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Coronavirus Business Rates Reliefs

BRIEFING NOTE                                                                                              

CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS RATES RELIEFS

The Government has announced a series of measures to assist businesses.  There are two types of measures being offered – reliefs and grants.  This briefing note sets out a summary of the reliefs that will be enacted through the business rates system. Please also read our briefing note on grants.

 

Expanded Retail Discount Scheme for 2020/21 Year

The Government has expanded the previous retail discount relief so all retail, leisure and hospitality properties will receive 100% rates relief in the 2020/21 year, irrespective of their rateable value level.

Which properties will benefit from the relief?

The qualifying properties need to be visited by the public, be occupied and wholly or mainly used as follows:

  1. Restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  2. For assembly and leisure
  3. Hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation
  4. Estate agents, letting agencies and bingo halls that are required to close

Click here for a full description of the qualifying properties. The guidance also includes details of the uses which are considered not to be eligible for relief.  Please see properties set out under 4 above as these are no longer excluded.

Process for the relief to be provided

Central Government has instructed individual local billing authorities to adopt their own local scheme. The billing authority has the discretion to award the relief.

The relief may be granted automatically based upon the description in the rating list, or alternatively the billing authority may require applications to be received for the relief.

Applications may well be necessary where for example, a gym operator may be occupying a property which is known in the rating list as a warehouse and premises. The billing authority may be unaware that this is a qualifying use and without contact being made from the occupier they will not automatically award the relief.

State Aid

An application has been made to the European Union to have the State Aid limits removed for this relief.

 

If you would like more advice about your particular situation, please contact our business rates partners Simon or Alan – shown below.  As they are currently working from home, please make contact initially by email and Simon or Alan will respond as quickly as possible.