Business Rates Reliefs and Exemptions

Business Rates Reliefs and Exemptions

Business rates are payable on both occupied and unoccupied assessments. However, there are a number of reliefs and exemptions which may apply.

Mandatory and discretionary rate

Charitable relief can be granted to registered charities carrying out charitable activities. The level of relief is set by the Government at a mandatory 80%. The council has the discretion to decide whether non-profit making organisations should be treated as if they are registered charities. If an organisation is granted charitable relief by the council then it is entitled to 80% mandatory relief. The council also has the discretion to award an additional 20% 'top-up' relief to non-profit making organisations.

New applications for Discretionary Rate Relief from 1 April 2017 onwards

  • Where an organisation occupies only one property and that property has a rateable value of less than £12,000, the council will apply Small Business Rate Relief. This option will be reviewed every year.
  • Where an organisation occupies only one property and that property has a rateable value between £12,001 and £14,999, the council will apply Small Business Rate Relief if the level of Small Business Rate Relief is higher than the Charitable or Discretionary Rate Relief.

Elected Members will only consider requests for additional reliefs in exceptional cases, where the organisation has no recourse to other funds, balancing the additional cost against the benefits to the achievement of the councils objectives. Any approvals will be on a time limited basis.

If you are a Registered Charity or a Charity that is exempt from registration you can apply for relief.


Application for Relief


Discretionary Rate Relief Policy

Charity and Community Amateur Sports Clubs

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the club and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the purposes of the club (or of that and other clubs).

Newcastle City Council has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.


Application for Relief

Village shop Rate Relief

Some properties in rural areas can receive help with their business rates. A rural area is defined as a settlement with a population of no more than 3,000 which is wholly or partly within the area.

The rural areas which can apply for this relief are highlighted in our current rural settlements list. The list, which will remain in place for the year commencing April 2017 contains the following settlements:

  • Dinnington
  • Brunswick

We can offer 50% relief to the following businesses that are situated in rural areas:

  • Post Office - where it is the only Post Office in the settlement and has a rateable value of less than £8,500.
  • General Store - where it is the only General Store in the settlement and has a rateable value of less than £8,500.
  • All Food Store - where they have a rateable value of less than £8,500.
  • Public House - where it is the only Public House in the settlement and has a rateable value of less than £12,500.
  • Petrol Station - where it is the only Petrol Station in the settlement and has a rateable value of less than £12,500.

We also have the discretion to offer up to 100% relief on any Non-Domestic property in a rural settlement.

We can only use our discretion to offer this relief if we are satisfied that the property is used for a purpose that benefits the local community.


Relief for partly occupied properties

If part of your business property is empty, and will remain so for a short time only, you could apply for relief. We will need to know how much of the property is empty and we will arrange for a Valuation Officer to provide a certificate which outlines the proportion of the property which is occupied.


Further information regarding Rate Relief for partly occupied properties



If your business has suffered hardship that has been caused through exceptional circumstances we can grant discretionary rate relief. Please contact us to find out more about this or use the form below to apply for this relief. 


Business Rates remission application form


Business rate exemptions

Some properties are exempt from Business rates.  The District Valuer will not include an exempt property in the Valuation List. Appeals against an entry in the list should be made to the District Valuer.

Exempt properties:

  • Agricultural land and buildings (e.g. arable, meadow or pasture ground; buildings used in connection with agricultural operations on the land and with the keeping and breeding of livestock).
  • Fish farms.
  • Fishing rights (where these are exercisable in a fishery which is regulated by specified legislation).
  • Places of religious worship (where these belong to the Church of England or the Church of Wales. For other religions, the property concerned must be certified under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855. This exemption includes church halls and similar buildings, provided they are used in connection with a place of public religious worship).
  • Trinity House property (e.g. lighthouses, buoys and beacons).
  • Sewers and accessories (e.g. drains, sewers, manholes, ventilating shafts and pumps. The exemption does not apply to sewage farms or sewage disposal works).
  • Property of Drainage Authorities (e.g. structures used for controlling or regulating the flow of water into or out of a watercourse on a main river).
  • Parks (provided they are under the management of a relevant authority and are available for free and unrestricted for use by members of the public).
  • Property used for the disabled (e.g. properties providing facilities for the welfare and training of disabled persons)
  • Air raid protection works (e.g. air raid shelters).
  • Swinging Moorings (i.e. a buoy attached to an anchor which rests underwater).
  • Road crossings over watercourses (e.g. bridges, viaducts or tunnels constructed to allow river crossings). Property in Enterprise Zones.

