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Business rates relief

Small Business Rate Relief

You can get small business rate relief if you:

The rateable values of the properties are added together and the relief applied to the main property.

How much you will get

Increased relief between 1 October 2010 and 31 March 2015:

The relief has been doubled by the government.

How to apply

Currently you can apply for small business rate relief at any time during the current valuation period and for a further six months after the end of this period. You can also apply up to 6 months after the date the council is told about a change in the rateable value that means the property would be eligible for relief if this is later.

This means you can still get small business rate relief backdated to 1 April 2010 although if you think you may be eligible you should apply as soon as possible in case the rules change in future.

Download the application for Small Business Rate Relief (PDF 152kb)

Charitable Rate Relief

If your organisation is a Charity, you may apply for Charitable Rate Relief for anything up to 100% of the liability. A written application must be made to the Council. The scheme comprises of two elements:

  1. Mandatory Relief of 80% if the organisation is a charity (registration with the charities commission is proof) and the property is being used for charitable purposes; or
  2. Discretionary Relief to either top up any Mandatory Relief awarded up to an additional 20% or by any amount equal to between 1 and 100% in any other qualifying case.

Download the application form for Charitable Rate Relief (PDF 68kb)

Rate Relief on the grounds of Hardship

If your organisation is suffering from hardship, you may apply for this relief. However, there are very strict criteria that must be complied with and as well as proving hardship, you must also show why it is in the interests of the Council Taxpayer to allow relief.

Download the application form for the Reduction or Remission of Rates (PDF 156kb)

Rural Rate Relief

For Post Offices, general stores, public houses, petrol filling stations and former agricultural premises.

To be eligible, the heriditament must be within the boundaries of a Qualifying Settlement (there is a list of such settlements) and;

  1. have a rateable value of £12,500 or less for a public house or petrol filling station, or £8,500 or less for the other premises;
  2. be used, in whole or in part, as a general store which sells general household goods and food (confectionery and pet food do not count), or post office or both; and, most importantly
  3. be the only general store or post office in the settlement; alternatively
  4. it must be a (pub) premises where a justice on-license is in force; or
  5. it must be a premises where petrol or other automotive fuels are sold retail to the public; and
  6. the whole of the premises must be used as a pub or petrol station and in either case, no other hereditament or part of a hereditament in the settlement concerned is so used.

It is possible that a general store and a post office in the same settlement may both qualify for a mandatory rate relief, provided they both meet the criteria.

The Mandatory Scheme gives 50% relief to sole Post Offices and general stores or former agricultural premises in a qualifying settlement, subject to the above criteria.

The Council has discretion to top-up the 50% relief with further help up to 100% and will consider each claim for the further discretionary relief on its merits.

It is expected that only in exceptional circumstances will discretionary relief be awarded in the excess of 80% of the rates payable.

Download the application form for the Rural Rate Relief Scheme (PDF 156kb)

Rural Rate Relief - other

This relief applies to any other rural business heriditament provided that:

  1. it is the boundaries of a qualifying settlement;
  2. it has a rateable value of £16,500 or less;
  3. it is used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community, and
  4. it is reasonable for the Council to make a decision, having regards to the interests of the council taxpayers

The Council has discretion to award up to 100% relief and each case will be considered on its merits. It is expected that relief will be the exception rather than the rule, as the large majority of businesses will not be eligible.

In Swale, Bapchild has not been included in the areas defined by the Secretary of State for qualification purposes and it is ineligible for rural rate relief.

Empty Property Rates

Non-domestic properties are exempt for the first three months that they are empty and unoccupied. After the first three-months, no extra reduction is given and Business Rates will be charged at 100%.

Industrial properties including factories, stores and warehouses, will be exempt for the first six months that they are empty and unoccupied, before being charged Business Rates at the full 100%.

Certain types of property are exempt from paying empty property rates, these include; listed buildings, land and properties where the owners have gone into liquidation or administration.

The legislation about empty rate has changed for the financial year starting on the 1 April 2011. The rateable value threshold below which empty properties are exempt from rates will revert to £2,600.

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