Business rates guidance

Last updated: 14 December 2018


Business rates (also called non-domestic rates) are a tax on non-domestic properties 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.


In 2019-20 the poundage is proposed to change from 48 pence to 49 pence. No changes are proposed to the Small Business Bonus Scheme or the Large Business Supplement.

From 1 April 2019 the Scottish Government will introduce a 100% relief for new fibre broadband infrastructure. This relief will last for 10 years.

Transitional relief will continue until 2022, if your property is:

  • a pub, restaurant or hotel with a rateable value of less than £1.5 million
  • an office located in Aberdeen or Aberdeenshire

You can find more information on transitional relief.

Will I have to pay business rates?

You may 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 might need to apply for others through your local council.

Small Business Bonus Scheme

You may qualify for the Scottish Government's Small Business Bonus Scheme if:

  • the combined rateable value of all your business premises is £35,000 or less
  • and, the rateable value of individual premises is £18,000 or less

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

In 2018-19, businesses on the Small Business Bonus Scheme won't have to pay any business rates at all if the rateable value of their property is £15,000 or less.

It's proposed that the Small Business Bonus Scheme will stay the same in 2019-20.

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, or subject to other changes such as revaluation. You should factor this into your on-going business costs.


If you think the current rateable value for your business is wrong, you can ask the your local assessor to check the details. In certain circumstances, you can appeal your rates if you can't agree.

All new values from the 2017 revaluation could have been appealed by 30 September 2017, or 6 months after the date of the revaluation notice – whichever is later.

There is no fee for lodging valuation appeals, but you must continue to pay your rates during the appeals process.

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. This includes the amount of rent you pay.

Having the correct rateable value will reduce the need to appeal and make it less likely that you pay too much.

Business rates guidance