Business rates - reliefs

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The Government has announced 'Local COVID alert level: high' restrictions for Stockton-on-Tees.

For further information about the rules and disruptions to Council services visit

There are a number of reliefs available to non-domestic rate payers which can be applied for and awarded depending on various qualifying conditions.


Small Businesses

From 1st April 2017 eligible business properties with a rateable value of less than £12,000 will get 100% rate relief.

There will be an exact sliding taper for those with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000.

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 and are not entitled to other mandatory relief will have their rates bill calculated using the small business non-domestic rating multiplier (e.g. from 01 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 this is 48.0p instead of 49.3p).

Who will qualify?

Small business rate relief is only available to ratepayers who occupy either:

  • One property or
  • One main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value of less than £2,900 and the total value of all properties is below £20,000.

A qualifying property must be within the thresholds outlined above and must meet the criteria on every chargeable day for which the relief is claimed.

If a ratepayer occupies a second property which affects their entitlement to Small Business Rates Relief they may retain the relief for 12 months on their existing property.

The relief is not available for unoccupied properties.

How to apply

An application for Small Business Rates Relief is not required. Where the ratepayer meets the eligibility criteria and has not received the relief, they can request relief by contacting 01642 397108 or completing the online application:

Apply online for Small Business Rate Relief

Provided that the ratepayer continues to satisfy the condition for relief, they will automatically continue to receive relief in each new valuation period.

Where the ratepayer is an individual as opposed to a company, contact must be made by the ratepayer or business partner. Where the ratepayer is a company, contact must be made by an officer of that company e.g. a director, company secretary or trustee.


Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

There will be a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Bills have been reissued to businesses that meet the new criteria for retail, hospitality and leisure. 


You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

How to access the scheme

There is no need for you to contact Stockton Council.  We have identified the businesses that meet the criteria for retail, hospitality and leisure and have re-issued the business rate bills showing there is nothing to pay for the 2020/2021 financial year. 


Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

The government has introduced a new 100% discount for nurseries for the 2020/2021 financial year.


Guidance suggests properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments:

  • occupied by providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register
  • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

In a similar way to other reliefs (such as charity relief), this is a test on use rather than occupation. Therefore, hereditaments which are occupied but not wholly or mainly used for the qualifying purpose will not qualify for the relief. For the avoidance of doubt, hereditaments which have closed temporarily due to the government’s advice on COVID19 should be treated as occupied for the purposes of this relief.

How to access the scheme

There is no need for you to contact Stockton Council. We have identified the businesses that meet the criteria for nursery discount and have re-issued the business rate bills showing there is nothing to pay for the 2020/2021 financial year.  


Business Rates Revaluation Discretionary Relief Scheme

In the March 2017 Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that £300 million was being made available to support those businesses most affected by increases in their business rates bills as a result of the 2017 revaluation.

The government believes that local authorities are best placed to judge the circumstances of local ratepayers and allocate the funding where it is most needed to support local economies. Therefore, the fund will be allocated to billing authorities who will then administer the support through locally designed discretionary relief schemes.

The £300 million will be allocated over four years and the allocations have been calculated based on the increases in net rateable values locally as a proportion of the increases in bills nationally.

Stockton Council’s allocated funding over the next 4 years is:









No applications will be required. The Council will automatically apply relief where the eligibility criteria are met. This approach to awarding revaluation support has benefits for businesses because they do not need to pay for rating agents to make applications on their behalf.

The following document sets out the Council’s Revaluation Discretionary Relief Scheme for the financial years 2020/2021.


Supporting Small Businesses Relief

This relief is available to ratepayers who have lost some or all of their small business rate relief as a result of an increase in rateable value in the 2017 revaluation. This relief was introduced from 1 April 2017 to help phase-in large percentage increases for those affected.

This scheme limits any increase in business rates to £600 per year and will apply for a maximum of five years. Relief will automatically be applied each year that the business is eligible to receive it; this could be every year for the five years or could end sooner if the bill amount without the relief is reached.

This relief has been automatically applied to eligible businesses and account holders notified.


Charitable and discretionary relief 

Non-profit making organisations are entitled to rate relief on any non-domestic property that is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. Relief is given at 80% off the bill. Local councils also have the discretion to give further relief up to 100%.

