Help paying business rates (rate relief)

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The Business Rates pages are in the process of being updated after the recent Budget. In the meantime please click here for details of the 2020 Budget

View your Business Rates account online using 'My Services'. Find out more about the 'My Services' account.

We can give discounts (known as business rates relief) on all or part of the bill for properties used by certain non-profit making organisations, in cases of hardship, or where part of a property is beyond use for a certain period. The different discounts are:

 Read more about 'discretionary' relief we can offer and how to apply

You may also be able to appeal against the rateable value of your property

Empty properties

You don’t have to pay business rates on empty buildings for 3 months in the case of non industrial properties and 6 months for industrial properties. After this time, most businesses must pay full business rates. Some properties can get extended empty property relief.

Small business rate relief

From 1 April 2017 ratepayers with properties with rateable values up to £12,000, subject to the rules below, will not have to pay rates.The rate of relief will gradually decrease from 100% to 0% for properties with a rateable value between £12,001 and £15,000.

Ratepayers receiving Small Business Rate Relief that take on an additional property, which could currently disqualify them from receiving relief, will continue to receive their existing relief for 12 months.

For ratepayers with a rateable value between £15,001 and £50,999 the small business rate multiplier will be used to calculate the rates bill.

From 1 April 2017 the criteria for small business rate relief is that you occupy either:

  • One property, or
  • One main property and other individual properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value that does not exceed £2,899

The rateable value of your one property or the sum total of all your properties must not exceed £19,999 on each day you are seeking relief. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable value, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase.

For further information regarding this relief scheme visit business rates relief (

Apply for small business rate relief

We will adjust the business rates payable by all businesses that meet the criteria for small business rate relief, and which occupy properties within the rateable value thresholds set out in the scheme. For those eligible for the full reduction, the instalment plan on the annual bill will show £0.00 to pay from April to the end of the financial billing year. If you have a rateable value over £12,000, the instalment plan will continue to show lower amounts.

If you meet the criteria, you are automatically entitled to receive the reduction in your rates bill. Complete and sign the small business rate relief application form (PDF, 116KB) and return it to the Business Rates Team, The Leicestershire Partnership - revenues and benefits, PO box 10004, Hinckley, Leicestershire, LE10 9EJ.

If your application has been successful you will be sent a revised rates bill(s) or, if unsuccessful, a letter will be issued explaining why your application has been refused.

Simply pay the new instalments on or before the due dates shown on your bill. Current collection and enforcement procedures will continue to apply to ratepayers who miss a scheduled instalment.

Charitable relief

Charities are entitled to 80% relief from rates on any non-domestic property that is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. This can include offices used for the charity's administration.

To qualify for Charitable Rate Relief, the occupier will normally have to be registered as a charity with the Charity Commission.

Some organisations that are exempt from registration may also qualify, for example:

  • Boy Scout and Girl Guide Groups
  • Voluntary aided schools
  • Societies registered under the Friendly Societies Act
  • Church Commissioners.

Some organisations that are not registered charities, but which have been established for charitable purposes may qualify. In these cases we will decide whether or not the organisation can be regarded as a charity. Shops used for fundraising will qualify if the majority of goods sold are donated goods, and the proceeds of the sale are used only for the purposes of the Charity. We also have the discretionary power to grant up to a further 20% relief, which would reduce the rates bill to zero.

From the 1 April 2008, no rates are payable on empty property that is held by a charity if it appears likely that the property will be next used for charitable purposes.

Contact us to request an application form for Mandatory and Discretionary Rate Relief for Charities and kindred organisations.

Rate relief for sports clubs

Amateur sports clubs could be entitled to 80% mandatory relief by registering for Community Amateur Sports Club status.

To qualify as a Community Amateur Sports Club, the club must be:

  • Open to the whole community
  • Run as an amateur club
  • A non-profit-making organisation which aims to provide facilities for, and encourage people to take part in, eligible sport

Clubs that also meet the criteria for discretionary rate relief could also receive a further 20% relief.

Community Amateur Sports Club registered clubs can claim 100% rate relief on unoccupied property if it appears likely that it will next be used for the purposes of the club. Community Amateur Sports Club registration also allows clubs to benefit through Gift Aid donations.

