Business rates discretionary relief policies

Discretionary (charitable) rate relief policy

The purpose of the these guidelines is to set out the circumstances in which the Authority will exercise its discretion to grant Discretionary Rate Relief.

The aim of the scheme is to support local not for profit organisations making a contribution to the local community through:

  • community support
  • voluntary training
  • provision of sports facilities

Applicants need to demonstrate the contribution the organisation makes to the local community. All applications will be considered on their merits. The following criteria highlight the types of local support that the will be considered favourably:

Other business rate discretionary relief

Councils have the discretion to award Local Business Rate Relief of up to 100% of the amount due under section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (as amended). Relief can be awarded in respect of any circumstances it sees fit, having regard to the effect on the Council Tax payers of its area.

This policy sets out the factors that may be taken into account when applications for local Business Rate discretionary discounts are considered. It also provides the ratepayer with review rights when they are dissatisfied with the decision.

The policy applies to all Business Ratepayers who wish to apply for local discretionary relief.

How to claim discretionary relief

  • an application must be in writing (or by email) to the Council and be made by the Ratepayer or by someone authorised to act on their behalf
  • all applications must be supported by sufficient evidence to allow the Council to properly consider the claim. If the Taxpayer refuses to provide the Council with such evidence the application may be treated as incomplete and it will not be processed

How claims will be assessed

The Council will consider awarding a discretionary relief in exceptional circumstances. Each application will be considered on its own merits. The Council may also decide to award relief to certain types of ratepayer. In considering whether to award relief the following will be taken into account:

  • the general effect on the Council Taxpayers in the area
  • details as to how the ratepayer believes that relief would be of benefit generally to the area
  • the financial effect on Council Taxpayers
  • whether all other eligible Business Rate reductions, discounts, exemptions and reliefs have been considered and, where applicable, claimed and awarded

Notification of decisions and awards

Local Business Rate Discretionary Relief may be awarded for any amount (up to 100% of the charge due), for a specific period, for a fixed amount or for an ongoing period of liability. Where the period is ongoing, the award will be subject to regular review. The ratepayer will be notified of the decision as soon as possible after it has been made and any award will be by means of relief being applied to the relevant Business Rate account.

Review of decision

  • where the application is refused the ratepayer will be notified that they can ask for the decision to be reviewed. Any request for a review must be made, in writing or by email, within one calendar month of the decision letter
  • the review will be carried out by a senior officer who was not involved in the original decision with, in exceptional circumstances, the Portfolio holder for Finance. The review will take into consideration any further evidence supplied
  • the only formal appeal process for the ratepayer is via Judicial Review