Toggle menu

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updates for residents and businesses

Reliefs and Exemptions

There are a number of discounts and exemptions that can help to reduce the amount of rates that you have to pay

Cheque icon

Expanded Retail Discount 2021-22

At the Budget on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor announced that the Government would provide additional support for eligible retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England occupying a qualifying property

As a temporary measure for 2021/22 the Chancellor announced that:

• The Expanded Retail Discount (2020/21) would be extended for three months for eligible properties, at 100% relief, uncapped, for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.

• From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, the Expanded Retail Discount would apply at 66% relief for eligible properties in the scheme, with a cash cap of £2m for businesses that were required to close as at 5 January 2021, and up to £105,000 for business permitted to open at that date.

• The Nursery Discount 2021 would also be extended for three months, at 100%, uncapped, for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.

• From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022 the Nursery Discount would apply at 66% relief for eligible properties, with a cash cap of £105,000.

• For the Expanded Retail Discount 2021/22 and Nursery Discount 2021/22, businesses may choose to opt out of support by providing billing authorities notification of their request to refuse support, per eligible hereditament.

If you have received a bill which does not reflect the discount, or you wish to decline the discount please complete the Icon for pdf Expanded Retail Discount declaration [88.8KB] and return it to us by email to

Read more about the Expanded Retail Discount on the Gov.UK website

Small Business Rate Relief

Who can claim Small Business Rate Relief?

From 1 April 2017 any ratepayer who occupies a single non-domestic property within England, where the rateable value is less than £51,000 will be entitled to the following relief:

Non-Domestic Rate Multipliers

Rateable Value of main property


Amount of Small Business Rate Relief

£12,000 or less



£12,001 to £15,000


100% to 0% on a scale of 1% for every £30.00 RV over £12,000

£15,000 to £51,000


Small Business Rate Multiplier only

Rating Multiplier

The small business non-domestic rate multiplier for 2020-21 is 49.9 pence in the pound

The national non-domestic rate multiplier for 2020-21 is 51.2 pence in the pound

Since 1 April 2017 eligible properties with rateable values between £15,001 and £51,000 automatically have their rates calculated using the lower Small Business Rate multiplier instead of the standard National Non-Domestic multiplier.

Additional properties

Where a ratepayer occupies a main property with a rateable value of less than £15,000 from 1 April 2017 but has additional properties with individual rateable values of less than £2,900 the relief will only be applied to the main property. The additional properties will be disregarded for relief purposes, but will be liable for the full rates bill. If the aggregate total of all the rateable values is more than £19,999 from 1 April 2017, Small Business Rate Relief will not apply, even to the main property.

If a ratepayer is in occupation of more than one property, and the rateable value of both properties is more than £2,899 from 1 April 2017, Small Business Rate Relief will not apply to either property. However, the Government has introduced additional support to small businesses. For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of Small Business Rate Relief, the Government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep the relief for a maximum of 12 months. 

Empty properties

Small Business Rate Relief does not apply to empty properties.

Interactions with other reliefs

If you are in receipt of another mandatory rate relief, for example Charitable or Rural Rate Relief, you will not be entitled to Small Business Rate Relief

Applying for relief

You can apply for Small Business Rate Relief online  here

Alternatively, you can download the form as a PDF  Icon for pdf Small Business Rate Relief claim form [256.54KB]  and return it to the business rates team:

By email to  or by post to: Business Rates, Riverbank House, Bideford EX39 2QG

Please be aware that you do not need to pay anyone to apply for the relief on your behalf. Please contact the business rates team in the first instance and we will be happy to advise on entitlement to relief.

Continuity of relief

A single application for Small Business Rate Relief should be made when you first move into non-domestic premises. This application will last throughout the valuation period and possibly beyond. Any changes which may affect your entitlement to relief should be notified to the Council within four weeks. Examples of changes are:

i) Taking over additional premises anywhere in England, or

ii) An increase in the rateable value of a property that you are the ratepayer for, outside of the Torridge District.

iii) A change in the use of the property (i.e. from non-domestic to domestic)

Small business rate relief will be reviewed periodically to ensure that our records are up to date.

Rural Rate Relief

From 1 April 2017 you can get 100 per cent rural rate relief if you occupy a property in a Rural Settlement area

A rural settlement is a defined area with a population of less than three thousand. You can check whether your property is in a rural settlement area by viewing the Icon for pdf Torridge District Rural Settlement List [7.02KB].

Mandatory Rate Relief (under section 43 of the LGFA 1988)

To qualify a business property must:

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

A general store is defined as carrying out trade or business, wholly or mainly consisting of the retail sale of both food for human consumption and general household goods. Food does not include confectionary or animal food.

A food shop is defined as carrying out trade or business, wholly or mainly consisting of the retail sale of food for human consumption.  The supply of food in the course of catering is excluded, for example, the supply of food for consumption on the premises, or the supply of hot food for consumption off the premises.  Food does not include confectionary or animal food

Discretionary Rate Relief (under Section 47 of the LGFA 1988)

The authority may also grant up to 100 per cent discretionary rate relief to any business provided that:

  • It is within the boundaries of a qualifying settlement
  • It has a rateable value of not more than £16,500
  • It is used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community, and
  • It is reasonable for the authority to make such a decision having regard to the interests of its Council Tax and Non-Domestic ratepayers

   Apply for Discretionary Rural Rate Relief                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


Rate Relief for Charities

Charitable organisations that occupy a non-domestic property for activities in connection with the purposes of that charity, are entitled to business rates relief of 80 per cent of the bill. We also have the discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20 per cent of the organisation's bill.

Under Section 43 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, property occupied by a registered charity is eligible for 80 per cent mandatory rate relief.  This can be granted without an application form being completed.

