Business rates reduction
Small Business Bonus Scheme
The Small Business Bonus Scheme has been amended from 1st April 2010 to reflect
the 2010 Revaluation to provide relief to businesses with properties in Scotland
of which the combined rateable value is £18,000 or less.
In addition, where the cumulative value of a businesses’ properties falls between £18,000 and £25,000 (£35,000 from 1 April 2014), the scheme offers 25% relief to individual properties with a rateable of £18,000 or under.
Properties used for payday lending, as defined by the regulations, may not be granted small business bonus scheme rates relief.
|Combined Rateable Value of all business properties in Scotland
||Percentage relief available
|Up to £10,000
|£10,001 to £12,000
|£12,001 to £18,000
|Upper limit for cumulative RV 25,000
Fresh Start Relief
The Fresh Start Relief scheme offers 50% relief for up to 1 year for new occupation of certain retail shop, office, hotel, pubs or restaurant premises
that have been empty for at least a year. The relief can be applied if the following circumstances are all met for the property:
- The property has previously been in receipt of empty property relief for a continuous period of at least 12 months; and
- The property has a rateable value of under £65,000; and
- When last occupied, the property was used as a shop, office, hotel, pub or restaurant (as defined in the Regulations) regardless of what the
intended future use is to be OR where there has not been a last use, that the property is intended to be used as a shop, office, hotel, pubs
Properties used for payday lending, as defined by the regulations, may not be granted fresh start rates relief.
If you wish to apply, please download a Fresh Start Relief application form.
New Start Relief
New Start Relief is offered for new properties built since 1 April 2013 that remain unoccupied. The ratepayer can apply for 100% rate relief for
up to 18 months whilst it is unoccupied. There is no upper rateable value cap for property, but the relief is capped under State aid de minimis
meaning no business can receive more than €200,000 over a rolling 3 year period.
The relief can be applied if the following circumstances are all met for the property:
- The property is entered onto the valuation roll between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017.
- The property is unoccupied at the time of entry on the valuation roll.
- The new entry is not as a result of a combination or division of existing entry on the valuation roll or due to the refurbishment or
change of an existing entry on the valuation roll (including conversion of a domestic property or a property previously exempt from
The relief need not apply to a continuous period, and can apply if the property is unoccupied on or before 31 March 2019.
If you wish to apply, please download a New Start Relief application form.
Empty Property Relief
From 1 April 2016: unoccupied industrial property may be due 100% rates relief for an initial six months period, although thereafter have to pay
90% of the rates liability that would have arisen were the property occupied; unoccupied non-industrial property may be due 50% relief for an
initial three months period, but thereafter have to pay 90% of the rates liability that would have arisen were the property occupied. However
some properties e.g. listed buildings; occupation prohibited by law; property with a rateable values of less than £1,700; are exempt from the
90% empty property rate levy and do not have to pay non-domestic rates at all. All unoccupied properties, other than those that are exempt,
are due a maximum of 10% relief after the initial 3 or 6 month period, paying an empty property rate of 90% of the gross rates charge.
Up until 31 March 2016, all unoccupied property was, for an initial three months period, due 100% relief on the rates liability that would
have arisen were the property occupied, and thereafter liable to pay 90% (the empty rate was 50% prior to 1 April 2013).
Businesses that occupy a property, but only trading on a seasonal basis at certain times of the year, would not qualify for empty property relief.
Part of a property is not being used and is completely unoccupied for a short time
As short term empty property relief is granted at the discretion of the Council,
each Council may have a different policy in place. South Ayrshire Council policy
is to award this relief to former industrial premises only, where the value of the
unoccupied part is greater than 5% of the total rateable value, and for a maximum
period of 3 months per financial year. Download a partly unoccupied property application form.
Mandatory Relief for Registered Charities
Where an organisation is a registered charity and the property occupied by the organisation
is used "wholly or mainly for charitable purposes", there may be an entitlement
to 80% mandatory rates relief. It is not sufficient that a property is owned by
a charity - the Council must determine whether a property is being used "wholly
or mainly for charitable purposes". Charity shops must be able to demonstrate that
they are used wholly or mainly for the sale of donated goods.
