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Rate relief


Small businesses, charities and businesses in some rural areas can apply to pay lower rates.

Help for retail properties from April 2019

From 1st April 2019 to 31st March 2021, you may be entitled to 33% discount on your business rates bill if your business property is used primarily for retail.

Your property needs to be in use and have a rateable value of less than £51,000 for this discount.

This discount is subject to EU law on State Aid and a declaration will be required that by accepting the discount you will not exceed the De Minimis State Aid limit.

Retail properties include:

  • shops
  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • drinking venues

Download the  Icon for pdf Retail Discount Application Form (PDF, 189.0kb)

You can find out more information at Gov.uk: Business rates: retail discount - guidance.

Relief for newspapers

If your office space is occupied by local newspaper publishers, you may be entitled to rate relief. For more information contact us.

Local discounts

We have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts, contact us for more information.

Partly occupied relief

Section 44a of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 gives us discretionary powers to grant relief on a property that is partly unoccupied or not fully occupied if it appears this situation will remain for a 'short period of time' only. Partially occupied rate relief is not intended to be used where part of a property is temporarily not used. The intention is aimed at situations where there are practical difficulties in occupying or vacating all of a property. Contact us for more information.

Download the  Icon for pdf application for partly occupied rate relief under Section 44a (PDF, 106.7kb)

New schemes following Spring budget 2017

In the spring budget 2017 the government announced three short term additional types of relief relating to business rates.

Relief for pubs

In 2018/19 if your pub had a rateable value of below £100,000, you may have been entitled to a £1,000 discount on your rate bill .

If you believe you were eligible for this relief and have not received it please contact us. Applications received by 30 September 2019 can be backdated for 2018/19.

Local Discretionary Relief scheme

The government is providing a £300 million discretionary fund for businesses across the country facing steep increases in business rates due to the 2017 revaluation.

We are now able to award this, details of of this scheme are included in our Icon for pdf Discretionary Rate Relief Policy (PDF, 362.8kb)

If you are eligible we will contact you shortly about applying for this relief. If you have not heard from us, and you think you are eligible for this relief, please contact us.

Extended relief for small businesses

If your business is facing a large increase in business rates, because you can no longer claim small business or rural rate relief (due to a change in your business's rateable value), you may qualify for this relief.

If you are eligible you do not need to do anything as we will send you a revised demand once once this relief has been awarded. If you have not heard from us, and you think you are eligible for this relief, please contact us.

Small business rate relief

You can get this relief if you only occupy one business property in England and that property has a rateable value (RV) of less than £15,000. The relief does not apply to empty properties.

From 1 April 2017 you will get 100% relief for a property with an RV of £12,000 or less, meaning you will not pay any business rates for it. 

For properties with an RV of between £12,001 and £14,999, the rate of relief is awarded on a sliding scale decreasing from 100% to 0%. Here are some indicative examples:

Rateable Value (up to)Percentage Reduction
£12,000100%
£12,75075%
£13,50050%
£14,25025%
£15,0000%

Under the current legislation, if you take on a second property you can still keep the relief on your original property for a year.

If you occupy more than one property, you can get small business rate relief as long as the RV of each of your other properties is less than £2,900 and the total RV of all the properties (including the main one) is less than £20,000. The relief is applied to the main property.

If your property has an RV below £51,000, your business rates will be calculated using the small business multiplier instead of the standard one. This is the case even if you have multiple properties. The higher multiplier will apply if you are liable to pay rates on an empty property or if you are in receipt of a mandatory relief.

Details of the small business multiplier and how your business rates are calculated are on our What are business rates? page (under 'Non domestic rating multiplier').

To apply, download and complete the Icon for pdf application for small business rate relief (PDF, 194.4kb) , then return it to the address included in the form

Relief for charities, community amateur sports clubs and other non-profit making organisations

To apply, download and complete the Icon for pdf application for rate relief for charities, community amateur sports associations and non profit organisations (PDF, 209.4kb) , and return it to the address included in the form.

Is my business eligible?

Charities and registered community amateur sports clubs can be entitled to 80% relief if they occupy the property and it's mostly used for that purpose. We also have discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Contact us for more information.

Rate relief for businesses in rural areas

Download the Icon for pdf list of areas classed as rural (PDF, 93.6kb)

To apply, download and complete the Icon for pdf application for rate relief for businesses in rural areas (PDF, 223.5kb) , and return it to the address included in the form.

Is my business eligible?

Businesses in rural areas (with less than 3000 population) may be entitled to a 100% reduction if they occupy:

The only general store, post office or food shop with a rateable value under £8,500 The only public house or petrol station with a rateable value under £12,500

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