Business Rates Relief and Exemptions

As a ratepayer, you may be entitled to a relief or an exemption as long as your business or property meets the qualifying criteria for that relief.
2024/25 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme

The 2024/25 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief scheme will provide eligible, occupied, retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a 75% relief, up to a cash cap limit of £110,000 per business.

For more information and a link to the application form please see our Business Rates Relief 2024/25 page.

Small Business Rate Relief

A ratepayer that occupies a property with a rateable value up to £51,000 will have their business rates liability calculated using the lower rating multiplier (£0.499). 

Qualifying Criteria

In addition to being calculated at the lower multiplier, a further relief can be given for properties with rateable values up to £15,000 if the following criteria are met:

  1. Only occupy one business premises or
  2. One main property and additional properties of rateable value not exceeding £2,899. The rateable value of all liabilities should not exceed £19,999.

The government has introduced an additional support to help small businesses taking on additional business rates premises. If additional premises are taken on, the ratepayer will be allowed to keep the relief on their initial business for a period of 12 months.

If the rateable value is less than £12,000, then the ratepayer maybe entitled to 100% relief. For rateable values between £12,001 and £15,000, the taxpayer may receive a percentage reduction. You can estimate your business rates on the website.

To apply please complete our Small Business Rate Relief online form

Alternatively please call the business rates team on 01279 655261 EXT 7223 , where you can apply for the relief over the phone

Charitable and Discretionary Rate Relief

So that we can process an application for a discretionary relief or a discretionary top-up relief you must provide:

  1. Memorandum and Articles of Association or rules of the Association
  2. Copies of audited or independently examined accounts and balance sheets for the last 2 years
  3. Bar accounts for the last 2 years, where applicable.

These can be uploaded at the end of the application form, be brought into our Wallfields Office or sent via post: 

Council Offices
SG13 8EQ

To find out more please read the Discretionary Rate Relief Policy

For more information please call the business rates team 01279 655261 ext 7223.

Rural Rate Relief

Certain businesses within a rural settlement may be entitled to 100% rural rate relief from 1st April 2023. A rural settlement is an area where the population is below 3,000. The business should be the only post office, food store or general store and have a rateable value less that £8,500. The only pub or petrol station may also apply as long as rateable value is less than £12,500.

Hardship Relief

East Herts council has the discretion to award relief to certain ratepayers who are experiencing hardship. This relief is paid for out of the council funds, so decisions to award this relief should be considered on the basis of community interest. Consideration should be given if it is found that its closure would have an unfavourable effect on the local community. Application must be made in writing and include fully audited accounts.

Transitional Relief 

Commercial properties are to be revalued every 3 years. There has been a revaluation in 2023 and the rateable value is calculated based on rental values as at 1st April 2021. 

The transitional relief scheme is used to limit the increase in rates payable following the revaluation. This relief is automatic and will be applied to you bill if the difference is within the specified percentage.

How much your bill can change by from one year to the next depends on your property's rateable value. You will stop getting transitional relief when your bill reaches the full amount set by a revaluation.

Upwards Caps2023/242024/25 before inflation2025/26 before inflation
Small (RV up to £20,000 or £28,000 in London)5%10%25%
Medium (RV between £20,000 to £100,000)15%25%40%
Large (RV greater than £100,000)30%40%55%

These are year on year caps on increases. Caps are applied before changes in other reliefs and supplements.

If you have received a Transitional Certificate following a change in rateable value, then the transitional certificate value will be used in the business rates calculation for your property instead of the usual rateable value.

For full information please visit business rate relief.

Transitional Certificates

A transitional certificate value may be used in the business rates calculation for your property instead of the usual rateable value.

If you disagree with the value of the certificate, contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

The government has introduced a £1,500 discount for office space occupied by local newspapers, up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament.

Supporting Small Business Relief

This relief will help those ratepayers who are losing some or all of their Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the 2023 revaluation and would otherwise face large increases in their bills. The relief is to ensure that the bill increases no more than £600 per year. 

Charities and Community Amateur Sport Clubs are already entitled to mandatory 80% relief. As such they are not eligible for 2023 Supporting Small Business Relief.

Find out more on GOV.UK

How to apply

Supporting Small Business relief will be automatically applied to the majority of eligible businesses. If you think you’re eligible for relief and it’s not showing on your bill please contact us straight away.

Empty Properties

If a property is empty, the liability to pay the charge is with the ratepayer who is entitled to possession i.e. freeholder, leaseholder or tenant, also referred to as 'The Owner' Depending on the type of property, there will also be a period where no rates are payable.

If a property is continuously empty, for the initial 3 months rates are not payable after which full rates are payable. For industrial properties no rates are payable for the initial 6 months.

Note: If property is occupied for a period of less than 13 weeks, the empty period does not start again.

If a property is only partly occupied for a short period of time, the local authority has the discretion of award a relief on the part that is temporarily unoccupied. Full details can be obtained by contacting the business rates section on 01279 655261 ext 7223

Please see the following table of the possible exemptions available:

Empty property exemptions
Type of propertyPeriod of exemptionQualifying criteria
Listed BuildingIndefinitelyOn Historic England list
Small buildingIndefinitelyRateable value less than 2900
Buildings owned by charitiesIndefinitelyTo be used by charity when next occupied
Empty property3 months 
Empty industrial property6 months 
Occupation prohibited by lawIndefinitelyLegal documentation from Local Authority or Crown prohibiting occupation.

Contact us

Tel: 01279 655261 Ext 7223

Enquire via our online form

Write to:

Business Rates Section
East Herts Council
Pegs Lane
SG13 8EQ