Coronavirus – what does it mean for your business rates bill?

On March 11 the Government announced its tax and spending plans for 2020/21 with the addition of a series of temporary rate reliefs and support for businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic. A further series of support was announced on 17 March and is reflected in the FAQs below.

These new measures mean that some business rates bills already sent to businesses for the coming year will need to be corrected and reissued.

We have put together some FAQs for businesses and these will be updated as and when we receive further information from the Government.

What are the new support measures that have been announced?

  • all businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors (including pubs) will pay no business rates in 2020/21. The Government has yet to confirm if state aid rules will apply to this (see more information below on state aid)
  • some nurseries will pay no business rates in 2020/21. The Government has yet to confirm if state aid rules will apply to this (see more information below on state aid)
  • businesses classed as within retail, leisure and hospitality sectors (including pubs) with a rateable value of over £15,000 and under £51,000 will be eligible to apply for a £25,000 grant in 2020/21 in addition to their relief from business rates
  • businesses classed as within retail, leisure and hospitality sectors (including pubs) with a rateable value up to and including £15,000 will be eligible to receive a £10,000 grant in 2020/21 in addition to their relief from business rates
  • businesses who receive small business rates relief will be eligible to apply for a £10,000 grant in 2020/21 on top of their existing relief

My business is classified as retail, leisure or in the hospitality sector (including pubs) will I need to apply for the new 100% rate relief?

  • no, the Council will try to automatically identify your business as an eligible business for the enhanced relief and reissue your business rates bill as soon as we are able to
  • if you believe that your business should qualify but you do not receive a letter by 15 April  you will be able to download an application form from the website to apply. During this application stage you do not have to pay your original business rates bill, however if your application does not fulfil the eligibility criteria you will have to pay the amount stated in your existing business rates bill for 2020/21
  • if you pay business rates on a pub and already receive pub relief this will no longer be applicable as you are entitled to 100% rate relief for 2020/21 under your status as a hospitality business. You do not need to pay any amount stated on your original bill

I run a nursery in the borough, am I eligible for 100% rate relief in 2020/21?

  • premises occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage and which are subject to business rates in the year 2020/21 are eligible for 100% rate relief
  • if your nursery is already in reciept of any other rate reliefs and fulfils the eligibility criteria stated above then you will receive further rate relief for 2020/21 bringing your relief value up to 100%
  • the Council will try and automatically identify your business using the Ofsted Early Years Register so you do not need to apply for this relief, however if you believe that your business should qualify but you do not receive a letter by 15 April you will be able to download an application form from the website to apply. During this application stage you do not have to pay your original business rates bill, however if your application does not fulfil the eligibility criteria you will have to pay the amount stated in your existing business rates bill for 2020/21

I don’t receive small business rates relief is this automatically applied if I am eligible?

If you have not previously received small business rates relief you do have to apply for this. To be eligible you must have a rateable value of less than £15,000 and occupy one property (in some cases businesses can occupy more than one). Apply for the relief.

My business has a rateable value of over £15k but under £51k and is classed as a retail, leisure or hospitality sector (including pubs) how do I apply for the additional £25,000 grant?

The Council will be able to begin processing these grants from 1 April. We will automatically identify eligible businesses and if you pay us by direct debit, we already have your bank account details and your grant payment will be made directly – you do not need to do anything.

However, we will have to collect some further information from you retrospectively. If we do not hold your bank details please complete the grant claim form so we can check your eligibility and process your payment.

Grant form

My business has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 and is classed as a retail, leisure or hospitality (including pubs) how do I apply for the  £10,000 grant?

The Council will be able to begin processing these grants from 1 April. The Council will automatically identify eligible businesses and if you pay us by direct debit, we already have your bank account details and your grant payment will be made directly – you do not need to do anything.

However, we will have to collect some further information from you retrospectively. If we do not hold your bank details please complete the grant claim form so we can check your eligibility and process your payment.

Grant form

I receive small business rates relief how do I apply for the additional £10,000 grant?

The Council will be able to begin processing these grants from 1 April. The Council will automatically identify eligible businesses and if you pay us by direct debit, we already have your bank account details and your grant payment will be made directly – you do not need to do anything.

However, we will have to collect some further information from you retrospectively. If we do not hold your bank details please complete the grant claim form so we can check your eligibility and process your payment.

Grant form

My business is not eligible for any of the new enhanced rate reliefs will my business rates bill be reissued anyway?

No, your bill will remain the same and you must pay in the timeline already set out in your existing 2020/21 business rates bill.

Is there any further support available for my business?

Yes, the Government has announced the launch of a new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, VAT deferments and statutory sick pay reimbursements. To view all support available please visit our business portal where all the latest support information will be available.

State aid information

The award of discretionary reliefs is considered likely to amount to state aid. However, it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013.

The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to EUR 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.

Page updated on: 3 April 2020