Business rates - Coronavirus Information, Local Restriction Support Grant
Here is the latest information about support announced by Government affecting business rates.
Further updates will provided on this web page as soon as possible.
Please check this web page for general information rather than calling us as we are experiencing a high volume of calls.
New - Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG)
This grant scheme supports businesses that were open as usual, providing services in person to customers from their business premises, but were required by law to close for 28 days due to national lockdown restrictions imposed by government.
During the period of 5 November to 2 December 2020, a single grant to cover the 28 day period will be paid to each eligible business.
The grant amounts will be fixed.
Businesses with more than one qualifying property will receive more than one grant.
Fixed Grant amounts
- If your business is eligible and has a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, you will receive a cash grant of £1,334 per 28-day qualifying restriction period.
If your business is eligible and has a property with a rateable value of above £15,000 and below £51,000, you will receive a cash grant of £2,000 per 28-day qualifying period.
If your business is eligible and has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you will receive a cash grant of £3,000 per 28-day qualifying period.
Businesses that are eligible are those that have been mandated to close by Government and include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses.
Your business may be eligible if it:
- Occupies property on which it pays business rates.
Has been required to close because of national restrictions that resulted in a first full day of closure on 5 November 2020.
Has been required to close for 28 days because of the lockdown.
Has been unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises.
- Businesses which are able to continue to operate during the lockdown because they do not depend on providing direct in-person services from their premises.
Businesses that have chosen to close, but have not been required to close by law as part of a national lockdown.
Businesses that have reached the state aid limit.
Businesses that are not the ratepayer.
Businesses that are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking off notice has been made are not eligible for this scheme.
Any changes to the rating list (rateable value or to the hereditament) after the first full day of national restrictions and business closures regulations came into force including changes which have been backdated to this date, will be ignored for the purposes of eligibility.
Isle of Wight Council will not adjust, pay or recover grants where the rating list is subsequently amended retrospectively to the date that national restrictions began. In cases where it was factually clear to the Council on 5 November 2020 that the rating list was inaccurate on that date, the Council may withhold the grant and/or award the grant based on its view of who would have been entitled to the grant had the list been accurate. This is entirely at the discretion of Isle of Wight Council, and is only intended to prevent manifest errors. This discretion cannot and therefore will not be used if it was not factually clear to the Council on 5 November 2020 that the rating list was not accurate.
If you have any questions about the LRSG please contact us using our online send a message to service form.
Eligible: If you feel your business is eligible please complete the online LRSG application form.
You will need your contact details, property business rates reference number and bank account details to complete the form.
Excluded: If you feel your business is excluded you may be able to get support from the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) .
Retail Discount - 100% Relief for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sector
The government announced that the existing one-third retail discount scheme would increase to 50% for 2020/21 and extend to include cinemas and music venues, where the rateable value is less than £51,000. At Budget 2020, to support small businesses affected by COVID-19, it was announced that government would increase the scheme further to 100%, and be extended to include the hospitality and leisure sector. On 17 March 2020, it was announced that the existing retail discount scheme would be extended to 100% and include all properties regardless of the rateable value.
Eligible ratepayers will be:
- shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
- for assembly and leisure
- hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation
Premises which should not receive relief:
- financial services e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short term loan providers
- medical services e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors
- professional services e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers, tutors
- post office sorting offices
In line with the legal restrictions in section 47(8A) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, billing authorities may not grant the discount to themselves, a precepting authority, or a functional body, within the meaning of the Greater London Authority Act 1999.
Current status: The annual bills issued to eligible retailers are now incorrect. Affected business rates accounts will be reassessed and bills reissued as soon as we are able to. Direct debits will be cancelled.
Relief for Pubs - £5000 discount for eligible pubs (now redundant)
A £5,000 discount for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 was announced for the 2020/21 billing year. Due to the extension of the retail discount scheme to include pubs, this relief is now redundant as pubs will be eligible for 100% discount.
Current status: This discount has now been applied to all accounts. If you have not received the discount please contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about Budget 2020
Business Rates Nursery Discount - 100% for child care providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register. On 18 March 2020, in response to the coronavirus, the Government announced that many childcare providers would pay no business rates in 2020/21. This relief will apply to hereditaments occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage and which are subject to business rates in the year 2020/21. There will be no rateable value limit on the relief.
Current status: This discount has now been applied to all accounts. If you have not received the discount please contact the team at email@example.com.
For more information please see our frequently asked questions or view the government advice on financial support for businesses during coronavirus.
Supporting small businesses
The supporting small businesses relief will help those ratepayers who as a result of the change in their rateable value at the revaluation are losing some or all of their small business or rural rate relief and, as a result, are facing large increases in their bills. To support these ratepayers, the supporting small businesses relief will ensure that the increase per year in the bills of these ratepayers is limited to the greater of:
- a cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month)
- the matching cap on increases for small properties in the transitional relief scheme
Mandatory Charity Relief
Section 43 of the Local Government Finance Act1988 allows mandatory relief (80%) to be granted on premises where the ratepayer is a charity or trustees for a charity and the premises are wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes and amended by the Local Government Act 2003 to include Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) which are registered with HMRC as a CASC. These organisations can receive the mandatory (80%) relief - Apply for this relief.
Charitable Discretionary Relief
Charities are entitled to relief from Business Rates on any non-domestic property, which is wholly, or mainly, used for charitable purposes. Where 80% Mandatory Relief has been granted, the Council has the discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20% of a Charity’s bill - Apply for this relief.
