In this section, you can learn about different reliefs and reductions you may be eligible for  - and how to apply for them.

Empty Property Rates

Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order.

In most cases the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate. Full details on exemptions can be obtained from your local authority. If the unoccupied property rate for the financial year has been reduced by order, it will be shown on the front of your bill.

Rate Relief

Charities, Community Amateur Sports Club, and Discretionary Relief

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property which is wholly or mainly used for charitable, or club, purposes.

Relief is given at 80% of the full rate bill or the transitional bill where the transitional arrangements apply. Billing authorities have the discretion to reduce the bill further or waive it all together.

Authorities can also give relief to certain bodies not established or conducted for profit. This is a discretionary relief. The purpose of the organisation applying for the relief must be philanthropic, religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts. For more information, please contact the Business Rates Section.

Application for Mandatory and Discretionary Relief - Charities and Not For Profit Organisations

Rate Relief For Businesses In Rural Areas

Certain types of properties in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000 may be entitled to full relief. The property must be the only general store, the only post office or a food shop and have a rateable value of less than £8,500, or the only public house or the only petrol station and have a rateable value of less than £12,500. The property must be occupied. 

Please contact us if you would like more information on this relief.

List of Rural Settlements:

Babergh District Council

Mid Suffolk District Council

Retail Discount

At the Autumn Statement on 22 November 2023 the Chancellor announced that the 2024/25 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief Scheme will provide eligible and occupied retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a 75% relief, up to a cash cap limit of up to £110,000 per business.

As well as the cash cap, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme is subject to the Minimal Financial Assistance limits under the Subsidy Control Act. This means no recipient can receive over £315,000 over a three-year period (consisting of the current financial year and the two previous financial years). Covid business grants received from local government and any other subsidy claimed under the Minimal Financial Assistance or Small Amounts of Financial Assistance limit over the three-year period should be counted.

The government has issued guidance on the operation of the scheme, which can be found here:

Accounts which are eligible for this discount have been identified and the discount will be shown on your annual bill. However, for new ratepayers, or if you believe you are entitled to the discount, but it does not appear on your bill, please contact us by emailing

Please note there is no charge for discussing your potential entitlement with the Council, therefore we encourage ratepayers to speak to the Council direct about the discount rather than employing a third party to do this, who may make a charge for this service.

Small Business Rate Relief

Please read this information carefully before applying

Apply for small business rate relief 

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 (and who are not entitled to other mandatory relief or are liable for unoccupied property rates) will have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier.

In addition, generally, if the sole or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value which does not exceed £15,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 100%. For a property with a rateable value of not more than £12,000, the ratepayer will receive a 100% reduction in their rates bill.

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

(a)         one property, or

(b)        one main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value which does not exceed £2,899.

The rateable value of the property mentioned in (a), or the aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b), must not exceed £19,999 outside London or £27,999 in London on each day for which relief is being sought. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable value, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase.

The Government has introduced additional support to small businesses. For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, the Government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.

An application for Small Business Rate Relief is not required. Where a ratepayer meets the eligibility criteria and has not received the relief they should contact their local authority. Provided the ratepayer continues to satisfy the conditions for relief which apply at the relevant time as regards the property and the ratepayer, they will automatically continue to receive relief in each new valuation period.

Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the local authority by a 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 ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property, and
  2. 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 the relief.

If your premises are affected by local disruption (flooding, building works, road works)

You may get a temporary reduction in your business rates if your premises are affected by severe local disruption (like flooding, or nearby building work or roadworks).

Tell the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) if you think a local disruption has affected the value of your property. Use your business rates valuation account to tell them.

The VOA will decide if you can get a temporary reduction in your business rates.

You can find out more about local disruption relief on GOV.UK