There are a number of types of relief available and these are explained in brief below. Further information and application forms for all types of relief are available from the Business Rates Team, who you can contact through Customer Services (link sends e-mail).
Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS)
From 1 April 2008, this replaced Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR).
The Small Business Bonus Scheme provides relief to businesses with properties in Scotland of which the combined rateable value is £18,000 or less. In addition, where the cumulative rateable value of business properties falls between £18,000 and £35,000, the scheme will offer 25% relief to individual properties with a rateable value £18,000 or under.
The exact level of relief therefore depends on:
(i) the total rateable value of all subjects occupied by the rate-payer; and
(ii) whether or not the property is eligible for one of the existing non-discretionary rate reliefs.
Part of the cost of the scheme is met by a supplement added to the rates bills of properties with a rateable value over £35,000 and this is applied to the Rates bill after adjustments for any relief that may apply.
From 1 April 2016 standard empty properties will attract 50% relief for the first 3 months of the property being empty; thereafter the relief will reduce to 10%.
For Industrial empty properties the relief will be 100% for the first 6 months of the property being empty and thereafter will reduce to 10%.
Please note for unoccupied non-industrial property that has been in receipt of unoccupied relief for a period of 3 months or more as at 1 April 2016, and for unoccupied industrial property that has been in receipt of unoccupied relief for a period of 6 months or more as at 1 April 2016 the level of unoccupied relief will change to 10% from 1 April 2016.
Listed buildings, property vested in some types of trustees, or property with a rateable value of £1,700 or less still qualify for full relief.
Charities and Not-For-Profit Organisations
Properties occupied by registered charities or organisations whose main objectives are charitable, or are otherwise philanthropic, religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts may qualify for up to 100% relief. The property must be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.
Properties occupied by sports clubs, organisations registered with the Inland Revenue as Community Amateur Sports Clubs and organisations not established or conducted for profit which are mainly used for recreational purposes may qualify for up to 100% relief. Sports clubs with a license to sell alcohol are also eligible to apply.
Properties for the provision of residential accommodation, training or welfare of disabled persons, persons suffering from illness or the after-care of persons who have been suffering from illness may qualify for up to 100% relief. This does not apply to the provision of medical, surgical or dental treatment. At least 50% of the floor area of the property must be used for one of the qualifying purposes.
In rural settlements, 100% mandatory relief is available for certain qualifying public houses, small hotels, petrol filling stations (with a rateable value of £12,750 or less) and also for certain qualifying small food stores, general stores and Post Offices (with a rateable value of £8,500 or less). The Council also has discretion to award up to 100% relief to other properties, with a rateable value of £17,000 or less, used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community.
This was introduced from 1 April 2013 and has been extended to 31 March 2018. To qualify the property has to have been in receipt of Empty Property Relief for a continuous period of at least 12 months. The Rateable value needs to be under £65,000 and when last occupied the property was used as a shop, office, hotel, public house or restaurant as defined in the regulations regardless of what the intended future use is. No other relief can be awarded on the property when Fresh Start Relief is applicable. Relief is 50% for 12 months.
The relief offered is 15 months of up to 100%. State aid de minimis applies to this relief meaning no business can receive more than 200,000 Euros over a rolling 3 year period. To qualify the property must be entered into the valuation roll between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2018, it must be unoccupied at the time of entry on to the valuation roll and the new entry cannot be as a result of a combination, division, refurbishment or change to an existing entry on the valuation roll. This scheme has been extended to 31 March 2020.
Relief is available for some properties where their 2017/18 rates bill has increased by more than 12.5% (plus inflation) compared to their 2016/17 rates bill. The relief will limit the increase to 14.75% in real terms. Additionally, 50% relief is also available where no rates were payable on 31 March 2017 due to 100% relief being awarded for that day and the rateable value of the property on that day was £10,000 or less.