Reliefs and exemptions

Temporary reliefs and exemptions

For anticipated new business space development: Business Rate Discount Scheme (BiRDS)

This is a Calderdale specific business rate relief scheme that was launched in July 2015 with the aim of incentivising and enabling the construction, extension or improvement of business property, which inherently leads to an increase in Rateable Value. The incentive is 100% relief from the increase in rates payable and can be provided for 12 months from the date when the increase come into effect.

All business types will be considered for a rate discount, although as this is a public sector run scheme consideration will be made of whether granting relief would be in the overall interest of the local community. As it is the property occupier who pays the business rates they are the recipient of the discount, though there is the facility to assign a speculative award to speculative property developers. For an example of an award to a speculative developer see: Open for Business.

This is a discretional scheme and the Council will decide on a case-by-case basis if a discount is assigned but there are some basic criteria that need to be fulfilled including:

  • The construction, extension or improvement of business property takes place.
  • The proposed works result in an increase in business rates payable, above those currently due on the property (As it is only this increase that can be discounted).
  • The rate discount must be necessary to incentivise / enable the property development scheme to proceed.
  • There must be a commitment to occupancy for at least three years.

To proceed with a BiRDS application you must have a meeting with a Calderdale Council Account Manager as they will advise you on your eligibility and provide you with an application form.

Please note this scheme may be withdrawn at any time without prior notification.

For further information please contact:


State Aid 'de minimis' limits

Some financial aid is allowed if the total amount of funding received by an organisation does not cumulatively exceed €200,000 over a three year period under the state aid ‘de minimis’ rules.

For further information, visit: State aid .

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Relief schemes

Important statement about new reliefs available from 1st April 2017:

In his March 2017 budget the Chancellor announced three new schemes of relief to support businesses. Relief will be awarded automatically where possible in all appropriate cases by the end of September 2017. Where relief has not been awarded and you believe that you are entitled, you will need to complete a downloadable application and return it to the Business Rates team as soon as possible for consideration. The three schemes are:

  • Supporting Small Businesses;
  • Public House Relief; and
  • Revaluation Relief


Small Business Rate Relief

From 1st April 2017

At Budget 2016, the Government confirmed that the doubling of the Small Business Rate Relief for qualifying properties would become permanent from 1st April 2017. Also, the threshold for qualifying for 100% relief would be increased from £6,000 RV to £12,000 RV. At the same time, the threshold for tapered relief was extended from £12,000 to £15,000 RV.

Therefore, qualifying business properties with RVs up to £12,000 will qualify for 100% relief and qualifying businesses with RVs between £12,000 and less than £15,000 will receive tapered relief. The taper will operate by reducing relief by approximately 1% for each additional £30 of RV above £12,000 RV. So, for example, 50% relief would apply for a qualifying property with an RV of £13,500 and 0% relief for a property with an RV of £15,000 or above.

If you occupy a main property with a rateable value of less than £15,000, but also occupy other properties each with rateable values under £2,900 and the total rateable value of all the business properties does not exceed £19,999, relief can still be claimed in respect of the property with the highest rateable value.

The threshold for the standard business rates multiplier will also increase from an RV of £18,000 to £51,000

Small Business Rate Relief 1 April 2012 - 31 March 2017

To be awarded relief with effect from 1st April 2012 does not generally require an application form to be completed. However, any request for backdating will be limited by the effects of the Limitation Act 1980 to 6 years provided that the ratepayer meets the qualifying conditions for the whole of the period.   

Any qualifying business occupying business property within England with an RV less than £12,000 will be entitled to relief.

The rate of relief will decrease from 100% (for qualifying properties with an RV of £6,000 or less) by approximately 1% for each additional £60 RV over the £6,000 RV threshold. Therefore a qualifying property with an RV of £9,000 would be entitled to 50% relief whereas a property with an RV of £12,000 would be entitled to 0%.

Properties with RVs between £12,001 and £17,999 will automatically have their rates calculated using the lower small business non-domestic multiplier but will not qualify for any percentage relief.

