Documents to download

This note provides a brief guide to the system of non-domestic rating, better known as ‘business rates’.

Business rates are a property tax paid by occupants of non-domestic properties. The basic rates bill is determined by multiplying the rateable value of a property (a ‘hereditament’) by the ‘multiplier’. A property’s rateable value is set by the Valuation Office Agency in England and Wales; the Assessors in Scotland; and Land and Property Services in Northern Ireland.

Various reliefs, both mandatory and discretionary, are available from full business rates liability. Limited powers also exist for local authorities to set supplementary business rates. This note also gives details of the business rate-related grant schemes available as part of the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Business rates are devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This note focuses on the operation of the business rates system in England.

Additional detail on the revaluation of business rates coming into effect on 1 April 2017 can be found in the Library briefing Business rates: the 2017 revaluation. Additional detail on business rate reliefs can be oudn in the Library briefing Business rate reliefs.

Details of the Business Rate Retention Scheme, and proposals for its reform, can be found in the Library briefing Reviewing and reforming local government finance.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • Income tax allowances for married couples

    In general married couples are taxed as individuals, though a minority of older couples & civil partners may still claim a 'married couple's allowance'. Since 6 April 2015 individuals have been entitled to transfer part of their personal tax allowance to their spouse or civil partner, if neither they nor their partner are higher rate taxpayers.

    Income tax allowances for married couples
  • VAT on tourism

    This briefing gives a short introduction to the way VAT works, and the significance that EU VAT law has had for setting VAT rates, before discussing the campaign for a lower VAT rate on tourist services, and the introduction of a temporary reduced VAT rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions which applied from July 2020 to March 2022.

    VAT on tourism