Who pays business rates

Business rates are how businesses and other organisations help towards the cost of local services.

They must be paid for any property that is not used for living in, such as:

  • Shops
  • Offices
  • Factories
  • Warehouses
  • Public Houses
  • Cinemas
  • Holiday homes available for let 140 days or more each year
  • Bed and Breakfast accommodation that can accommodate more than six people at the same time

If part of a home is used for business or non-domestic purposes and this is a self-contained area, such as a spare bedroom or a garage, then business rates may need to be paid for this part of the property.

Some non-domestic properties are free from business rates; these include:

  • Agricultural land and buildings
  • Places of religious worship
  • Trinity House properties (such as lighthouses)
  • Sewers and accessories
  • Property of drainage authorities
  • Public parks
  • Property used for disabled people
  • Properties occupied by visiting forces

Who pays?

Usually, the person or company who occupies the building has to pay the bill. If the building is empty the owner or tenant must pay - or the person who could be using the site.

How the charge is calculated

The council calculates business rates by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate multiplier - either the standard non-domestic multiplier or the small business non-domestic multiplier.

The higher, standard multiplier pays for small business rate relief. The government sets the multipliers for each financial year, normally in line with inflation. By law the multipliers cannot go up by more than the rate of inflation, apart from minor adjustments to counteract losses from appeals and, in relation to the standard multiplier, to pay for small business rate relief.

The multipliers are:

  • small multiplier: 0.480
  • standard multiplier: 0.493