Business rates

These pages provide information on all you need to know about business rates (non-domestic rates).

How to pay your business rates

Non-domestic rates explained

Non-domestic rates or business rates, collected by local authorities, are the way that those who occupy non-domestic properties contribute towards the cost of local services. Authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally, which provide a direct financial incentive to work with local businesses to create a favourable local environment for growth.

The money, together with revenue from council tax payers, the revenue support grant provided by the government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by local authorities in your area. See GOV.UK for further information about the business rates system, including transitional and other reliefs.

About the rateable value

Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). They draw up and maintain a full list of all rateable values. The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on 1 April 2017, this date was set as 1 April 2015.

The valuation officer may alter the value if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can appeal against the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Full details on your rights of appeal are available from the VOA. Your billing authority can only backdate any business rates rebate to the date from which any change to the list is to have effect.

The VOA will continue to fulfil their legal obligations to alter rating assessments if new information comes to light indicating the valuation is inaccurate.

See GOV.UK for further information about the grounds on which appeals may be made and the process for doing so or contact your local valuation office.

How we work out your business rate bill

The local authority works out the business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate multiplier. There are two multipliers: the standard non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The former is higher to pay for small business rate relief. Except in the City of London where special arrangements apply, the Government sets the multipliers for each financial year for the whole of England according to formulae set by legislation.

The current multipliers are available online.

Business rates instalments

Payment of business rate bills is automatically set on a ten-monthly cycle. However, the Government has put in place regulations that allow businesses to require their local authority to enable payments to be made through 12 monthly instalments. If you wish to take up this offer, you should contact us as soon as possible.

The 2017 revaluation and transitional arrangements

All rateable values are reassessed at a general revaluation. The 2017 revaluation takes effect from 1 April 2017. Revaluations make sure each ratepayer pays their fair contribution and no more. It ensures that the share of the national rates bill, paid by any one ratepayer, reflects changes over time in the value of their property relative to others. Revaluation does not raise extra money for Government.

Whilst the 2017 revaluation will not increase the amount of rates collected nationally, within this overall picture, over seven out of ten ratepayers will receive a reduction or no change in their bill and some ratepayers will see increases.

For those that would otherwise see significant increases in their rates liability, the Government has put in place a £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme to limit and phase in changes in rate bills as a result of the 2017 revaluation. To help pay for the limits on increases in bills, there has to be limits on reductions in bills. Under the transitional scheme, limits continue to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount is due (rateable value times the appropriate multiplier). The scheme applies only to the bill based on a property at the time of the revaluation. If there are any changes to the property after 1 April 2017, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of a bill that relates to any increase in rateable value due to those changes. Changes to your bill as a result of other reasons (such as changes to the amount of small business rate relief) are not covered by the transitional arrangements.

The transitional arrangements are applied automatically and are shown on the front of your bill. See the GOV.UK website for further information about transitional arrangements and other reliefs, as well as the 2017 revaluation.

Unoccupied properties

Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period rates are payable in full, unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order. In most cases the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate. If the unoccupied property rate for the financial year has been reduced by order, it will be shown on the front of your bill.

The Government has introduced a temporary measure for unoccupied new builds from October 2013. Unoccupied new builds will be exempt from unoccupied property rates for up to 18 months (up to state aid limits) where the property comes on to the list between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016. The 18 month period includes the initial three or six month exemption and so properties may, if unoccupied, be exempt from non-domestic rates for up to an extra 15 or 12 months.

Partly occupied property relief

A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the local authority has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.

If you wish to apply please see our business rates relief page.

Small business rate relief

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 (and who are not entitled to other mandatory relief or are liable for unoccupied property rates) will have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier.

In addition, generally, if the sole or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value which does not exceed £15,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 100%. For a property with a rateable value of not more than £12,000, the ratepayer will receive a 100% reduction in their rates bill.

Generally, this percentage reduction (relief) is only available to ratepayers who occupy either:

(a) one property, or

(b) one main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value which does not exceed £2,899.

The rateable value of the property mentioned in (a), or the aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b), must not exceed £19,999 outside London or £27,999 in London on each day for which relief is being sought. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable value, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase.

The Government has introduced additional support to small businesses. For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, the Government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.

An application for Small Business Rate Relief is not always required. If you think you meet the eligibility criteria and have not received the relief, complete our business rates enquiry form. Provided the ratepayer continues to satisfy the conditions for relief which apply at the relevant time as regards the property and the ratepayer, they will automatically continue to receive relief in each new valuation period.

Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the local authority by a ratepayer who is in receipt of relief (other changes will be picked up by the local authority). The changes which should be notified are:

(a) the ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property, and

(b) an increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted the relief.

Charity and Community Amateur Sports Club relief

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the club, and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the purposes of the club (or of that and other clubs).

The local authority has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Further details can be found on our charitable/non-profit organisations page.

Local discounts

Local authorities have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts. Further details can be found on our charitable/non-profit organisations page.

Relief for local newspapers

The Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year for two years from 1 April 2017, to 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 relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Eligibility criteria for this relief is set out in a guidance note: “The case for a business rates relief for local newspapers”, which can be obtained on the GOV.UK consultation page.

State aid

The award of a discount for local newspapers is considered likely to amount to state aid. However it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013. The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 'de minimis' aid over a rolling three year period. If you are receiving, or have received, any 'de minimis' aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), you should inform the local authority immediately with details of the aid received.

Hardship relief

The local authority has discretion to give hardship relief in specific circumstances. Further details can be found on our charitable/non-profit organisations page.

Rating advisers

Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV) are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a rating adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.

Information supplied with demand notices

Information relating to the relevant and previous financial years in regard to the gross expenditure of the local authority is available on our budget page. Should a hard copy be required contact us to request.

Open data

Open data is information held by Salford City Council which is freely available to view and be used by the public.

Please use our business rates enquiry form if you need to contact us.

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This page was last updated on 28 April 2017