Are there any reliefs available?

There are various ways in which your business rate bill can be reduced. These include:

Charitable and Discretionary Relief

Charities are entitled to relief on any non-domestic properties, which are used wholly and mainly for charitable purposes. Relief is given at 80% of the rates bill. The Council has discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20% of a charity’s bill on such property and also give relief in respect of property occupied by certain bodies not established or conducted for profit.

Mandatory Relief (Maximum 80%)

Occupiers of the following qualify for mandatory relief:

  • Non domestic properties occupied by a charity or the trustees of a charity where the premises are used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes 
  • Non domestic premises occupied by an organisation, which although not a registered charity, has charitable objectives. A copy of the Articles of Association or the constitution of the organisation must be provided for inspection by the council
  • In the cases of charitable shops, use of the premises must be wholly or mainly for the sale of goods donated to the charity and the proceeds of the sale applied for the purposes of the charity 
  • Non domestic premises occupied by community amateur sports clubs, provided that these clubs are defined and registered with the HM Revenue & Customs. Further information is available on the HM Revenue & Customs website.

Discretionary Relief (Maximum 100%)

The Council has a discretionary power to grant relief from rates in respect of non-domestic premises occupied by one of the following:

  • Non profit organisations whose main objectives are charitable, philanthropic, religious, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts
  • Non profit making organisations occupying premises wholly or mainly for the purposes for recreation
  • Organisations entitled to mandatory relief as set out above.

Each application for discretionary relief is considered on an individual basis. The Executive Member for Finance will take into account the criteria which an organisation must comply with.

More information on Torfaen County Borough Council’s Discretionary Rate Relief Policy and the Welsh Government Non-Domestic Rates Guidance for Charities is available here.

To submit an application, please print off and complete the attached Mandatory/Discretionary Relief Form.

Small Business Rates Relief

A permanent small business rate relief scheme has been introduced in Wales from 1 April 2018. For information on the scheme prior to 1 April 2018 please see the Welsh Government Funded Rates Relief leaflet.

Qualifying businesses

The scheme allows for the following relief:

  • Most occupied properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less are eligible for 100% relief.
  • The rate of relief decreases from 100% to 0% for properties with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000.  Different rules apply to post offices and properties used mainly for child care by registered child care providers.

Post Offices

  • Post Offices (and properties which include a post office) with a rateable value up to £9,000 will receive 100% relief.
  • Post Offices (and properties which include a post office) with a rateable value between £9,001 and £12,000 will receive 50% relief.

Registered Child Care Premises

  • For registered child care premises used mainly for the purposes of child care or day care by a person registered under Part 2 of the Children & Families (Wales) Measure 2010, the rate of relief decreases from 100% to 0% for properties with a rateable value between £6,001 and £20,500.

Small Business Rates for multiple businesses

The new scheme limits the number of properties eligible for relief that meet the rateable value conditions to two per ratepayer in each local authority area. Where a ratepayer is liable for more than two properties, small business rate relief will be awarded to the two properties that ensure a ratepayer receives the maximum relief possible under the scheme.

It is the responsibility of the ratepayer to advise the Council if they are currently receiving Small Business Rate Relief  on more than two properties they are responsible for paying business rates on.

To report a change of circumstances that could affect your eligibility for the relief please contact us.

Eligibility for Relief

To qualify for the relief, all business properties must be wholly occupied. However the following types of properties are not eligible for the relief: 

  • properties occupied by a council, police authority or the Crown; 
  • properties occupied by charities or by registered clubs or by not-for-profit bodies whose main objects are philanthropic or religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts; 
  • beach huts; 
  • advertising rights; 
  • car parks and car parking spaces; 
  • sewage works; 
  • electronic communication stations.

How to apply

If the property you occupy has a rateable value of up to £12,000 small business rate relief is applied automatically to your bill so you do not need to apply.

If you think the property you occupy satisfies the criteria for Registered Child Care premises or a Post Office, please contact us as confirmation in writing is required before the relief can be awarded.

Unoccupied Property Rating

Non domestic properties, which are unoccupied, may be liable for empty property rates. Rates are charged at 100% of the normal liability. Liability begins after the property has been empty for three months, or in the case of factories and warehouses, after the property has been empty for six months. Certain types of unoccupied property are exempt from empty property rates. These include: 

  • Properties with a rateable value of less than £2,600 (from 01/04/11). Prior to this the limit was £15,000 for the period 01/04/09-31/03/10 and £18,000 for the period 01/04/10-31/03/11; 
  • Ancient monuments and listed buildings;
  • Properties which cannot be occupied by law; 
  • Properties where the person entitled to occupy is a liquidator or a trustee in bankruptcy;
  • Properties where the person entitled to occupy is an executor for a deceased person;
  • Properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs if the properties next use is likely to be wholly or mainly for charitable purposes or for the purposes of a sports club;
  • Properties where the person entitled to occupy is an administrator (This came into effect from 01 November 2008).

Transitional Relief

Following the 2017 non-domestic rates revaluation by the Valuation Office Agency, transitional relief will be implemented to support ratepayers whose eligibility for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) will be affected as a result of the revaluation.

The transitional relief scheme will be introduced to assist ratepayers in receipt of SBRR on 31 March 2017, experiencing a reduction in the percentage of SBRR they are entitled to on 1 April 2017, due to increases in their rateable value following the revaluation. The only caveat to this is that the effect of the removal/reduction of the SBRR must see an increase in the bill of over £100.00. If it is less than £100.00 then there will be no entitlement to transition as this is deemed de-minimus.

SBRR will be applied prior to transitional relief. The transitional relief will work by phasing in any resultant increases in liability over a 3 year period (25% of increased liability in year 1, 50% in year 2 and 75% in year 3.

Eligible ratepayers are those:

  • moving from full SBRR to partial SBRR
  • moving from full SBRR to no SBRR
  • moving from partial SBRR to no SBRR
  • staying within partial SBRR but seeing an increase in rateable value

High Street Rate Relief

The Welsh Government has provided funding for a High Street Rates Relief scheme to operate for the financial year 2018-19.

The High Street Rates Relief scheme will provide support to retailers e.g. shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes who fulfil the criteria. Eligible retailers will receive up to £750 off their non-domestic rates bill if they have a rateable value of £50,000 or less in the 2018/19 financial year.

To maximise the amount of support which can be provided and ensure it is targeted at areas and businesses most in need, there will be two tiers of relief available.

The first tier of relief will apply to high street retailers with a rateable value of between £6,001 and £12,000 who are already receiving small business rates relief  or  transitional rates relief or both small business rates relief and transitional relief . They will receive a reduction in their rates bill of up to a maximum of £250.

The second tier of relief will apply to eligible high street retailers with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £50,000 which are experiencing a rates increase from April 1 2017. These ratepayers will receive a reduction in their rates bill of £750.

We will automatically award the relief to the majority of business rates accounts that qualify and a letter together with an amended business rates demand sent advising of the amount awarded. We will write to those companies prior to awarding where we need clarification. However if you think you should qualify for the relief and have not yet received notification please contact us to check your account.

Download a copy of the High Street Rates Relief Guidance here.

State Aid Declaration

Awards such as High Street Rates Relief are required to comply with the EU law on State Aid. This involves returning a State Aid Declaration Form to this authority if you have received any other De Minimis State Aid, including any other High Street Rates Relief granted for premises other than the one in Torfaen confirming that the award of High Street Rates Relief does not exceed the €200,000 that can be received under the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013.  Further information on State Aid law can be found at www.gov.uk/state-aid.

Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Business Rates

Tel: 01495 766125

Email: revenues@torfaen.gov.uk

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