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Relief for non-profit and charity organisations

(including Sports & Recreational Clubs)

Registered Scottish Charities

Where an organisation is a registered Scottish 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.

Other 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.

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.

An example of an equity policy statement can be downloaded here:

Sports Clubs registered as a Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) or Scottish Charity

Sports Clubs registered with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Service (HMRC) as CASCs, or registered as a Scottish Charity, are entitled to 80% mandatory rates relief. The council's discretionary relief policy allows for this relief to be topped up to a maximum of 100%.

South Ayrshire Council's Discretionary Rates Relief Policy

The Council's discretionary policy can be downloaded here:

Application Forms

For charities and non-profit making organisations (other than sports clubs):

For Sports and Recreational organisations and clubs:

Subsidy Control

Any discretionary relief applying to activity not economic in nature is unlikely to be considered as a subsidy and therefore subject to the provisions on subsidy control set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) agreed between the UK and European Union, effective from 1 January 2021.

However, for charity shops and other commercial activity, the Council will have to consider whether this must be awarded with respect to the TCA minimum financial assistance (MFA) criteria. It is therefore important that applicants are aware of this and that this is reflected within the application and award processes - applicants may be required to provide further information before any award can be considered.