Exemptions and relief

Advice on claiming these discounts is available free from us. You do not need to employ expensive rating advisors who will usually charge a percentage of any reduction they may secure for you, and in some cases could end up increasing your rates bill.

Small Business Rate Relief

In the 2017 budget, the Government confirmed that there would be amendments to the Small Business Rate Relief scheme (SBRR).

As a result, SBRR is available at 100% for ratepayers occupying single properties with a rateable value up to £12,000. Ratepayers with a rateable value over £12,000, but under £15,000, will receive tapered relief from 100% decreasing to 0%.

The relief is only available to ratepayers with either:
(a) one property, or
(b) one main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have rateable values less than £2,900.

The rateable value of the property mentioned in (a), or the aggregate rateable value of all properties mentioned in (b), must be under £20,000.

From April 2014 however, ratepayers currently receiving SBRR that take on an additional property which would have previously disqualified them from receiving relief, will continue to receive their existing relief for 12 months.

The scheme is funded through a supplement on the rate bills of those businesses not eligible for relief. The supplement is built into the standard Non-Domestic Rating Multiplier. However, ratepayers of eligible business properties with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000, do not have to contribute towards the relief and have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier.

A condition of entitlement to SBRR will be that the ratepayer must notify us of any changes in circumstances, that may affect their entitlement to the relief, within four weeks of the day after the change occurred. This can include:

  • Increases in rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer which is not in the area of the billing authority granting Small Business Rate Relief
  • The ratepayer coming into occupation of any property not mentioned in their application for relief (a new application form will need to be completed).

If these changes result in the ratepayer being no longer eligible for SBRR, it will end from the date of change. If relief is still applicable, it will be reassessed and granted.

If the ratepayer however, is still eligible for relief but did not notify the us of the changes within four weeks from the day following the date of change, relief will not be granted between the date of change and the date the ratepayer notifies us in writing.

For further information or to apply Small Business Rate Relief please complete our SBRR Application Form and e-mail it to businessrates@epsom-ewell.gov.uk.

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Rate relief for charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs)

Occupied properties

Where a non-domestic property is occupied by a charity (or trustees for a charity), and is used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes, the charity or trustees are entitled to mandatory rate relief of 80% of the full rate bill or of the transitional bill where the transitional arrangements apply.

Clubs registered with the Inland Revenue Sports Club Unit as Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) are entitled to the same rate relief as charities.

Unoccupied properties
Mandatory relief may also be granted in respect of unoccupied properties. Where the ratepayer is a charity or trustees of a charity and it appears that when next in use the property will be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes (whether of that charity or of that and other charities), the property is exempt from business rates.

The question of whether an organisation is a charity or not, is usually resolved by reference to the register of charities maintained by the Charity Commissioners. Absence from the register does not mean that an organisation is not a charity, because it may be excepted from the register.

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Discretionary rate relief

The Council can grant discretionary relief to:

  • Registered charities up to 20% (as registered charities organisations are already eligible for 80% rate relief).  Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) that have registered with Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, fall into this category
  • Other charitable organisations or institutions that are not established for profit and whose main objectives are charitable, otherwise philanthropic, religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts (up to 100% at our discretion)
  • Properties occupied by not-for-profit sports, social clubs, societies, or other organisations for the purpose of recreation (up to 100% at our discretion)
  • "Hardship" relief, where the ratepayer is experiencing difficulty paying and it is in the best interest of our Council Tax payers to grant relief (up to 100% at our discretion).

Any award of this relief would come under the scope of State aid. Please see below for more detail in State aid limits.

If you wish to apply for discretionary relief, please contact the business rates team at businessrates@epsom-ewell.gov.uk.

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Transitional relief

The conversion from General Rates to National Non-Domestic Rates in 1990, coupled with the effects of the revaluation that year, meant that many ratepayers faced large increases in their bills and others faced substantial decreases.

The Transitional Relief Scheme was introduced by the Government to soften the impact of these changes by limiting the amount that individual rate bills may increase or decrease year on year, after allowing for inflation. Relief schemes were brought in with effect from 1 April 2000, 1 April 2005 and 1 April 2010 to phase in the effects of the revaluations gradually.

A new scheme has been put in place which will take affect from the 1 April 2017, for the 2017 Revaluation and if you qualify for the relief it will be automatically added to your bill.

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Supporting small businesses relief

This scheme which will run for five years, supports ratepayers who lost all or part of their small business rate relief following the revaluation. If you qualify for this relief, it will be automatically granted and a revised bill will be issued to you by the end of October 2017.

Eligible ratepayers remain in the scheme for either five years or until they reach the bill amount they would have paid without the scheme. Each year your increase, as a result of the revaluation is limited to the greater of:

a) a percentage increase of 5% in 2017/18; 7.5% in 2018/19; 10% in 2019/20; 15% in 2020/21 and 15% in 2021/22 (all plus inflation)  or
b) a cash value of £600 per year (£50 per month).

For the first year of the scheme the increase is taken against the bill for 31 March 2017 after small business rate relief has been applied, if applicable.

All ratepayers losing some or all of their small business rate relief will see the increase in their bill capped at £600 for the first year of the scheme, with a minimum increase of £600 per year thereafter.

Full details of the scheme are available in our supporting small businesses guidance.

Any award of this relief would come under the scope of State aid. Please see below for more detail in State aid limits.

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Retail relief

In January 2020, the Government announced that retail relief would be continued into 2020/21 and the level of relief  will be increased to 50% for eligible retail businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, up to state aid limits. This increase in relief will only apply for 2020/21. This discount will be applied to the bill after the application of any reliefs, excluding any local discounts.


Details of how we will be running the scheme in Epsom & Ewell can be found in our Retail Relief Policy


Pub Discount

In January 2020 the government announced a further relief scheme for ‘Pubs’ for 2020/21 only. £1000 relief will be available for eligible properties which were occupied and had a rateable value of less than £100,000.

This discount will be applied to the bill after the application of any reliefs, excluding any local discounts

The scheme will only be for 2020/21 and details of the qualifying criteria can be found here.

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Local discretionary rate relief

Our local scheme supports eligible ratepayers with a rateable value under £200,000, whose rates have increased above a set percentage, solely as a result of revaluation.

If you qualify for this relief, it will be automatically granted and a revised bill will be issued to you by the end of October 2017. If you think you qualify but have not received a revised bill the end of October, please contact us at that time at businessrates@epsom-ewell.gov.uk

A local discretionary scheme will run for four years, but the amount of funding from Government will reduce considerably each year. The scheme eligibility criteria and awards will be amended to reflect the amount of funding available. Any award is only for the year it is granted in.

Full details of the scheme can be found in our Local discretionary rate relief policy.

Any award of this relief would come under the scope of State aid. Please see below for more detail in State aid limits.

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Other relief

There are a number of other business rates relief which are not applicable in Epsom & Ewell but if you would like further information please visit the GOV.UK website.

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State Aid Limits

European Union competition rules generally prohibit Government subsidies to businesses. Non-domestic rate relief can constitute state aid. Generally speaking, this can apply to all discretionary reliefs for commercial bodies. There is, however a “de minimis” threshold for this of €200,000 for any business over a rolling three year period under EC1407/2013. This is a cumulative figure for all Government grants including business rates relief.

If we award relief that you feel would lead to you exceeding the threshold, you should contact us immediately for the relief to be cancelled.

Further information on State Aid law can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/state-aid

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