Business rates explained

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

Non-domestic rates explained 

Non-domestic rates, or business rates, collected by local authorities are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1 April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. The money, together with revenue from council tax payers, locally generated income and grants from central government, is used to pay for the services provided by local authorities in your area.

How business rates are calculated and collected is explained below and further information can be found on the government website.

There is also a range of reliefs and discounts your business may be eligible to apply for to reduce your business rates liability, these are detailed on our bill reduction page.

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), an agency of His Majesty's Revenue and Customs. They compile and maintain a full list of all rateable values, available on the VOA section on the GOV.UK website. 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 specified in legislation. For the current rating list, this date was set as 1 April 2021.

The Valuation Office Agency may alter the valuation if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can also check and challenge the valuation shown in the list if they believe it is wrong.

Further information about the grounds on which appeals may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the GOV.UK website.

National Non-Domestic Rating Multiplier 

The local authority works out the business rates bill for a property by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate non-domestic multiplier. There are two multipliers: the national non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The Government sets the multipliers for each financial year, except in the City of London where special arrangements apply.

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 will have their bills calculated using the small business non-domestic rating multiplier.

The multiplier for a financial year is based on the previous year’s multiplier adjusted to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figure for the September prior to the billing year. The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.

The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.

View current and historic rating multipliers

Business rates instalments

Payment of business rate bills is automatically set on a 10-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, complete our online request form.

Request to pay over 12 monthly instalments


All non-domestic property rateable values are reassessed at revaluations. The most recent revaluation took effect from 1 April 2023. Revaluations ensure that business rates bills are up-to-date, more accurately reflect current rental values and relative changes in rents. Frequent revaluations ensure the system continues to be responsive to changing economic conditions.

The next revaluation of business rates in England and Wales will be in 2026.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) may request rental information to support this. If you receive a request please complete and submit your up-to-date details. It is important to provide this information to ensure business rates are fair and accurate. You can find more information on GOV.UK.

What happens at revaluation

Subsidy Allowance

The award of a number of discretionary reliefs is considered likely to amount to a subsidy and therefore any award has to comply with current UK Subsidy Control rules.

Please note it is the responsibility of the business, to check that it is eligible, and by the very nature of applying for or accepting a subsidy (such as Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief) you are declaring that the business will not exceed the permitted subsidy allowance threshold. If you have any doubt as to your position, you must seek appropriate advice before applying for or accepting the subsidy as the responsibility lies with the business.

Subsidy Allowance explained

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 Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RCIS) 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 or company 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.

This page was last updated on 27 March 2024

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