The Council has discretion to remit all or part of the bill for certain non-profit making bodies that are not entitled to Mandatory Relief. The Council’s discretionary rate relief policy has been reviewed due to changes in legislation under the Local Government Finance Bill and the Business Rate Retention Scheme which comes into effect from 1st April 2013 - Apply for this relief.
Community amateur sports club
With effect from 1 April 2004 the Charity Commissioners now also recognise most community amateur sports clubs as charitable. Sports clubs will need to be registered with the Inland Revenue and make their facilities available to all members of the public for improving health and fitness. Online services and guidance can be viewed on the Charity Commission website.
Rural Rate Relief
Certain types of properties in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000 may be entitled to relief. The property must be the only general store, the only post office or a food shop and have a rateable value of less than £8,500, or the only public house or the only petrol station and have a rateable value of less than £12,500. The property has to be occupied. An eligible ratepayer is entitled to relief at 50% of the full charge whilst the local authority also has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. The 2016 Autumn Statement confirmed the doubling of rural rate relief from 50% to 100% from 1 April 2017. Local authorities will be expected to use their local discount powers to grant 100% rural rate relief to eligible ratepayers from 1 April 2017 - Apply for this relief.
Localism Rate Relief
Discretionary relief is given at the discretion of the Council and up to 100% can be given to a ratepayer not entitled to mandatory rate relief (Charity or Rural Rate Relief).
The ratepayer must not be an organisation that could receive relief as a non-profit making organisation or as a sports club or similar and the premises and organisation must be of significant benefit to residents of the island.
The premises and organisation must relieve the Isle of Wight Council of providing similar facilities. The ratepayer must:
- occupy the premises (no discretionary rate relief will be granted for unoccupied premises)
- provide facilities to certain priority groups such as elderly, disabled, minority groups, disadvantaged groups
- provide significant employment opportunities to residents on the island or provide the residents of the Island with such services, opportunities or facilities that cannot be obtained locally or are not provided locally by another organisation
- demonstrate that assistance (provided by the discretionary relief) will be for a short time only and that any business / operation is financially viable in the medium and long term
- show that the organisation will comply with all legislative requirements and operate in an ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly manner at all times
Apply for this relief
Section 44A Relief
Where part of a property is unoccupied for a short time, the Council can ask the Valuation Officer to apportion the Rateable Value of the property between the occupied and unoccupied parts. The empty part will receive complete exemption for three months (or six for an industrial property).
After the initial rate-free period expires the occupied business rate will apply to the whole property. If you wish to apply for part unoccupied rates please send an A4 plan of the property as soon as the area has been cleared highlighting the “empty” areas for which relief is requested to the Non-Domestic Rates (Business Rates) - Apply for this relief.
State Aid guidance
Visit the links below for information on guidance:
In very exceptional circumstances the council may remit payment of rates where it is satisfied that the ratepayer would sustain hardship if it did not do so and it is reasonable for it to do so having regard to the interests of its council taxpayers.
Qualifying criteria for Hardship Relief
Hardship Relief may be awarded to a limited company as well as to an individual, or groups of individuals in the case of partnerships. A ratepayer may make application for Hardship Relief whether they are subject to either occupied rates or empty property rates. All relevant factors affecting the ability of a business to meet its liability for rates should be taken into account. The 'interests' of council tax payers may go wider than direct financial interests. For example, where employment prospects in the area would be badly affected by a company going out of business, or where the amenities of an area would be severely affected, for instance, by the closure of the only shop in a village. In order for the council to consider granting hardship relief, an application must be made in writing, including copies of fully audited accounts - Apply for this relief.
View the Discretionary Rate Relief Policy.
To view and download application forms please click on the relevant links below:
Discretionary revaluation relief scheme 2017
As part of his budget in April 2017, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a range of measures to support businesses which had suffered significant increases in their rates bills as a result of the 2017 Revaluation. These measures were in addition to the Transitional Relief Scheme. Learn more about the revaluation. You can also view information on business rate relief - transitional relief scheme. As part of these measures , Isle of Wight Council was allocated £864,000 over four years towards a local Discretionary Relief Scheme as detailed below:
Amount of discretionary fund awarded (£000s)
Relief will only be given to premises which are occupied and to ratepayers who are in occupation at 31 March 2017 and on 1 April 2017. Any ratepayer taking up occupation on or after 1 April 2017 will not be eligible for relief as they would not have experienced rate increases due to a revaluation. Relief will be targeted to local businesses and not those that are national or multi-national in nature. Local businesses are, for the purpose of this scheme, those which have premises wholly in the Councils area. Letters and application forms have been sent to those ratepayers that have been identified with information about the scheme. For more information and details of the scheme please view the Discretionary Rate Relief Policy.
Properties in disrepair
Generally disrepair does not affect the rateable value of properties. The rating system normally treats properties as being in a reasonable state of repair, however there are exceptions. A property might be in disrepair because:
- it has fallen into disrepair over time
- it has been damaged
- it has been vandalised
- there has been a fire or a flood
If work is being undertaken to repair a property and it would be considered economically reasonable then the property is treated as already being in reasonable repair for rating purposes. Depending on the extent of the work being undertaken to improve, extend or enhance a property, it may be that the valuation can be reduced to nil, whilst the works are underway, however the work must be much more than repairs. A reduction will usually be appropriate only when the works are to create a materially different property to the one that currently exists and at the point where the cost to restore the property to its original use is no longer economic in relation to its rateable value. You should contact the Valuation Office as soon as possible and provide all the evidence which supports your view that the property is in a state of substantial disrepair so that the valuation officer can investigate the situation. An inspection by the valuation officer may be required. For further information visit the Valuation Office Agency website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 03000 501 501.