Small Business Rate Relief 1 April 2010 – 31 March 2012

To be granted relief for this period, there was a legal requirement to complete an application for relief and there was a deadline for applications of six months after the end of the 2010 rating list, which ended on 31 March 2017. Therefore an application needed to be made by 30th September 2017 and that deadline has now passed, so no application can be made for this period. 

Additional properties

From 1st April 2014, the government has introduced additional support to small businesses that are looking to expand and take on additional business premises. For those businesses that taken on an additional property which would normally result in the loss of small business rate relief on the original property, a ratepayer is allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months. Note that the rates paid on the other property will not receive the relief. Entitlement to relief will cease 12 months after the date of occupation of the additional property.

For more on small business rate relief, visit: Small business rate relief .

If you believe you are entitled to this relief, please complete this form: PDFSmall business rate relief [PDF 72KB] .


Empty Property Rate Exemptions

Empty property rates are payable on most commercial properties by the 'person entitled to possession'. This is usually the leaseholder or tenant if there is one, or the freeholder if not.

For the first 3 months a property is empty no rates are payable. This period is extended to 6 months for property classed as industrial, including factories, warehouses and workshops.

After this, empty rates are charged are 100% of the occupied rate, unless one of the exemptions below applies:

  • Those where the rateable value (RV) is less than:
    • £2,200 from 1st April 2005 to 31st March 2009;
    • £15,000 from 1st April 2009 to 31st March 2010;
    • £18,000 from 1st April 2010 to 31st March 2011;
    • £2,600 from 1st April 2011;
    • £2,900 from 1st April 2017.
  • Properties where occupation is prohibited by law.
  • Properties empty due to action taken by the crown or by any public or local authority, either to prevent occupation or to acquire the property e.g. a compulsory purchase order has been made.
  • Listed buildings or those subject to a preservation order.
  • Properties where the person liable would be so only in his/her capacity as a personal representative of a deceased person, a liquidator or a trustee under a deed of arrangement, properties where the person entitled to possession is the subject of insolvency proceedings, the owner is a company in administration.


For more details, visit: Exempted buildings and empty buildings relief .


Partly Occupied Property Relief (Section 44a)

A ratepayer is usually 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, in certain circumstances, we can apply to the Valuation Office Agency to provide a certificate apportioning the RV between the occupied and unoccupied parts. This is intended to assist phased occupation or phased removal from a property and not in circumstances where part only of a business property is used on a continuous basis. Relief may then be awarded in respect of the part that is not in use. This relief is known as Section 44(a) and can only be awarded for a maximum of 3 months, or 6 months in the case of industrial properties.

If you think you are entitled to relief, please complete and return the application form: PDFApplication for relief for partially occupied properties [PDF 72KB] .


Charity Relief and Registered Community Amateur Sports Club Relief

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% mandatory relief where the property is occupied by the Charity or the Club and is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes or as a registered Community Amateur Sports Club.

If you think you are entitled to relief, please complete and return the application form: PDFCharity rate relief application form [PDF 64KB] .


Relief for Local Newspapers

The Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year for 2 years from 1st April 2017, to office space occupied by local newspapers. This is up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits.

The relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). To see the eligibility criteria and guidance note for this relief, visit: The case for a business rates relief for local newspapers .


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Rate Relief for Businesses in Rural Areas (mandatory and discretionary)

The rural rate relief scheme was introduced to help protect retail outlets and similar services in rural settlements with a population below 3,000.

Under the scheme, the following businesses in designated rural settlements are entitled to 50 % mandatory rate relief.

The sole village shop or post office with an RV of up to £8,500. Shops selling food for human consumption” but excluding confectionery and catering outlets such as takeaways.

The sole public house or petrol filling station with an RV of up to £12,500.

The Government announced at the 2016 Autumn Statement that rural rate relief will double from 50% to 100% from  1 April 2017

As the change will require amendments to primary legislation to allow local authorities to grant 100% mandatory rural rate relief, for the period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, the additional relief will be granted under local discount powers instead.

