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Reductions and relief

The amount of Business Rates you have to pay could be reduced if you qualify for any one of a variety of reliefs that are available. Some reliefs are mandatory given specific circumstances and others can be awarded at the discretion of St.Helens Council. More information on the reliefs available is contained below.

Business Rates are not payable for the first three months that a property is unoccupied. This is extended to six months for certain industrial properties. After this period, business rates are generally payable in full.

There are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property charge: for example, if a property is a listed building, or if the liable person is the personal representative of a deceased ratepayer, or is the trustee or administrator in insolvency proceedings.

All Empty properties with a rateable value less than £2,900 are currently exempt and pay no empty property rates, even after the first three months have expired.

The appropriate relief will be applied to your bill when you advise the Council that the property has become empty.

Properties under repair

For properties that are vacant and in need of, or undergoing, major repair or alteration the standard unoccupied property relief will still apply. There is no specific relief for such properties. However, the Valuation Office have the powers to reduce the rateable value or remove the property temporarily from the Rating list in such circumstances. You can contact the Valuation Office on 03000 501 501 to discuss the matter.

Please Note: The Business Rates charged, based on the current entry in the list, remain legally payable until an amendment is received from the Valuation Office.

Part Occupied Relief

A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether the property is fully or only partly used. Where a property is only partly occupied for a short time, for example when there are practical difficulties in using the property to its full extent or during phased occupation or vacation, the Council has the discretion to award a temporary reduction for the part that is not in use. The relief will not be applied where ratepayers simply choose not to use part of the premises.

The relief is known as Section 44(a) and can only be awarded for a maximum of 3 months, or 6 months in the case of industrial properties.

In order to apply you must provide the Business Rate Section with full details of:

• the period for which relief is requested
• the reasons for the part occupation
• a plan of the property clearly showing the occupied and unoccupied parts

If, upon the receipt of a written application and a subsequent inspection, the Council is satisfied that the property meets the qualifying criteria then a request may be made to the Valuation Officer for a certificate assessing the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property. On receipt of the certificate the relief will be applied to your account and a revised bill will be issued.

Please Note: Whilst your application is being processed, your business rates remain due and payable as currently billed.

For more information on these reductions you can contact the Business Rates Section on:
01744 675264

Small Business Multiplier

Rate charges for all occupied properties with rateable values up to £51,000 (under £18,000 up to 31 March 2017) will be calculated using the lower small business multiplier (£0.466p in 2017/18 rather than £0.479 standard multiplier).

Small Business Relief

Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) is available to ratepayers who occupy either:

  • One Property, with a rateable value under £15,000 (£12,000 up to 31 March 2017) or
  • One main property, as above, with qualifying additional occupied properties.

To qualify.. 

  • each additional property must have a rateable value of less than £2,900 (£2,600 up to 31 March 2017) and
  • The total rateable value of all the occupied properties, including the main property, must be less than £20,000 (£18,000 up to 31 March 2017).

The relief will be awarded on the larger property only.

Download the SBRR flow chart to see if you may qualify.

Level of Relief

Eligible small businesses occupying properties with rateable values below £12,000 (below £6,000 up to 31 March 2017) get 100% relief and pay no rates at all for the period. Ratepayers with rateable values between £12,000 and £15,000 (£6,000 & £12,000 up to 31 March 2017) receive tapered relief from 100%-0%.

Additional Properties

Businesses that take on an additional property, that would normally result in the loss of SBRR, will be allowed to keep the existing relief for a period of 12 months.

To Apply

To apply for SBRR please contact the Business Rates section on 01744 675264 or download an application form and guidance notes.

Please Note:

Any application for relief prior to 1 April 2012 must have been made by 30 September 2017. Applications for subsequent years relief will be subject of the Statute of Limitation Act 1980 which limits backdating to six years.

There is no requirement to pay a rating agent or external company to make application on your behalf.

If your circumstances change and you may no longer be entitled to the relief then you must notify St.Helens Council Business Rates section immediately on telephone number 01744 675264.

Charities are entitled to relief from their rate bill on any non domestic property providing that the premises are used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes.

Mandatory relief is given at 80% of the bill.

In accordance with section 47, of the Local Government Finance Act 1988,the Council has discretionary powers to grant additional Discretionary Rate Relief as per its current policy.

Certain non-profit making bodies can apply for discretionary relief of up to 100%. This may apply where the main objectives are charitable or otherwise philanthropic or religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts. Relief may also be granted if the property is used mainly for recreation, and all or part of it is occupied for the purposes of a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit.

To enable your application to be assessed, it is important that you clearly demonstrate in your application how your organisation contributes towards the Council’s priorities.

To apply please download a mandatory or discretionary relief form, or contact the Business Rate team on 01744 675264.

Rate Relief for Community Amateur Sports Clubs

A business ratepayer who is a registered community amateur sport club (CASC) is eligible to 80% mandatory relief.

