Business Rates - Hardship Relief

The Council has a discretionary power to reduce or remit the amount a business ratepayer is liable to pay if it is satisfied that

  • The ratepayer would sustain hardship if it did not do so, and
  • It is reasonable to do so having regard to the interests of its Council Tax payers.

Hardship relief is available to ratepayers whose circumstances have become so severe that not granting relief may cause unnecessary hardship, either financially or otherwise. It is expected that businesses will take prompt action to mitigate any factors giving rise to hardship, for example seeking business advice, offering discounts and promotions, reviewing pricing, extending the range of stock or services, negotiating with creditors, etc. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that reasonable steps are being taken to alleviate the hardship.

From 1st April 2017, 99% of the cost of any hardship relief granted falls directly on the local Council Tax payers and therefore, the Council must ensure that the granting of any hardship relief benefits the wider community within Sefton as well as the ratepayer concerned.

You will be required to provide the following information to support your application:

  • Full details of why the business is experiencing hardship.
  • A comprehensive recovery action plan outlining how you intend to return the business into profitability and how any discretionary financial support from Sefton Council will help achieve this.
  • The past three years' audited accounts, or, in the case of a new business, an estimate of annual income and expenditure and cash flow forecast for a minimum of the next twelve months.
  • Details of the impact of not granting relief on the business and the local community.
  • Details of additional financial support that you have sought from other sources to alleviate your current hardship.
  • All relevant factors affecting the ability of the business to meet its rate liability.
  • An outline of how the business contributes to the economic growth / regeneration of the local area.
  • A state aid declaration

We may also arrange for one of our inspectors to visit the property.

Each application for hardship relief is considered on its merits in accordance with Government guidelines and European Union requirements with regard to State Aid de minimis limits. State aid rules limits any business to €200,000 of aid over a rolling three year period, further guidance on state aid can be found in the 'related links' section of this page.

Further advice and help for businesses is available at from Invest Sefton, who can be contacted via the 'related links' section of this page.

If you feel that the rateable value of the property is incorrect you can appeal at any time directly to the valuation office. Details of how to do this can be found in the 'How do I appeal?' section on the rateable value page of this website.

Please note whilst your application is being processed, your current rates are due and payable.

Once a decision has been made we will write to you to confirm this. If relief is awarded an amended rates demand will be issued with new payment instructions. This will take account of any payments you have already made.

To apply please complete the application form in the 'Do it online' section of this page.

An application will only be considered when you have fully completed the form and provided all required supporting information and evidence.


Last Updated on 19 February 2019