Under Section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 Discretionary Rate Relief may be awarded for up to the remaining 20 per cent of the rates bill. This relief is given at the discretion of the council and a points system is used to assess the level of relief. In this case an application form must be completed.

To qualify for mandatory relief the property must be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes and the organisation must be established for charitable purposes only, or be occupied by any persons administering a trust established for charitable purposes.

Find out how to set up a charity on the Gov.UK website

Some organisations are not registered as charities, but would be entitled to register under Section 505 of the Income & Corporation Taxes Act 1988.  A confirmation letter from the HM Revenues and Customs will be sufficient proof.

Apply for Discretionary Charitable Relief



Rate Relief for Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs)

Organisations which are registered with HMRC as Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80 per cent mandatory relief. This can be granted without an application form.

Additional relief of up to 20 percent may be granted in line with the Councils' Discretionary Rate Relief Policy. This would require an application form to be completed.

To qualify as a CASC a sports club must;

  • be open to the whole community
  • be run as an amateur club
  • be a non-profit making organisation
  • aim to provide facilities for and encourage people to take part in eligible sport

If you are a sports club that has not yet registered as a CASC you can find out more information from the Gov.UK website

Apply for Discretionary Rate Relief (CASCs)

Rate Relief for non-profit making organisations

If an organisation does not qualify for mandatory rate relief, the council may still consider granting discretionary rate relief of up to 100 per cent of the rates bill.

To be eligible the ratepayer must be a non-profit making body and the property must be used for charitable, philanthropic or religious purposes, or concerned with;

  • education
  • social welfare
  • science
  • literature and fine arts
  • recreation (for example an athletics club or a town band)

Any decision to grant relief will take into account the individual merits of each case.

Apply for Discretionary Rate Relief

Unoccupied property

There are no rates payable for the first three months when a non-domestic property becomes empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. Following this initial exemption period, rates will be charged at the full occupied rate.

If there is a change of ownership whilst the property is empty, no further period of exemption will be allowed unless the property is occupied for a minimum of six weeks. This is because the exemption is on the property and not the owner or leaseholder.

The following categories are exempt from payment of empty property rates under Section 45 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

Small properties

Any property with a rateable value of less than £2,900

Listed buildings

Buildings that are subject to listed status are exempt from payment of empty property rates

Occupation prohibited by law

This exemption applies where occupation of a property is legally forbidden, or works are prevented from being carried out to enable occupation. This might apply where a property contains asbestos, or must have a fire certificate issued prior to occupation.

This category of exemption does not apply where the building requires redecoration or other building works, or where planning permission has been denied.

Bankruptcy, Liquidation and Insolvency

  • Where, in respect of the owner's estate, there subsists a bankruptcy order within the meaning of section 381(2) of the Insolvency Act 1986(c).
  • Whose owner is entitled to possession in his capacity as trustee under the deed of arrangement to which the Deeds of Arrangement Act 1914(d) applies.
  • Whose owner is a company which is subject to a winding-up order made under the Insolvency Act 1986 or which is being wound up voluntarily under that Act.
  • Whose owner is a company in administration within the meaning of paragraph 1 of Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986 or is subject to an administration order made under the former administration provisions within the meaning of article 3 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (Commencement No.4 & Transitional Provisions & Savings) Order 2003(e).
  • Whose owner is entitled to possession in his capacity as liquidator by virtue of an order made under section 112 or section 145 of the Insolvency Act 1986.


Partly Occupied Property

If a commercial property is only partly occupied, the council has the discretion to grant an exemption on the unoccupied parts of the premises.

One example would be where a company is relocating from one premises to another and where the move is phased by occupying or vacating parts of the premises in stages. Another example would be where the occupier of a warehouse reduces the amount of storage available because of a recession.

In this instance we will ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to apportion the rateable value of the property between the occupied and unoccupied parts. Your rate bill for the occupied area would be calculated using the rateable value provided by the VOA. Any entitlement to exemption would be calculated using the rateable value of the empty part.

The terms of this relief are laid down in Section 44A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

The relief is granted whilst the situation exists (but for a maximum of one financial year).

If you think that this relief may be applicable to your situation, complete the Icon for pdf Application for Partly Occupied Property Relief (Section 44a) [310.03KB] giving full details of the circumstances and provide a map of plan of your premises clearly showing the occupied and unoccupied areas.

Your claim should be sent to the business rates team at: Business Rates, Riverbank House, Bideford EX39 2QG or by email to

If you think your property falls into one of the above categories, but your business rate bill does not reflect it contact the business rates team for further information.

Hardship Relief

Torridge District Council has the discretion to grant relief to ratepayers who would suffer extreme financial hardship by paying the whole of their rates bill

Section 49 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 gives the Council a discretionary power to reduce or remit the payment of non-domestic rates by granting Hardship Relief.

How is Hardship relief granted?

Any Hardship relief will normally be granted as a percentage of the rates payable for a specific period, usually the rating year in which the application is made.

What are the general qualifying criteria for Hardship relief?

The principal purpose of an award of hardship relief is to provide short-term assistance to businesses that are suffering unexpected hardship arising from circumstances beyond the business's control and outside of the normal risks associated with running a business of that type, to the extent that the viability of the business would be threatened if an award were not made.

The remission of rates on the grounds of hardship is the exception rather than the rule. The reason for this is that the Government will only fund part of any relief that is given, the remainder of the cost falls directly on local council tax and business ratepayers.

For this reason the council will only grant this relief in exceptional circumstances and where it is evident that it would be in the interests of the local community that the ratepayer remains in business.

How to apply for Hardship relief

Please read the guidance notes Icon for pdf Guidance notes [75.64KB] and complete the Application form

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email