The Inland Revenue provides detailed guidance on the conditions for Community Amateur Sports Club  registration and the application process.

If your sports club already has Community Amateur Sports Club status but you has not yet applied contact our Business rates team for a for mandatory rate relief application form.

Discretionary relief for non-profit-making organisations

Discretionary rate relief is available to certain types of non-profit-making organisations. The relief can be up to 20% if the organisation already receives charitable relief, or up to 100% if only discretionary relief is allowed.

To qualify for this relief the organisation must be non-profit making and it's aims must be either charitable or to promote social welfare (including promoting education, sports, literature, art, recreation and science). Membership of the organisation must be open to all members of the community and equal status must be available to all members. The organisation will normally be expected to make its facilities available to the general public where this is possible.

Please contact the business rates team for an application form for Discretionary Rate Relief.

Discretionary Rate Relief for businesses

Any type of business can apply for discretionary rate relief. However, we will only award relief if:

  • It is in the interests of Council Tax payers
  • The application is in line with criteria set out in the Discretionary Rate Relief Guidelines
  • It is financially viable for the council to do so

Please contact the business rates team for an application form for Discretionary Rate Relief.

Rural rate relief

Certain types of businesses in villages with a population of 3,000 or less may qualify for rate relief of 50% (100% from April 2017).

Businesses that qualify are:

  • The sole general store and the sole Post Office in the village - provided it has a Rateable Value of up to £8,500
  • Any food shop with a Rateable Value of up to £8,500
  • The sole pub and the sole petrol station in the village - provided it has a Rateable Value of up to £12,500

We may decide to give up to 100% relief to any other business in such a village, with a rateable value of up to £16,500 - if we are satisfied the business is of benefit to the community.

Find out more about rural rate relief on the Government's website

Please contact the business rates team for an application form for rural rate relief

Improvement rate relief 

A new relief for qualifying properties where the qualifying improvement works are completed on or after 1st April 2024. If you make certain improvement to your property, you may get relief from higher business rate bills.
The relief is given for 12 months for properties that are occupied and remain occupied for the 12 month period.

You do not need to apply for this relief or do anything differently, the valuation office will calculate it when they are notified about property changes.
If you qualify for the relief, they will notify us and we will:
•    apply the relief to your bill, and
•    send you a revised business rate bill

The scheme will run until 1 April 2029.

Find out more about which improvements are eligible for relief on the government website (GOV.UK) 

If you have questions about a certificate of qualifying works, contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) using the email address on your certificate.

Customer Q&A

What is improvement relief?
Improvement relief supports businesses who have invested in their property. It provides relief from higher business rates bills, where the increase in your bill was due to making certain improvements to your property.
The relief lasts for 12 months from when the improvement were completed.

Who is eligible for improvement relief and do you need to apply?
You do not need to apply for improvement relief or do anything differently. We will apply the relief to your bills if you are eligible. To be eligible for improvement relief, you must:
•    have qualifying improvement works, and
•    meet the occupation condition

Find out more about busines rate relief on the goverment website (GOV.UK)

How improvement relief works
You will receive a certificate from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) if you have qualifying works. The VOA will send the same information to us.
We will apply the relief and send you a revised bill if we are satisfied that you meet the occupation requirements. This means that you have occupied the property during and after the improvement works.

What it means if you have received a certificate from the VOA
If you have received a certificate of qualifying works from the VOA, this means that you may be eligible for improvement relief.

Improvement relief provides relief from higher business rates bills, where the increase in your bill was due to making certain improvements to your property.

The VOA will send this information to the us.

We will apply the relief to your business rates bill if you also meet the occupation condition.

Who to contact if you think your certificate for improvement relief is wrong
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) values qualifying works and issues certificates to ratepayers.

There is no right of appeal against the certified values however, you should let the VOA know if you think there is something wrong with your certificate.

You can contact the VOA using the email address on your letter.

Useful links

GOV.UK: guidance on improvement relief

Business rates relief: Improvement relief

Business rate relief: Types of business rates relief