These are the explanatory notes to accompany your bill.
National Non-Domestic Rates (widely known as 'business rates') is the way those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. This includes shops, offices, warehouses, cafe's, hotels and many more non-domestic properties.
Under the business rates retention rules the local authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally, in Blackpool this is 49% subject to the rules of tariff and top-up. The money, together with revenue from council tax payers, locally generated income and grants from central government, is used to pay for our local council services and the Lancashire Fire Authority who are partially funded from business rate.
Paying by instalments
Payment of business rate bills is automatically set on a 10-monthly cycle.
However, we do allow payments to be made through 12 monthly instalments on request. We also offer a seasonal payment plan which runs from June to November each year which is available to those with a seasonal income.
The business rates calculation
The amount of business rates you pay is set by others, not Blackpool Council. We simply administer your bill and collect payment from you.
We work out your bill by multiplying the rateable value of your property by the rate poundage, which the government sets in March each year. The rate poundage figure applies to every property in England.
For example, the rate poundage figure for 2022/23 is 51.2p. If your rateable value was £20,000, we would multiply this by 51.2p and the amount you would have to pay for the year would be £10,240.00.
This is not taking any transitional relief into account.
The rateable value
Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. They compile and maintain a full list of all rateable values. This is available on the VOA website.
The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date specified in legislation. For the current rating list, this date was set as 1st April 2015.
The Valuation Office Agency may alter the valuation if circumstances change.
The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can also check and challenge the valuation shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Further information about the grounds on which challenges may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the VOA website.
All non-domestic property rateable values are reassessed at revaluations.
The most recent revaluation is taking place with effect from 1st April 2023. Revaluations ensure that business rates bills are up-to date, more accurately reflect current rental values and relative changes in rents. Frequent revaluations ensure the system continues to be responsive to changing economic conditions. The next revaluation after this is due to be in 2026.
Transitional relief for business rates
Transitional relief is a government scheme which ensures that large increases in rates bills which are due to the revaluation are phased in gradually over a number of years.
At each revaluation, a transitional scheme is introduced to protect the ratepayer from sharp increases in their rates bill. This is because property values, which affect the rental potential of the property and therefore the rateable value on which rate bills are calculated, change a good deal between each revaluation.
Transitional relief is designed to ease the impact of revaluation, by phasing in the changes to the rates bill over a period of time, this helps pay for the limits on increases in bills after a revaluation.
Under the 2023 transitional relief scheme, limits will apply to yearly increases until 31 March 2026.
The transitional arrangements apply only to the bill based on your property at the time of the revaluation. If there are any changes to the rateable value of the property (eg because an extension has been added) after the revaluation date, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of your bill that applies to any increase or decrease in rateable value due to those changes.
Seasonal holiday accommodation
Self-catering accommodation such as holiday homes are liable for business rates where they are available for use by short stay guests for 140 days or more during the year.
If you only use your property during the season, this is taken into account when the rateable value of the property is calculated. There is no extra reduction given during the winter months if you don't open for business.
If you are not sure whether your rateable value has been calculated correctly, please contact the Valuation Office Agency.
Working from home
You may have to pay business rates if you have structurally altered your property to make room for your business. If you are only using a room in your home as an office, you may not be charged for business rates.
Ways to reduce your bill
Depending on individual circumstances, a ratepayer may be eligible for a rate relief (i.e. a reduction in your business rates bill). There are a range of available reliefs. Some of the permanent reliefs are set out below but temporary reliefs are often introduced by the Government at Budgets. Details of reliefs and exemptions are listed here.
Small business rates relief
If a ratepayer’s sole or main property has a rateable value which does not exceed an amount set out in regulations, the ratepayer may receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 100%.
The level of reduction will depend on the rateable value of the property – for example eligible properties below a specified lower threshold will receive 100% relief, and you may receive partial tapered relief up to a specified upper threshold. The relevant thresholds for relief are set out in regulations and can be obtained here.
Generally, this percentage reduction (relief) is only available to ratepayers who occupy either—
(a) one property, or
(b) one main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value which does not exceed the limit set in regulations.
The aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b), must also not exceed an amount set in regulations.
For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, they will be allowed to keep that relief for a fixed additional period. Full details on the relevant limits in relation to second properties and the current period for which a ratepayer may continue to receive relief after taking on an additional property.
Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the local authority by the ratepayer who is in receipt of relief (other changes will be picked up by the local authority). The changes which should be notified are—
(a) the property falls vacant,
(b) the ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property, and
(c) an increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted the relief.
Charity and community amateur sports club relief
Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the club and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the purposes of the club (or of that and other clubs).
Blackpool Council also has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill.
Unoccupied property rate relief
Business rates are generally payable in respect of unoccupied non-domestic property. However, they are generally not payable for the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain other properties (for example industrial premises or listed buildings). Full details on exemptions.
Transitional rate relief
At a revaluation, some ratepayers will see reductions or no change in their bill whereas some ratepayers will see increases. Transitional relief schemes are introduced at each revaluation to help those facing increases. This relief has been funded by limiting the reduction in bills for those who have benefitted from the revaluation. Transitional relief is applied automatically to bills.
Local authorities have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts and to give hardship relief in specific circumstances. Further details are available in our Discretionary Discount Policy [PDF 720KB].
Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS website) and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV website) are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct.
Before you employ a rating adviser or company you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.
Information supplied with demand notices
We have published information relating to the relevant and previous financial years in regard to the gross expenditure of the local authority.