Using the discretionary powers available to it, the Council's policy is to top-up
the 80% mandatory relief with a further 20% discretionary relief. Download a mandatory
and discretionary relief application form.
Discretionary Rates Relief - Non-profit Making Organisations
Councils have discretionary powers to grant up to 100% rate relief to non-profit
making organisations, whether they are registered charities or not. To qualify,
an organisation must either be charitable, religious, or concerned with education,
social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts, or the property must be used
by a non-profit-making organisation and used wholly or mainly for the purpose of
recreation (sport). Recreational or sporting organisations licensed to sell alcohol
may also apply for relief, although the amount of relief awarded will reduce proportionally
with respect to bar turnover and catering sales.
At a meeting of the Council's Leadership Panel of 24 September 2008, members approved
a change to the Council's Discretionary rates relief policy. This was necessary
because of the legal obligations imposed on local authorities through the Equality
Act 2006. It was also considered appropriate that any revised policy should accord
with the Council's Gender Equality Scheme.
The Council requires that organisations and clubs demonstrate, through the inclusion
of an equity statement within their constitution and rules, a strong commitment
to equal opportunities for all sectors of the community, ensuring that all participants,
volunteers coaches or parents receive equal treatment regardless of age, gender,
marital status, employment status, social class, colour, race, ethnic or national
origin, religious belief or disability.
Sports Clubs Registered as Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs)
Sports Clubs registered with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Service (HMRC) as
CASCs are entitled to 80% mandatory rates relief. Clubs wishing to apply for this
relief should provide the Council with a copy of their registration certificate.
Providing that this confirms the registration commencement date, no further application
is required. In the event that a club thinks it may be entitled to relief greater
than 80% under the discretionary relief scheme, the appropriate discretionary application
form should be completed.
Rural Rates Relief
Certain types of businesses located within a rural settlement with a population
below 3,000, and in an area designated as rural by Scottish Ministers, may be eligible
for mandatory relief of rates. The types of business that may qualify for this relief,
together with the 1st April 2010 rateable value thresholds, are:
- the only general store or post office with a rateable value of £8,500 or less;
- a food shop with a rateable value of £8,500 or less;
- the only public house/small hotel (with appropriate license), with a rateable value
of £12,750 or less;
- a petrol filling station with a rateable value of £12,750 or less.
These premises are entitled to mandatory 50% rate relief, with councils having discretionary
powers to top up this relief to 100%. The Council's policy is to top-up the 50%
mandatory relief with a further 25% discretionary relief, with the exception of
petrol filling stations, which get an additional 50% discretionary relief.
Councils also have discretionary powers to grant up to 100% rate relief to properties
within a rural settlement with a rateable value of £17,000 or less, used for
purposes that are beneficial to the local community. This relief is currently applicable
to rural schools only.
Download a rural relief application form and information sheet
De-Rating Allowance/Discretionary Rate Relief for Stud Farms
The rateable value of lands and heritages which comprise or include buildings used
for the breeding and/or rearing of horses and occupied with agricultural land or
agricultural buildings should be ascertained by making a deduction from what would
otherwise be the rateable value. The deduction is made from the value of the whole
property by the local assessor to reflect how much of the property is used as a
stud farm. The maximum amount of the deduction the assessor can make is determined
by the Scottish Ministers by order and currently stands at £3,500.
Additionally, stud farms with a rateable value of £7,000 or less, newly established
on or after 1 April 2003, will be able to qualify for discretionary rate relief.
The Council's policy is to award an additional 25% discretionary relief to complement
the de-rating allowance.
To qualify for relief in terms of the Rating (Disabled Persons) Act 1978 the premises
on which relief is claimed must be used wholly or mainly for one of the purposes
specified below or for a purpose ancillary to the purposes specified:
- The provision of residential accommodation for the care or after care of disabled
persons or persons suffering from illness. (Note: that 'care' in this context does
not include the provision of medical, surgical, or dental treatment i.e. hospitals
and clinics are excluded);
- The provision of facilities for training, or keeping suitably occupied, disabled
persons or persons suffering from illness;
- The provision of Welfare Services for disabled persons;
- The provision for disabled persons of facilities for employment or work in terms
of Section 15 of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944;
- The provision of sheltered employment by a local authority in terms of Section 3
(1) of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1958.
