Guide

Business rates guidance

Last updated: 8 March 2017

Overview

Business rates (also called non-domestic rates) are a tax on business property to help pay for local council services. They are based on the property and generally don't reflect the turnover or profits of your business. If you have business premises, it's important to consider business rates in your financial planning.

Use our business rates calculator to estimate your business rates bill.

Will I have to pay business rates?

You'll probably have to pay business rates if you're the owner, tenant or occupier of a non-domestic building, or use part of a building for business purposes. They're charged on most non-domestic and commercial properties, including:

  • shops
  • offices
  • pubs and hotels
  • warehouses
  • factories

Relief (discount) schemes and how to qualify

The amount you pay may be reduced if you are entitled to business rates relief. In some cases you may not need to pay anything. These discounts only apply to your business rates bill and won't reduce your rent, water charges or other bills. Some relief schemes are automatic, but you'll need to apply through your local council in some cases.

You may qualify for the Scottish Government's Small Business Bonus Scheme if the combined rateable value of all your business premises is less than £35,000.

Contact your local council if you think you are entitled to a discount.

2016-17

In 2016-17, you may not have to pay any business rates at all if the rateable value of your property is £10,000 or less.

2017-18

It is proposed that in 2017/18, you won't have to pay any business rates at all if the rateable value of your property is £15,000 or less.

How much do I have to pay?

You can use our business rates calculator to estimate your business rates bill. Each year the amount you pay in business rates may be increased by inflation. You should factor this into your on-going business costs.

Appeals

If you think the current rateable value for your business is wrong, you can ask the assessor to check the details. In certain circumstances, you can appeal your rates if you can't agree. There is no fee for lodging business rates appeals, but you must continue to pay your rates during the appeal.

You can submit a business rates appeal online, or you can appeal by writing to your local assessor.

At a revaluation the local assessor will ask you to provide information about the property. Having the correct rateable value will reduce the need to appeal and make it less likely that you pay too much.

Give your views on business rates

A review group has been tasked by Ministers to make recommendations that seek to:

  • enhance and reform the system to better support business growth and long term investment
  • reflect changing marketplaces whilst still maintaining the level of income necessary to provide funding for services

The period for submissions ends on 7 October, submit your views.

Business rates guidance
Overview