The Council has the discretion to award relief to charities and other non-profit making organisations.
A non-profit organisation is an organisation that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends.
Charitable organisations, charity shops and registered community amateur sports clubs (CASC’s) already receiving 80% Mandatory relief can apply for further discretionary rate relief on the remaining 20% of the business rates charge.
It is important to note that the Council decides whether relief should be awarded on the circumstances of each application. There is no automatic right to receive relief.
Further information and details on how to make an application can be found on the discretionary rate relief page of this website.
The Government has made available £300million to local authorities over four years from 2017-2018 to provide discretionary rate relief to those ratepayers facing significant increases in their bills as a result of the 2017 revaluation undertaken by the independent Valuation Office Agency.
The Revaluation Relief Scheme is effective from 1 April 2017 and will be provided over 4 years but is cash limited based on funding from central Government. Sefton’s allocation of the Government funding for discretionary rate relief is to be £945,838 spread across the next 4 years.
The assistance will only be provided in relation to Business Rates liability net of other Business Rates reliefs which may apply.
Ratepayers who are identified as eligible for relief will either be awarded relief automatically or be contacted by the Council to invite them to make an online application.
The award of this relief is considered to amount to state aid. However, it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimus Regulations EC 1407/2013. The De Minimus Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 'de minimus' aid over a rolling three-year period.
If you wish to refuse the relief granted as it would be in breach of state aid rules, please complete the State Aid Received Declaration form in the 'Do it online' section of this page.
Further information on state aid can be found on the 'related links' area of this page.
When a property becomes vacant it is exempt from business rates for three months except certain industrial properties which are exempt for six months. At the end of the rate-free period, rates are payable at 100% charge. Empty rate continues to be payable until somebody occupies the property.
It is important to note that the rate-free period applies to the property only. Therefore, if you purchase an empty property you will be immediately liable for empty rates if it has been vacant for more than the rate free period prior to you buying it.
Further information can be found on the empty property rate relief page of this website.
In very exceptional circumstances the Council can use its discretion to award a reduction in your business rates demand on the grounds of hardship. It is important to note that when deciding whether to award relief, the Council takes many factors into account. It is not sufficient that your business is not profitable.
Further information can be found on the hardship relief page of this website.
Charities or trustees of a charity are entitled to an 80% reduction in their business rates if the property they occupy is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.
An organisation that is not registered as a charity may also claim this relief provided it has similar charitable aims.
Further information can be found on the mandatory charity relief page of this website.
If your property is only partly occupied, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) may be able to value the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property separately. The unoccupied part would then be eligible for empty property rate relief.
If the VOA is unable to value the parts separately and the property is to remain partly occupied for a short period of time only, you may be eligible to claim section 44a part occupied relief.
Further information can be found on the part occupied relief page of this website.
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.
From 1st April 2017 an eligible ratepayer is entitled to relief at 100% (previously 50%) of the full charge
Further information can be found on the rural rate relief page of this website.
The Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) scheme is designed to help small businesses reduce their Business Rate demand.
From 1st April 2017 ratepayers who are not entitled to another mandatory relief and who occupy a single property with a rateable value of up to £15,000 are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief. In certain circumstances ratepayers who occupy more than one property may also be eligible for Small Business Rate Relief, although relief will only be applied to the main property.
Businesses which received small business rates relief in 20016/2017 and continue to meet the conditions which apply at the time of the 2017 revaluation will continue to receive small business rates relief automatically. The requirement to notify their billing authority if they are no longer eligible for relief will continue to apply.
The relief does not apply to empty properties.
Further information can be found on the small business rate relief page of this website.
The Supporting Small Business Rate Relief scheme is designed to help small businesses facing an increase in their rate bills following the 2017 revaluation.
Further information can be found on the supporting small business rate relief page on this website.
From 1 April 2017 the Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth £1,500 in year 2017/18 and 2018/19 for office space occupied by local newspapers This is up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 29th October 2018 at the Autumn Budget that the £1,500 business rates discount for office space occupied by local newspapers would be extended to 2019-2020, this has been further extended for an additional 5 years until March 2025.
The relief is to be specifically for local newspapers, what would be considered to be a “traditional local newspaper.” The relief will not be available to magazines.
To qualify the property must be occupied by a local newspaper and wholly or mainly used as office premises for journalists and reporters.
The amount of relief is limited to a maximum of one discount per newspaper title and per property.
Please contact the business rates team on 0151 934 4360 or by email email@example.com if you wish to make an application.
The award of this discount is considered to amount to state aid. However, it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimus Regulations EC 1407/2013. The De Minimus Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 'de minimus' aid over a rolling three year period. As part of the application process ratepayers are required to complete and return a state aid declaration confirming whether they have received any other De Minimis State Aid and to confirm that the award of the relief for local newspapers would not cause the ratepayer to exceed the €200,000 of state aid an undertaking can receive under the De Minimis Regulations. Further information on state aid can be found on the related links area of this page.
In a Written Ministerial Statement on 27 January 2020, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury announced a £1,000 business rate discount for public houses with a rateable value of less than £100,000 for one year from 1 April 2020.
This is in addition to Retail Discount and will be applied after the Retail Discount has been applied. This will be confirmed at the Spring Budget on 11/03/20.
Further information can be found on the pub discount page of this website.
The Government announced in the Budget on 29 October 2018 that local Councils can provide a business rates Retail Discount Scheme for occupied retail properties. The scheme will available to ratepayers of premises with a rateable value of less than £51,000 that are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments. The discount will apply to each of the years 2019-20 and 2020-21.