Properties exempt from unoccupied property rates:

  • Properties formerly occupied for more than 6 weeks (exempt for three months).
  • Industrial properties (i.e. where no part has been built or adapted for the purpose of retailing goods or services).
  • Properties where occupation is prohibited by law.
  • Properties where occupation is prohibited by action taken by the Crown Court or any local or public authority.
  • Listed buildings (subject to a preservation notice under s.58 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971). Ancient monuments (as scheduled under s.1 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979).
  • Properties with a rateable value of less than £2,900.
  • Unoccupied properties where the owner is entitled to possession only in their capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person.
  • Unoccupied properties where the owner is subject to a bankruptcy order or a winding-up order under the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Unoccupied properties where the owner is entitled to possession only in their capacity as a trustee under a deed of arrangement or as a liquidator under the Insolvency Act 1986.

All of the above are stated in broad terms. Within each of the classes a number of conditions may need to be met before the exemption is satisfied. If you need further details about any of these classes, please contact the Business rates section.

Relief for local newspapers (office space)

The Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year on office space occupied by local newspapers. This was due to run for two years from 1 April 2017. At Autumn Budget, the Government extended the scheme for an additional year (2019/20) This has now been extended until 31 March 2025. This scheme provides up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits. The relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Eligibility criteria for this relief is set out in a guidance note: "The case for a business rates relief for local newspapers", which can be obtained at

To apply please contact the Business Rates Team.

Small Business Rate Relief

If a ratepayer’s sole or main property has a rateable value which does not exceed an amount set out in regulations, the ratepayer may receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 100%. The level of reduction will depend on the rateable value of the property – for example eligible properties below a specified lower threshold will receive 100% relief, and you may receive partial tapered relief up to a specified upper threshold. The relevant thresholds for relief are set out in   regulations and can be obtained from Newcastle City Council or at

 Generally, this percentage reduction (relief) is only available to ratepayers who occupy either—

  1. one property, or
  2. one main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value which does not exceed the limit set in regulations.

The aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b), must also not exceed an amount set in regulations. For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant   the loss of small business rate relief, they will be allowed to keep that relief for a fixed additional period.

Full details on the relevant limits in relation to second properties and the current period for which a ratepayer may continue to receive relief after taking on an additional property can be obtained from Newcastle City Council or at

 Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to Newcastle City Council by the ratepayer who  is in receipt of relief (other changes will be picked up by the local authority). The changes which should be notified are—

  1. the property falls vacant,
  2. the ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property, and
  3. an increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted relief.

Application for Relief

Retail Relief

Since 2019/20 the government has provided a Business Rates Retail Discount for retail properties which for 2020/21 it expanded to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. On 3 March 2021 the government confirmed that the Expanded Retail Discount would continue to apply in 2021/22 at 100% for three months, from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021, and at 66% for the remaining period, from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022. The government confirmed that there would be no cash cap on the relief received for the period from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021, relief will be capped at £105,000 per business, or £2 million per business where the business is in occupation of a property that was required, or would have been required, to close, based on the law and guidance applicable on 5 January 2021

The Government has issued guidance on the operation of the scheme which can be found at:

This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary local discounts. 

Retail Rate Relief application


Contact us


Write to us at:
 Business rates
 Newcastle City Council
 Civic Centre
 Newcastle upon Tyne
 NE1 8QH