Explaining Small Business Rates Relief

Harris Lamb’s business rates team is currently working with clients of all sizes to ensure that they receive the relief they are entitled to.

Following the 2015 Budget, George Osborne has confirmed the Government’s commitment to small business through the continuation of the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme.

Ratepayers qualify for small business rates relief if they only use one property, and if it’s Rateable Value is less than £18,000 (£25,500 in greater London).

Qualifying ratepayers will receive 100% relief – an amount doubled from the usual rate of 50% –  until 31 March 2016 on properties with a Rateable Value of £6,000 or less. Qualifying ratepayers occupying premises below this threshold will in effect be exempt from business rates charge.

Andrew Hulbert of the Business rates team said: “This isn’t a steadfast cut-off point –  if a ratepayer’s RV is more than £6,000, the relief is tapered up to a value of £12,000, gradually falling from  100% to 0%. Even if a client doesn’t qualify for tapered rate relief, their business rates may still be calculated using the small business multiplier instead of the standard one.”

And in circumstances where a ratepayer occupies more than one property, rate liability can still be discounted – a small business can still qualify if the Rateable Value of each of its other properties is less than £2,600, as long as the totality of all other properties remain below the threshold.

“As with all things related to Business Rates though, the legislation is not always as straight forward as it should be,” said Andrew. “The ever-stretched Billing Authorities may not apply these relief levels correctly, which is why it’s worth every small business investing in professional support to review their current situation and ascertain if there are further opportunities to make savings.”

The Harris Lamb business rates team can be contacted at andrew.hulbert@harrislamb.com for further information and guidance.