Discounts, exemptions and reliefs

Retail Relief

If you were awarded retail relief in 2020/21 your business rates bill for 2021/22 will include the 100 per cent expanded retail discount as announced by the Chancellor at the budget on 3 March 2021.

Please note, this 100 per cent discount will only apply for three months until 30 June 2021 despite the attached business rates bill showing a 100 per cent discount for the whole financial year.

The Chancellor also announced at the budget, a further 66 per cent discount from 01 July 2021 for the remainder of the 2021-22 financial year for eligible businesses.

Prior to the 100 per cent expanded retail discount ending on 30 June 2021, you will receive a revised business rates bill for the remainder of the 2021-22 financial year. This will include the 66 per cent discount should you be eligible. The instalments will be payable from 01 July 2021 (or if you pay by direct debit on the 15th, instalments will start from 15 July 2021).

The 66 per cent discount applicable from 01 July 2021 is subject to a ‘cash cap’. This means a ratepayer may only receive up to the following cash caps of Expanded Retail Discount in 2021-22, across all of their hereditaments, ignoring any relief for the period before 01 July 2021:

  • £2 million for ratepayers which were mandated by the Government to close their business on 05 January 2021 due to the pandemic
  • £105,000 for all other ratepayers

Further guidance is available at GOV.UK - business rate relief

We may ask you to complete an online form to confirm you do not exceed the cash cap.

If you do not wish to accept the expanded retail discount, you can opt out by emailing business.rates@southampton.gov.uk.

If you will exceed the cash cap by accepting the 66 per cent discount from 01 July 2021, and therefore are not entitled to this discount, please inform us as soon as possible by email to business.rates@southampton.gov.uk.

Unoccupied Property Rating

Business Rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty, or six months in the case of industrial properties. After this period, rates are payable in full. However, there are certain exemptions from the empty charge which include listed buildings and properties with a rateable value of less than £2,900.

Exemptions

The following will remain subject to a zero rate when empty if:

  • The property has a rateable value of less than £2,900
  • Occupation prohibited by law
  • Vacant due to action taken on behalf of the Crown
  • Subject to building preservation notice – listed building
  • Included in schedule of monuments as compiled under Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Areas Act 1979(b)
  • Owner entitled to possession only in his capacity as personal representative of a deceased person
  • In respect of owner’s estate there subsists a bankruptcy order
  • Owner entitled possession as trustee under deed of arrangement
  • Owner is a company subject to winding-up order under the Insolvency Act 1986 or being wound up voluntarily under that act
  • Owner in administration or subject to administration order
  • Owner entitled to possession in capacity as liquidator

Exemption will also be approved where the ratepayer is a charity or trustee for a charity and it appears that when next in use the property will be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.

The same applies where the ratepayer is a registered club and it appears when next in use it will be wholly or mainly used for the purposes of that registered club or clubs.


Partly occupied property relief (section 44a)

A rate payer 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 council has the discretion to ask the valuation officer to apportion the rateable value between the occupied and unoccupied parts, for the current financial year.

This rate relief is intended for properties where there are practical difficulties in occupying or vacating a property in one operation. It is not intended that S44a be used where part of a property is temporarily not used or its use is temporarily reduced i.e. where plant, equipment or machinery remain in it.