Exemptions and reliefs for business rates

In the autumn statement, the government announced that retail properties which had been unoccupied for more than 12 months which were reoccupied between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016 would only pay 50% business rates for 18 months.

It is for each council to design and adopt its own local scheme, so that they can consider and include its wider objectives for a local area.

To qualify for reoccupation relief

The property must be a retail property which meets the following criteria:

  • The property must have been unoccupied for 12 months or more immediately before reoccupation and when last in use, was a wholly or mainly used for retail.
  • Applications must be received between 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016 in order to qualify, and
  • Meet the qualifying criteria for the relief, and
  • Where the relief awarded to the ratepayer nationally does not breach the State Aid limit of €200,000 over a 3 year period.

The types of property which can qualify for the relief are:

  • Properties being used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public, eg
  • Shops (such as florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, chemists, supermarkets, newsagents)
  • Charity shops
  • Opticians
  • Post offices
  • Furnishing shops/display rooms (such as carpet shops)
  • Car showrooms
  • Second hand car lots
  • Markets
  • Petrol stations
  • Garden centres
  • Craft Shops
  • Art galleries

6. Properties being used for the provision of certain services to visiting members of the public, eg

  • Hair and beauty services (such as hair dressers, nail bars, tanning shops etc)
  • Shoe repairs/key cutting
  • Dry cleaners
  • Launderettes
  • PC/TV/domestic appliance repair
  • Funeral directors
  • Photo processing
  • DVD/video rentals
  • Tool hire
  • Car hire

7. Properties being used for the sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public, eg

  • Restaurants (excluding takeaways - see below for definitions and exclusions)
  • Sandwich shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Pubs
  • Wine bars

This list is not definitive, and other retailers who are of a similar type to those listed above can also qualify for relief.

Properties which do not qualify for reoccupation relief

Financial services

  • Banks
  • Building societies
  • Cash points
  • Bureau de change
  • Payday lenders
  • Betting shops
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Properties that may bring the scheme / area into disrepute

9. Other services

  • Estate agent
  • Letting agents
  • Employment agencies

10. Medical services

  • Vets
  • Dentists
  • Doctors
  • Osteopaths
  • Chiropractors

11. Professional services

  • Solicitors
  • Accountant
  • Insurance agents/financial advisers
  • Tutors

The council will exclude takeaways from obtaining the relief. See below for definitions and exclusions.

The property must be expected to be occupied for a specified minimum period, eg 3 or 6 months, in order to qualify for the reoccupation relief.

Takeaways - definition and exclusions

A takeaway is an establishment where hot food is prepared for consumption elsewhere.

Such establishments, unless they operate a seated service (please see below), will be excluded from obtaining retail rate relief, reoccupation retail relief and local business rate relief.

  • Pizza / pasta
  • Kebabs
  • Burgers
  • Fried or coated chicken
  • Ribs
  • Indian / tandoori
  • Chinese / noodle / wok
  • Thai
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Fish and chips
  • Snack bars / kiosks

The above list is not exhaustive and is cited for illustrative purposes only; other premises being broadly comparable will be treated as such and excluded.

The council (where necessary) will visit to make a determination as to whether a premise will be excluded from obtaining the reliefs.

Premises operating a seated service with table seating of 10 or more will be categorised as a restaurant for the purposes of obtaining any retail rate relief, reoccupation retail relief and local business rate relief.

The above premises remain entitled to any statutory rate reliefs such as small business rate relief.

How to apply

Contact us for an application form for you to complete and email back to us.