1. Overview

Business rates are charged on most non-domestic properties, like:

  • shops
  • offices
  • pubs
  • warehouses
  • factories
  • holiday rental homes or guest houses

You’ll probably have to pay business rates if you use a building or part of a building for non-domestic purposes.

Business rates are handled differently in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What to pay and when

Your local council will send you a business rates bill in February or March each year. This is for the following tax year. You can also estimate your business rates bill.

Contact your council if you have any questions about your bill, for example you want to pay in instalments.

Contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) instead if you think your property’s ‘rateable value’ is wrong.

Relief schemes

You may be able to get business rates relief from your local council. This is sometimes automatic, but you may need to apply.

The process depends on where you are. Find out about business rates relief in:

Who doesn’t need to pay

You may not have to pay business rates on:

  • farm buildings and land (excluding buildings used as offices or for other business activities)
  • fish farms
  • places of public religious worship, for example registered buildings and church halls (except in Scotland - you apply for relief for these buildings instead of being exempt)
  • buildings used for training or welfare of disabled people (except in Scotland - you apply for relief for these buildings instead of being exempt)

However, there are strict legal requirements for these exemptions.

If you think your business’s property should be exempt you need to appeal to the VOA.