Business rates - reliefs, reductions and exemptions

If you're a small business, charity or sports clubs, or meet other criteria, you can apply for a business rate relief or reduction. Before you can apply for any reliefs/reductions, you must already be registered for Business Rates. You can find your account number, required for the application forms, on your most recent demand notice.

Rating Advisers

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.

We will always try to inform you when any change in legislation impacts on the reliefs and exemptions that are available to your business. This is a free service so please contact us for advice before paying for the services of a Business Rates Consultant.

Small Business Rates Relief

You can get small business rate relief if:

  • your property's rateable value is less than £15,000
  • your business only uses one property - you may still be able to get relief on your main business property if you use more than one premises.

You will not pay business rates on a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

For properties with a rateable value of £12,001 to £15,000, the rate of relief will go down gradually from 100% to 0%.

Small Business Rates relief 2021/2022 (PDF, 634KB)

Find your rateable value from GOV.UK

When you get a second property, you will keep getting any existing relief on your main property for 12 months.

You can still get small business rate relief on your main property after this,  if both the following apply:

  • none of your other properties have a rateable value above £2,899
  • the total rateable value of all your properties is less than £20,000 (£28,000 in London)

If your property in England has a rateable value below £51,000, your bill will be calculated using the small business multiplier, which is lower than the standard one. This is the case even if you do not get small business rate relief.

The small business multiplier is 49.9p and the standard multiplier is 51.2p from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Find and check your business rates valuation - GOV.UK (

Small business rate relief - GOV.UK (

How to apply

Complete the online form;

Apply for Small Business Rates Relief

2023 Supporting small business scheme (SSB)

At the 2022 Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced that the 2023 Supporting Small Business (SSB) scheme will cap bill increases at £600 per year for any business losing eligibility for some or all Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief at the 2023 revaluation.

SSB was first introduced at the 2017 revaluation to support ratepayers facing bill increases greater than the Transitional Relief caps due to loss of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

The 2017 SSB scheme was provided to support small and medium ratepayers who had seen large increases in their bills at the 2017 revaluation. They have, therefore, had 6 years of support to allow them to adjust to their full 2017 bills. Therefore, for those ratepayers receiving 2017 SSB in 2022/23, any eligibility for 2023 SSB will end on 31 March 2024. All other eligible ratepayers remain in 2023 SSB for either 3 years or until they reach the bill they would have paid without the scheme.

You do not need to apply. Relief will be deducted from your bill automatically.

The relief is also considered to be a Government subsidy. The Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance sets a limit of £343,000 (as at 9 December 2021) for each business for the three year period 2021/2022, 2022/2023 and 2023/2024.

You have the option to refuse the relief if you believe that you will exceed the relevant subsidy threshold. If you wish to refuse the relief please email or call 01303 853223.

Visit GOV.UK for further information

Charitable Rate Relief

There are two types of charitable rate relief - mandatory and discretionary. You can get up to 80% relief for mandatory and up to 100% relief for discretionary.

You can apply if you meet any of the following:


  • a property that is in use by a charity or trustees for a charity and is used for charitable purposes
  • amateur community sports clubs can apply for relief if a property is used for charitable purposes
  • an empty property where the ratepayer is a charity or trustee for a charity and the property will be used for charitable purposes when next used will receive 100% relief.


  • the ratepayer is a charity or trustees for a charity and the property will mainly be used for charitable purposes in the future
  • all or part of the property is in use for charitable purposes for one or more non-profit organisations
  • all or part of the property is occupied for the purpose of a non-profit club, society, or other organisation
  • the services provided by the registered charity / amateur sports club are directly for the benefit of taxpayers in the borough

Email business rates to

  • check if you are eligible
  • find out if you can receive top up on the discount to 100%  

If you're not eligible for Charitable Rate Relief you may still be able to get Discretionary Relief if you are a non-profit or voluntary organisation.

Discretionary Rate Relief

If you're applying for Charitable Rate Relief, you may be eligible for Discretionary Rate Relief which can top up the discount by an extra 20%.

The Discretionary rate relief policy is currently under review and is due to be formally scrutinised and adopted after formal decision making processes, which are due to take place in December. The draft policy below is for reference to enable applications to be made. 

Rural Rate Relief

You could get Rural Rate Relief if your business is in a rural area with a population below 3,000. To see if you are in an eligible parish use this Map (PDF, 1.13MB)

You will not pay business rates if your business is in an eligible area and either:

  • the only village shop or post office, with a rateable value of up to £8,500
  • the only public house or petrol station, with a rateable value of up to £12,500

This will be applied automatically. 

Partly Occupied Relief (Section 44a)

Section 44a of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 gives Folkestone & Hythe District Council discretion to award a discount for partially occupied properties, providing the situation only exists for a short period of time.

The situation must be happening at the present time, so retrospective claims cannot be considered.

This is a discretionary power, and we must be satisfied that the property is part occupied before requesting a certificate of apportionment from the Valuation Office Agency.  If the award is agreed, the Valuation Office gives a breakdown of the rateable value for the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property, and Folkestone & Hythe District Council will award either the three month, or for industrial properties six month, exemption to the occupied part only.

In order to apply for S44a relief, the ratepayer must put a request in writing to us including a plan of the property clearly marking the areas that are occupied and unoccupied. A plan will also be required to show how it is intended to bring the unoccupied part back into use and within what timescale.

A visit will then be arranged to view the premises and confirm the details of the plan. If the relief is agreed upon, then a request will be sent to the Valuation Office Agency for a certificate. Once this is received and processed, an amended bill will be sent to the ratepayer reflecting the relief granted.

The relief will end at the expiry the 'short period', depending upon the circumstances of the case, or at the end of the financial year if that is sooner.

Email business rates to apply or find out more visit Part 2: other certificates - Rating Manual section 5: certificates issued by the VOA - Guidance - GOV.UK (

Temporary reliefs 

2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) relief scheme

At Autumn Statement 2022 the Chancellor announced a new business rates relief scheme for retail, hospitality, and leisure properties, worth an estimated £2.1 billion in 2023-24.

The 2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) relief scheme will provide eligible, occupied, retail, hospitality, and leisure properties with 75% relief, up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business.

Under the cash cap, no ratepayer can in any circumstances exceed the £110,000 cash cap across all of their hereditaments in England. Where a ratepayer has a qualifying connection with another ratepayer then those ratepayers should be considered as one ratepayer for the purposes of the cash caps.  

Opting out

You do have the option to opt out of the scheme. Link to opt-out of the support

Exempted Properties

Some properties are exempt from paying business rates.

You may not have to pay business rates on:

  • agricultural land and buildings
  • buildings used for training or welfare of disabled people
  • buildings registered for religious worship or church halls

Empty properties

Properties that are empty are generally exempt from paying business rates for the first three months. If someone becomes legally responsible for the building within this three month period they will only benefit from the exemption until the three months have passed.

The empty rate exemption will be applied for the first three months that the property is empty. If someone purchases the property after three months, and it is still empty, they will not receive this discount.

Some properties can get this extended after the three months:

  • industrial premises (for example, warehouses) are exempt for a further three months
  • listed buildings as long as they are empty
  • buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 as long as they're empty
  • charity or community amateur sports clubs building as long as they're empty and will next be used for the purposes of the charity/CASC

If you're awarded a relief or exemption, we will send you a new bill with the relief or reduction applied.

Visit GOV.UK to find out more.