Business rates, reliefs and exemptions

Relief available for business rates

There are several different types of business rate reliefs and exemptions available. The types of reliefs available can change from year to year.

If you apply for rate relief or an exemption, keep paying the amount shown on your original business rates bill. This is until we confirm any reduction by sending you a revised bill.

Some types of reliefs are mandatory, and some are discretionary. Some have both a mandatory and discretionary element. The cost of reliefs is shared between central government and the authority.

Hardship relief

In exceptional circumstances, we can give hardship relief to a ratepayer in difficulty.

Hardship relief is a discount on the rates payable for a specific period. It is a discretionary relief, which means it is not guaranteed.

You might be able to get hardship relief if your business is suffering -

  • unexpected hardship
  • financial hardship

or other hardships. All the following apply -

  • the circumstances leading to the hardship are both beyond the control of the business and outside the normal risks associated with running a business
  • the difficulties are temporary, and the business has a good chance of being viable in the long term
  • the business might fail if we do not give hardship relief

You must be able to show you are taking reasonable steps to help yourself. We would expect you as a business owner to do everything you can to tackle the problems you are facing. This might mean, for example -

  • getting business advice
  • reducing overheads
  • reviewing pricing
  • offering discounts
  • extending the range of stock or services or negotiating with creditors

You cannot get hardship relief to help establish a new business. This is unless the viability of the business is threatened by events you could not have reasonably foreseen.

Small business rates relief 

You can get small business rate relief if your -

  • property rateable value is less than £15,000
  • business only uses one property. You may still be able to get relief if you use more

You cannot get small business rate relief and charitable rate relief the same time. We will decide which type of relief you are eligible for. Small business rate relief is not automatically applied to your account. You must apply for it if you think you qualify.

What you will get

How much small business rate relief you get depends on your property’s rateable value. You will not pay business rates on a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. This is if that is the only property your business uses. For properties with a rateable value of £12,001 to £15,000, the rate of relief will go down gradually from 100% to 0%.

If you use more than one property

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 or £28,000 in London

If you do not qualify for relief, but your occupied property has a rateable value of less than £51,000, you will still pay less. Your bill will be automatically calculated using the small business rate multiplier. This happens even if you have more than one property.

Backdated small business rate relief

Small business rate relief will not always be backdated to the date you became liable for your property. The earliest we can backdate the relief in most cases is 1 April 2012, but in some instances this date may be later.

If you take on an extra property

Businesses that take on an extra property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief. The government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months. If you take on an extra property inside or outside of Hull, you must contact us within 28 days.

If something changes

Tell us if something changes that could affect your small business rate relief. You need to do this straight away.

Supporting small business relief

This relief is available to ratepayers who have lost some or all their small business rate relief or rural rate relief. This comes if it is a result of an increase in rateable value as a result of a revaluation. This relief was introduced from 1 April 2017. It is to help phase-in large increases for those affected and an amended scheme in place from 1 April 2023.

The scheme limits any increase in business rates to £600 per year. Relief will automatically be applied each year that the business is eligible to receive it. This could be every year or could end sooner if the bill amount without the relief is reached.

In the first year of the scheme, all ratepayers losing some or all their small business rate or rural rate relief will have the increase in their bill capped at £600. For later years of the valuation period, the bill will increase by no more than £600 per year.

You will not be eligible to receive small business relief if -

  • your property becomes empty during the period of the scheme
  • you are entitled to mandatory relief for -
    • charities
    • community amateur sports clubs

Your bill will return to the full amount due without this relief.

We automatically identify those ratepayers who should receive this relief. We apply it to their bill.

If you feel that you qualify for this relief, but it is not showing on your bill, contact the business rates team.

Your business rates account

Contact the business rates team through your My Business Rates account if you -

  • have a query about your business rates account
  • wish to apply for a relief or an exemption