 and when added together the total rateable value does not exceed £19,999
Most accounts have this relief applied automatically. Please contact our Council Tax team if you think you may be eligible but have not had the relief applied to your account.
Supporting small businesses
The government has introduced additional support to small businesses. For those businesses that take on an additional property that 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.
In the 2022 autumn statement, the Chancellor announced that the 2023 Supporting Small Business (SSB) scheme would cap bill increases at £600 per year for any business losing eligibility for some or all Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief at the 2023 revaluation. SSB was first introduced at the 2017 revaluation to support ratepayers facing bill increases greater than the Transitional Relief caps due to the loss of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
Supporting Small Business relief will apply to eligible ratepayers for financial years 2023/24 to 2025/26.
Accessing the relief
The SSB relief will be applied automatically to your business rate account if you are eligible.
Who benefits from this scheme?
SSB relief helps ratepayers of occupied properties who lost some or all of their Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief due to a change in their Rateable Value in the 2023 revaluation.
SSB relief limits the increase per year in the bills of these ratepayers to a cash value of £600 per year. The starting amount of your 2022/23 rate bill for this purpose is worked out based on a full year of occupied rates using your circumstances on 31 March 2023, not including discretionary reliefs such as Retail Discount and discretionary top-up Rural Rate Relief.
Ratepayers who qualify for SSB relief in 2023/24 due to receiving the Extension of Transitional Relief and Supporting Small Business Relief in 2022/23 can receive SSB relief for 2023/24 only. All other ratepayers can receive SSB relief from 2023/24 until 2025/26, provided they meet the criteria.
Eligibility for SSB relief is not affected by a change in ratepayer. However, if the property becomes unoccupied, it will not be eligible for SSB relief when it is re-occupied.
While eligible for the SSB relief scheme, those whose 2023 rateable values are £51,000 or more will not be liable to pay the supplement (1.3p) to fund small business rate relief. As with all reliefs, the amount awarded will be recalculated should there be a change of circumstances (such as a change of rateable value).
More information is available in the government's guidance document.
Hastings Borough Council's policy can be found here: Hastings Supporting Small Business relief.pdf
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme
At the Autumn Statement on 17 November 2022 the Chancellor announced the introduction of a new business rates relief scheme for retail, hospitality and leisure properties worth around £2.1 billion in 2023/24.
The 2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief scheme will provide eligible, occupied, retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a 75% relief, up to a cash limit of £110,000 per business.
More information is available in the government's Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme guidance document.
Hastings Borough Council's policy can be found here: Hastings Retail, Hospitality and Leisure scheme policy 2023.pdf.
Heat Networks relief 2023/24
In the Spring Statement 2022, the Chancellor announced that the Heat Network Relief will apply from 01 April 2022 so, for the financial year 2022/23, this relief has been delivered using existing local government discretionary relief powers funded by the government. This approach will be continued, with the relief to be provided through those discretionary relief powers in the financial year 2023/24.
More information is available in the governments Heat Networks relief guidance document.
Hastings Borough Council's policy can be found here: Hastings Heat Network 2023 Rates DRR Policy.
Hardship relief is available to businesses and bodies experiencing particular financial hardship. Almost half of the cost of any Hardship Relief falls directly on local Council Tax payers, with the remainder being borne by Central Government.
In the current economic climate, applications for Hardship Relief can only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
Each case is considered on its own merits, you must make a written request and submit copies of your last two years audited accounts. Please contact our Council Tax team for further details.
Partly Occupied Property Relief
We have the power to issue a request to the Valuation Officer to provide a certificate apportioning the rateable value of a property which is partly occupied 'for a short time only' and which is incapable of being split by the Valuation Office Agency.
The effect of the apportioned values enables a reduction of 100% to be made against the rateable value of the un-occupied part for the first three months for a non industrial property, or six months in the case of an industrial property. Following this period the unoccupied charge is raised.
Please contact our Council Tax team for further details.
Administration of Discounts and Exemptions
As the Billing Authority, we are under a duty to take reasonable steps to ascertain discount and exemption entitlement before calculating the Business rates liability each year.
Changes of address/circumstances
Your bill is calculated on the assumption that your circumstances will remain the same for the whole of the financial year up to the end of March.
If you move or there are any changes, please tell us by completing our online 'moving home form'.