The local authority can also consider giving hardship rate relief in very special circumstances, an application form and guidance notes are available.


Enterprise Zone Business Rate Discount

Businesses located within the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone may be entitled to business rates discount of up to €66,666 (approximately £57,000 depending on exchange rates) for up to 5 years. The discount is available on the following Enterprise Zone sites in Stockton:

  • Northshore, Stockton 

Applications for Enterprise Zone Business Rate Discount are assessed against our criteria. For further information contact the Business and Enterprise Team on 01642 528384 or email: [email protected].

Stockton Town Centre Local Business Rates Discount Scheme

Business Rate discounts of 50% for up to 2 years are available to businesses that occupy and trade from a vacant unit within a defined area of Stockton Town Centre.

You will be required to submit an application form and applications will be assessed against our criteria. Please note, you will need to save this form to your PC before completing it electronically.

For more information contact the Business Engagement team.

Telephone: 01642 528384
Email: [email protected]


Rate Relief for Sporting Organisations

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the Charity or Club and is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes or as a Registered Community Amateur Sports Club. The local authority has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill.

Full details can be obtained from our Revenues and Benefits Service (Tel. 01642 397108).


Rural Rate Relief

Certain types of business in rural villages, with a population below 3000 may qualify for rate relief of 100%. Businesses that qualify for this relief are:

  • The sole general store and sole post office in the village, provided it has a rateable value of up to £8,500.
  • Any food shop with a rateable value of up to £8,500; and
  • The sole pub and the sole petrol station in the village provided it has a rateable value of up to £12,500.

Local councils have discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill on such property.

The local council may decide to give up to 100% relief to any other business in such a rural village, with a rateable value of up to £16,500, if it is satisfied that the business is of benefit to the community and having regard to the interests of its council tax payers.

For further information please see the Rural Rate Relief Scheme document.


Unoccupied Property Rating 

Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order.

In most cases the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate. Full details on exemptions can be obtained from Stockton Council's Revenues and Benefits Service. If the unoccupied property rate for the financial year has been reduced by order, it will be shown on the front of your bill.


Partly Occupied Property Relief

A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the local authority has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Full details can be obtained from Stockton Council's Revenues and Benefits Service.


Village Shop Rate Relief Scheme

In accordance with the Local Government and Rating Act 1997 Stockton on Tees Borough Council has compiled a rural settlement list.

The list will be used to assess entitlement to the Village Shop Rate Relief Scheme.

The list and associated documentation are held at Revenues & Benefits Service, Bayheath House, Prince Regent Street, Stockton-on-Tees TS18 1DF and are available for inspection during normal office hours.

If anyone wishes to view or make comment upon the list they can do so at the address shown.

For application forms and further details please contact the Revenues & Benefits Service on 01642 397108 or  email [email protected].


Hardship Relief

The local authority has discretion to give relief in special circumstances. Full details can be obtained from Stockton Council's Revenues and Benefits Service.


Transitional Relief

Following a revaluation, special transitional arrangements are put in place by the Government to phase in significant increases or decreases in rates bills. These set limits on the percentage by which your rates bill can change each year. The transitional amount forms part of the chargeable calculation and is shown on your rates bill.

  Property Size 2017/18 2018/2019 2019/2020 2020/2021 2021/2022
Upward Phasing (RV Increase)

 Small   5.0%   7.5%   10.0%   15.0%   15.0% 
 Medium  12.5%   17.5%   20.0%   25.0%   25.0%
 Large  42.0%   32.0%   49.0%   16.0%   6.0% 
Downward Phasing (RV Decrease)

 Small  20.0%   30.0%   35.0%   55.0%   55.0% 
 Medium  10.0%   15.0%    20.0%   25.0%   25.0% 
 Large  4.1%   4.6%   5.9%   5.8%   4.8% 
NOTE: These are year on year caps on increases. For instance, the maximum increase for small properties over 5 years would be 64%. But a small property with an increase of 7% would reach their full bill in year 2.

Rateable Values;

Small Property - Up to £20,000

Medium Property - £20,000 to £100,000

Large Property - Over £100,000

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