For further details see  Rural rate relief

Discretionary rural rate relief

The scheme gives the authority the discretion to allow relief for any rural business that is within a designated rural settlement if:

  • The rateable value of the property is £16,500 or less
  • The property is used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community and it would be reasonable to allow relief having regard to the interests of Council Tax payers. This is because the relief is partly funded by Council Tax receipts.

Hardship Relief

The local authority has discretion to give hardship relief in specific circumstances. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.

Transitional Relief

Following the general revaluation of all business property which takes effect from 1 April 2017, the Government has introduced a transitional relief  scheme to reduce the impact of sudden and significant rises in rates bills arising as a result. Changes to rateable values following a revaluation will mean that ratepayers have to pay slightly more or slightly less for their Business Rates.

If, as a result of the most recent revaluation there is a large rise or drop in the rateable value of your property, the increase or decrease in your bill will be phased in over a number of years by adding or deducting a fixed percentage. The figure is then adjusted by the inflation rate for each financial year.

Supporting Small Businesses (SSB)

Relief will be awarded to accounts that meet the government's criteria by the end of September 2017.

There should be no need for you to make application as this will be done automatically in appropriate cases. We will then issue revised bills to affected ratepayers.

The scheme limits the increase in bills in 2017/18 for those ratepayers who have lost some or all of their Small Business Rate Relief or Mandatory Rural Rate Relief as a result of the 2017 national revaluation to a maximum of £600 or the transitional limit for small properties in the main transitional scheme, whichever is the greater.

The limit in 2017/18 s calculated based on the net amount payable at 31st March 2017. This is after Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief has been applied.

Relief will continue to apply in subsequent years until the property reaches the bill that would be payable under the normal chargeable amount calculation, without the SSB scheme being in place.


Public House Relief

This relief (available for 2017/18 only) of up to £1,000, is available to occupied public houses (not empty) with a rateable value of less than £100,000 that satisfy the following criteria:

  • are open to the general public;
  • allow drinking without requiring food to be purchased / consumed;
  • allow free entry other than when occasional entertainment is provided; and
  • permit drinks to be purchased at a bar.

Note: For these purposes, relief is not available to: restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, hotels, snack Bars, guesthouses, boarding houses, sporting venues, music venues, theatres, museums, exhibition halls, cinemas, concert halls and casinos.

The exclusion list is not intended to be exhaustive and it will be for the local authority to determine eligibility where this is unclear.

Where pubs are part of a chain, relief will be available subject to meeting State Aid requirements.

Public Houses considered to be eligible for relief have already been awarded the relief and amended bills issued in those cases.

If you consider that you are entitled to the relief and have not received it, you will need to download and complete a PDFPublic house relief form [PDF 36KB]


Revaluation Relief (West Yorkshire Scheme)

This is a scheme that has been developed by all the West Yorkshire authorities and is being implemented in each authority’s area.

Where possible, relief will be calculated automatically and amended bills issued by the end of September 2017.

The scheme works by applying relief of 50% on any increase in the net rates payable between 2016/17 and 2017/18. this is based on the position at 31st March 2017 compared to 1st April 2017 (after awarding other reliefs i.e. Transitional Relief, Small Business Rate Relief, Supporting Small Businesses Relief, Public House Relief). 

The relief is awarded in respect of properties that are occupied and being used for trading purposes.

Note: The following types of property are excluded from the scheme:

  • properties with a rateable value of £100,000, or more;
  • premises where the net rates payable in 2017/18 is less than the net rates payable in 2016/17 (after applying all available reliefs);
  • empty properties;
  • local authority premises; and
  • premises that are part of a multi-national chain due to State Aid Limits.

If you consider that you are entitled to the relief and have not received it, you will need to download and complete a PDFRevaluation relief application form [PDF 71KB] . Please return the form as soon as possible.


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Flooding: What help is available?

Please see: Advice and support for property owners .