This relief is usually awarded to nursing homes, although other types of facilities
associated with the welfare or training of disabled persons may also qualify.
Renewable Enery Generation Relief Scheme
The Non-Domestic Rates (Renewable Energy Generation Relief) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2016 detail a rates relief scheme from 1 April 2016 for
renewable energy producers, replacing the scheme in place since 2010.
The new scheme offers relief to either: renewable energy generation developments with community involvement; or new build renewable generation property.
The Renewable Energy Generation Relief Scheme will provide non-domestic rates relief from 1 April 2016, to renewable energy producers who are solely concerned with
the production of heat or power (or both) from the following sources: biomass; biofuels; fuel cells; photovoltaics; water (including waves and tides, but excluding
production from the pumped storage of water); wind; solar power; geothermal.
The qualifying conditions for the purposes of the scheme is defined as a business owning, leasing or otherwise entitled to occupy one or more business properties in
Scotland, solely concerned with the generation of heat or power (or both) from the sources noted above.
A renewable energy generation project is considered to have community involvement if there are arrangements in place which give to a community organisation (s), in
return for investment in the project by that organisation (s), entitlement to a sum equivalent to:-
- At least 15% of the annual profit of the project; or
- So much of the annual profit of the project as is attributable to 1 megawatt of the total installed capacity of the project (or more).
The level of renewable energy generation rate relief available to community involvement schemes depends on the combined rateable value of your business's eligible
property (or properties), and is set out in the table below:
|Combined Rateable Value of all business properties in Scotland
||Percentage relief available
|Up to £145k
|Up to £430k
|between £430k to £860k
|between £860k to £4m
|greater than £4m
New property built between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017 used solely for the generation of renewable heat and/or power, and which is not part of a community renewables
development, may receive 10% relief if RV is no more than £500,000 and 1.5% if above that figure.
Download a Renewable Energy Generation Rates Relief application form.
Further information can be obtained from the scheme guidance notes.
Enterprise Area Relief Scheme
The Enterprise Area Relief Scheme, as applicable to the Prestwick International
Enterprise Area, may provide non-domestic rates relief from 1 April 2012 for businesses
located within the Enterprise Area who are concerned with the manufacture of aircraft
and spacecraft and related machinery and/or the repair and maintenance of aircraft
and spacecraft. Only new build properties or properties which have been vacant for
at least a three month period prior to occupation by a qualifying business, and
are occupied for the sole or main purpose of the qualifying activity, are eligible
for this relief.
Further information and maps relating to the Prestwick and other Enterprise Areas,
can be obtained at the following website: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Economy/EconomicStrategy/Enterprise-Areas.
As this relief is available by application only, please download and complete an
Enterprise Area Relief Application Form.
Non Domestic (Business) Rates Deferral Scheme 2012-13
The Scottish Government has introduced an opt-in non-domestic (business) rate deferral
scheme for 2012-13. Under this scheme rate paying businesses in Scotland will be
able to defer payment of part of the increase in their 2012-13 business rates bills
as a result of the 5.6% increase in the poundage until 2013-14 and 2014-15. In practice
this deferred amount is equal to 3.2% of the 2012-13 bill, which will be repaid
half in 2013-14 and half in 2014-15.
Further information can be obtained from the Scot Govt Deferral Scheme Leaflet.
As this deferment is available by application only, please download and complete
a Deferral Scheme application form.
Every five years all non-domestic (business) properties are assessed, and given
new rateable values. The latest revaluation came into effect from 1 April 2010 and
all business properties will have had their rateable values reassessed based on
a valuation (tone) date of 1 April 2008.
Unlike previous revaluations, there is no transitional rates relief scheme, which
means that businesses will pay their full rates liability from 1st April 2010, subject
to entitlement to the various other relief schemes available.
Exemption from Rating
Churches, church halls, and other places of worship are entered in the Valuation
Roll but are fully exempt from the payment of rates.