From 1st April 2020 the Government will increase the retail discount from one-third to fifty per cent and extend the retail discount scheme to include cinemas and music venues.
The value of the discount will be one third of the demand (commonly referred to as the bill), and will be applied after any mandatory or discretionary have been awarded. Where the Council applies a locally funded relief, for example hardship relief, this must be applied after the Retail Discount.
Ratepayers who are identified as eligible for the retail discount will be awarded the discount automatically. If you have not been awarded the discount and think that you may be eligible please contact the Business Rates team on 0151 934 4360 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information can be found on the retail discount scheme page of this website.
The EU State aid rules no longer apply to subsidies granted in the UK following
the end of the transition period, which ended on 31 December 2020. This does
not impact the limited circumstances in which State aid rules still apply under the
Withdrawal Agreement, specifically Article 10 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The United Kingdom remains bound by its international commitments, including
subsidy obligations set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with
On Thursday 4 March new subsidy allowances were established for the COVID-
19 business grants schemes, on the basis of the principles set out in Article 3.4
of the TCA.
There are three subsidy allowances for this scheme set out below: Small
Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance, the COVID-19 Business Grant
Allowance and the COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance.
Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance
Grants may be paid in accordance with Article 3.2(4) of the TCA, which enables
an applicant to receive up to a maximum level of subsidy without engaging
Chapter 3 of the TCA. This allowance is 325,000 Special Drawing Rights, to a
single economic actor over any period of three fiscal years, which is the
equivalent of £335,000 as at 2 March 20211. An applicant may elect not to
receive grants under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and
instead receive grants only using the below allowances available under this
COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance
Where the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance has been reached,
grants may be paid in compliance with the Principles set out in Article 3.4 of the
TCA and in compliance with Article 3.2(3) of the TCA under the COVID-19
Business Grant Allowance (subsidies granted on a temporary basis to respond
to a national or global economic emergency). For the purposes of these scheme
rules, this allowance is £1,600,000 per single economic actor. This allowance
includes any grants previously received under the COVID-19 business grant
schemes and any State aid previously received under Section 3.1 of the
European Commission’s Temporary Framework across any other UK scheme.
This may be combined with the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance
Allowance to equal £1,935,000 (subject to the exact amount applicable under the
Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance using the Special Drawing
COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance
Where an applicant has reached its limit under the Small Amounts of Financial
Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, it may be able
to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to
£9,000,000 per single economic actor, provided the following conditions are
a. The Special Allowance covers only the applicant’s uncovered fixed
costs incurred during the period between 1 March 2020 and 31 March
2022, including such costs incurred in any part of that period (‘eligible
b. Applicants must demonstrate a decline in turnover during the eligible
period of at least 30% compared to the same period in 2019. The
calculation of losses will be based on audited accounts or official
statutory accounts filed at Companies House, or approved accounts
submitted to HMRC which includes information on the applicant’s profit
c. ‘Uncovered fixed costs’ means fixed costs not otherwise covered by
profit, insurance or other subsidies;
d. The grant payment must not exceed 70% of the applicant’s uncovered
fixed costs, except for micro and small enterprises (for the purposes of
this scheme defined as less than 50 employees and less than
£9,000,000 of annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet), where the
grant payment must not exceed 90% of the uncovered fixed costs;
e. Grant payments under this allowance must not exceed £9,000,000 per
single economic actor. This allowance includes any grants previously
received in accordance with Section 3.12 of the European
Commission’s Temporary Framework; all figures used must be gross,
that is, before any deduction of tax or other charge;
f. Grants provided under this allowance shall not be cumulated with other
subsidies for the same costs.
An applicant must be able to provide the necessary documentation to
demonstrate it is eligible for funding under this COVID-19 Business Grant
Grants provided in excess of the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance
Allowance may not be granted to applicants that were defined as an ‘undertaking
in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019.
In derogation to the above, grants can be granted to micro or small enterprises (as defined above) that were already in difficulty on 31 December 2019 provided that they are not subject to collective insolvency proceedings.
Article 10 of the Northern Ireland Protocol
Grants in scope of Article 10 of the Northern Ireland Protocol remain subject to
EU State aid rules, following the end of the Transition Period which ended on 31
December 2020. Article 10 provides that EU State aid rules will continue to apply
to the UK in respect of measures which affect trade in goods and electricity
between Northern Ireland and the European Union.
Grants under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance, the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance and theCOVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance may be combined for a potential total allowance of £10,935,000 (taking into account all grants previously received under the COVID-19 business grants schemes and subject to the exact amount applicable under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance using the Special Drawing Right calculator).en Northern Ireland and the European Union.
Relief from Business Rates
Section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 as amended by Section 69 of the Localism Act 2011 gives the Council a general power having given consideration to the interest of local Council Taxpayers, to award rate relief to any ratepayer. Each case is considered on its own merits and the Council will consider the implications for the economic gain to the Council over the medium term, including business rate income, social value arising from creation of employment and community gain.
Changes in Circumstances
It is important that you tell us about any change in your circumstances that affects your liability to pay rates. This would include:
- A change of address to which your mail is to be sent
- Changes in the leaseholder/owner of a property
- Change in the occupier of the property
- If you vacate the property
- Any change that may affect your entitlement to any rate relief granted
- Any change of use to the property, e.g shop to wine bar
Contact us on 0151 934 4360. If you fail to tell us about such changes, it may result in you being overcharged rates or being sent a large retrospective demand.