To apply please download a CASC relief form or contact the Business Rate team on 01744 675264.

If your club has not already achieved CASC status and you would like to do so, please contact HM Revenues & Customs for further help and advice.

Once CASC status has been achieved the club may also be eligible for up to a discretionary 20% top up to bring your rate relief up to 100%. To achieve this extra top up you will need to hold Sport England's Clubmark or an equivalent accreditation from your National Governing Body or St.Helens District Sports Council. For further information on this please contact Michaylo Fedyk on 01744 675929 in the Sports Development Team.

Retail Relief

The Government has announced a new relief scheme for retail properties that have a rateable value of below £51,000. Under the scheme, eligible ratepayers will receive a one third discount of their daily chargeable amount.

The definition of retail properties will follow that adopted from the previous retail relief scheme in 2014/16, which is 'occupied premises which are wholly or mainly being used as a shop, restaurant, cafe or drinking establishment' with a number of exclusions.

The relief will have effect for 2019/20 and 2020/21.

** The award of such discounts is considered state aid. However, it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations (1407/2013). The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 ‘de minimis’ aid over a rolling three-year period. If you are receiving, or have received, any ‘de minimis’ aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), you should inform the local authority immediately with details of the aid received.

If you have not automatically been allocated retail relief and you believe that you qualify, please complete and return this application form which includes guidance notes and return to the Business Rate section.

Section 49 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 states that the Local Authority may reduce or remit the whole or part of the rates on a particular premises if :

  • the ratepayer would sustain hardship if the Authority did not do so; and
  • it is reasonable for the Authority to do so having regard to the interests of the persons subject to Council Tax within the Authority.

As the cost of any relief granted needs to be met by the Council Tax payers within the Borough applications will be considered in line with the council's hardship relief policy.

To apply for relief you must provide details in writing of:

  • the assistance you require
  • your business accounts showing that you are in hardship
  • staffing levels of the business
  • reasons for the hardship
  • effect on your business and the community if the relief is not granted
  • your proposals as to how you plan to get out of the situation

Send your application to:

Business Rate Section
Wesley House
Corporation Street
St. Helens
WA10 1HF


Please note: whilst your application is being processed your Business Rates remain legally due and payable as currently billed. You can contact the Business Rate section on 01744 675264 to make alternate arrangements.

St Helens Council will be operating a Discretionary Rate Relief (Revaluation) scheme until 31 March 2021 to support local ratepayers who have experienced large increases in their business rates as a result of the 2017 revaluation.

Applications for support from eligible ratepayers will be considered against the following criteria:

  • The business is liable for business rates within St Helens (and has no more than 10 premises in England which are located outside the borough of St Helens).
  • It is eligible to claim discretionary rate relief and can comply with requirements under State Aid de minimis regulations (EC 1407/2013), which allow businesses to receive up to a maximum of 200,000 euros of ‘de minimis’ aid over a rolling three-year period.
  • The ratepayer has not received relief for the property under the Supporting Small Businesses scheme.
  • There was an increase of at least 5% in the rateable value of the property between 31 March 2017 (the 2010 list) and 1 April 2017 (the 2017 list).
  • There was an increase of at least £500 in the amount of business rates due compared to the previous financial year.

Annual funding for the scheme is limited, and therefore applications could be prioritised based on the following factors:

  • The level of local employment provided by the ratepayer.
  • The ratepayer provides key services: within a local community; to the wider council tax payer; or contributes to the borough’s priorities.

Relief will be awarded for one financial year and be backdated to 1 April in appropriate cases. Ratepayers may need to apply annually should they wish to continue to receive support under this scheme.

If you wish to apply for relief, please complete and return the attached application form to:

St Helens Council, Business Rates, PO Box 10592, Nottingham NG6 6DP

DRR (Revaluation) Application form           

DRR (Revaluation) Policy

The Supporting Small Business Relief scheme helps ratepayers who, as a result of the change in their rateable value at revaluation, are losing some or all of their small business rate relief, and will not see their bill increase by more than £50 per month (£600 per year).

This applies to businesses which:

  • received small business rate relief in the 2016/17 financial year; and
  • saw an increase in their rateable value from April 2017; and
  • had a reduction in their small business rate relief from April 2017; and
  • saw their business rates bill increase by more than £600 per year from April 2017

The scheme will be in place between 2017/18 and 2021/22.

Each year increases in business rates bills for eligible businesses will be capped at £600.

The discount will end when your bill reaches the amount you would have paid without the scheme, or the property becomes vacant.

We identified those ratepayers who were eligible to receive this relief and sent out revised bills for 2017/18 accordingly.

The award of such discounts is considered state aid. However, it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations (1407/2013). The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 ‘de minimis’ aid over a rolling three-year period.

If you are receiving, or have received, any ‘de minimis’ aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), you should inform the local authority immediately with details of the aid received.