Your business rates explained
What are business rates?
National non-domestic rates (also known as business rates) are collected by local authorities and are the business community's contribution towards the cost of local services. The rates are pooled by central government and redistributed to local authorities according to the number of people living in the area.
Each non-domestic property has a rateable value (RV) which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of HM Revenue & Customs. A full list of all rateable values can be found on www.voa.gov.uk. The RV of your property is shown on the front of your rates bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on 1 April 2008.
The valuation officer may alter the RV if the circumstances of the property change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can appeal against the RV if they consider it is incorrect.
Further information about making an appeal can be found on the VOA website, or you can contact the Valuation Office at Rosebery Court, Central Avenue, St Andrew's Business Park, Norwich NR7 0HS. Their helpline telephone number is 03000 501501. Successful appeals against RVs shown in the rating list that came into force on 1 April 2010 will normally be backdated, although there are some exceptions. Further details can be found on the VOA website.
National non-domestic rating multiplier
We work out how much you have to pay by multiplying the RV of your property by the appropriate multiplier. From April 2005, there are two multipliers — the standard and the small business multiplier. The government sets the multipliers each year, amending them in line with inflation. By law, the multipliers cannot increase by more than the rate of inflation, apart from minor adjustments to counteract losses from appeals and, in relation to the standard multiplier, to pay for small business rate relief. The current multipliers are shown on your bill.
Property values can change a great deal between revaluations, which take place every five years. Transitional arrangements help to phase in the effects of these changes by limiting the increases in bills. Any transitional adjustments are shown on your bill. Further information about transitional arrangements and other reliefs may be obtained from Norwich City Council or from www.mybusinessrates.gov.uk.
Empty rate relief
When a property is left empty you may be able to claim a rate-free period of up to three months or six months if it is an industrial property.
Partly occupied property relief
The ratepayer is liable for the full business rates of the property whether it is wholly or partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the council has discretion to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.
Small business rate relief
Small business rate relief is available at 50% for ratepayers occupying single properties with an RV of less than £6,000, with relief reducing on a sliding scale to 0% at RV £12,000.
To qualify, the ratepayer must have:
- only one property in England of RV less than £18,000, or
- one main property and additional properties with RVs of less than £2,600. The total RV must not exceed £18,000.
The scheme is funded through a supplement on the rate bills of businesses not eligible for the relief. The supplement is built into the standard non-domestic rating multiplier. However, ratepayers with RVs of between £12,000 and £17,999 do not contribute and have their bills calculated using the lower small business rating multiplier.
Ratepayers must apply for the relief yearly and must be eligible on 1 April of each year. If a ratepayer ceases to be eligible on a day during the year, the relief will cease on that day. An application for relief must be submitted in writing to the council within six months of the end of the financial year to which it relates.
Click here for an application form for a claim for the period 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2015
Additional relief - 1 October 2010 to 31 March 2013
The Government has announced there will be a temporary increase in the level of small business rate relief. This means that eligible ratepayers will receive 100 per cent relief on properties with rateable values up to £6,000 with a tapered relief of between 100 percent and 0 per cent for properties with rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000. The new levels of relief will be available until 31 March 2013.
Charity and registered community amateur sports club relief
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 council has discretion to give further relief on the remaining balance of the bill.
Non-profit making organisation relief
The council has discretion to give relief to nonprofit making organisations.
The council has discretion to give hardship relief in special circumstances.
Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about the rateable value on their rates bill and appeals can be made free of charge. Ratepayers who wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS www.rics.org) and the Institute of Revenues, Rating & Valuation (IRRV www.irrv.org.uk) are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public. Before employing a rating adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as indemnity insurance. Take care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.
What happens if I don't pay?
We will help where we can if you are having difficulty paying your bill but it is important that you let us know straightaway. If you fall behind with your monthly instalments, we will send you a final reminder. If you do not bring your instalments up to date, you will lose the right to pay by instalments and will have to pay your bill in full.
If you continue not to pay, a summons will be issued and the council will obtain a liability order. This will add costs to your bill. The liability order allows the council to collect the debt from you in a number of ways, including bailiff action, committal to prison proceedings and insolvency.
The consequences of late payment are severe - please get in touch as soon as you experience difficulty paying.
How to pay your business rates
Paying by direct debit
Direct debit is the easiest way to pay. Payments are automatically taken from a bank or building society account each month so no need to worry about remembering to pay the bill. The payment date can be chosen - either on the 1st, 8th, 15th or 28th of each month from April to January. To pay by direct debit you can complete the form below and send it back to us or contact our revenue services on 01603 212898.
Direct debit form (36 Kb pdf)
To pay business rates by debit or credit card over the phone, please call our telephone payments hotline on 01603 212282, 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Payment of business rates and other services can be made online using a debit card or credit card.
Please note: if you are paying your business rates by credit card there will be a 1.884% surcharge.
Click here to make online payments
Paying by cheque
Please send cheques to the revenue services address shown below. All cheques should be made payable to: Norwich City Council and the business rates account number should be written on the back of the cheque (this can be found on the bill).
For more information please contact:
Norwich, NR2 1NH
t: 01603 212898
f: 01603 212905
Minicom: 01603 212587