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What are business rates?

Business rates is a local tax that is paid by the occupiers of all non-domestic / business property, in the same way that council tax is a tax on domestic property.

Business rates are charged on most business properties such as shops, offices, pubs, warehouses and factories. However, the property doesn't have to be used for a business - if it is used for purposes which are not domestic it is likely to be rateable. We will send you a business rates bill each year.

Roles and responsibilities

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) sets the rateable value of business premises by using property details such as rental information.

We use the rateable value and the business rates multiplier (set by central government) to calculate your business rates bill.

What is the rateable value?

The rateable value is assessed by the VOA, which is an agency of HM Revenue and Customs.

A property's rateable value is an assessment of the annual rent the property would rent for if it were available to let on the open market at a fixed valuation date.

  • Until 31 March 2017, the rateable values will be based on a valuation date of 1 April 2008.
  • From 1 April 2017, the rateable values will be based on the valuation date of 1 April 2015.

If you think your rateable value is incorrect, you can find and view your property details here: find and check your business rates valuation

What is a revaluation?

The VOA regularly reassesses and updates the rateable values of all business properties, usually every five years. This is called a revaluation. This is done to maintain fairness in the system by redistributing the total amount payable in business rates, reflecting changes in the property market. Revaluation does not raise extra revenue overall.

How can I find out more about revaluation?

For more information on the 2017 revaluation, rateable values, and business rates go to introduction to business rates.

Transitional arrangements (relief)

We put in place transitional arrangements (also known as transitional relief) which limit how much your bill can change each year as a result of revaluation. This means changes (increases or decreases) to your bill are phased in gradually, if you're eligible.

You get transitional relief if your:

  • property is in England
  • rates go up or down by more than a certain amount

We will adjust your bill automatically if you're eligible, and this will show on the front of your bill.

How much your bill can change by

How much your bill can change by from one year to the next depends on both:

  • your property's rateable value
  • whether your bill is increasing or decreasing as a result of revaluation

You stop getting transitional relief when your bill reaches the full amount set by a revaluation.

Non-domestic rating multiplier

The non-domestic rating multiplier is a fixed amount set by the government each year. For 2017/18 this has been set at 47.9p.

When the rateable value is multiplied by the non-domestic rating multiplier, this gives the basic amount you have to pay for the financial year.

This figure could be further adjusted as a result of any relief you may be entitled to (for example, ratepayers entitled to small business rate relief have a lower multiplier). For 2017/18 this has been set at 46.6p. See our rate relief page for more information.

What if I think my rateable value or rating list entry is incorrect?

If you think either your rateable value or rating list entry is incorrect, you can make an appeal to the VOA asking for it to be changed. See our business rates appeals page for more information.

Businesses affected by the Woolway v Mazars ruling  

In 2016 a Supreme Court case changed the way that the Valuation Office Agency assessed the rateable value of premises where there is more than one occupier. This may have resulted in some ratepayers being liable for multiple rating assessments and they may have lost any entitlement to Small Business Rates Relief.  

The Government has decided to introduce legislation that reverses this in a number of cases. Details of the changes can be found at How we value some non-domestic properties with more than one occupier.

Any ratepayer who believes they are affected by this legislation may now contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to reassess their valuation, backdated to 2010 where appropriate. Contact information can be found at contact VOA.

Contact us
Business rates
03000 268 997
Our address is:
  • Revenues and Benefits
  • PO Box 238
  • Stanley
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH8 1FP