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Mandatory rate relief

What is business rates relief and who can claim?

Rate relief is a reduction from the council on your business rates bill. The amount of rate relief depends on the type of organisation or business. 

Relief is available to:

  • charities and community sports clubs
  • rural post offices, general stores, food shops, pubs and petrol stations
  • small businesses which are defined by the rateable value(s) of the properties they occupy. The rateable value of your property is set by the Valuation Office Agency. We use this value to work out your business rates bill.

If you want to claim small business rate relief, go to our small business rate relief page.

The council offers some discretionary reliefs for charities, not-for-profit organisations and rural businesses. These reliefs can also 'top up' a mandatory relief so that you pay no business rates.

A separate application is required for each rating assessment. This is because relief is linked to the use of the property.

A new application is required each year. We may ask applicants to self certify if their circumstances have changed from those in their original application.

The following pages state the organisations that can receive mandatory and/or discretionary rate relief. They state the criteria that need to be satisfied to receive the relief.

Business rates relief for businesses in hardship

Who qualifies for this discretionary relief?

The council can grant up to 100% discretionary rate relief. It must be satisfied that the application meets both the following criteria:

  • the rate payer faces hardship if discretionary relief is not granted
  • award of the relief is in the interests of council tax payers

Further details of the criteria for each of the tests set out above are in the council's Icon for pdf discretionary scheme guidance [386.39KB] - section 2.4

How do I apply?

You need to have a MyGuildford account to apply for this relief online. If you do not have a MyGuildford account you can set one up. 

If you have not yet registered to access your business rates account online, there are more steps. You can then link your online business rates account to your MyGuildford.

To complete this step you will need the following information:

  • the business rates reference number - found on the latest bill. Do not include the "X" when you enter the reference.
  • the name of the business
  • the property postcode

Once you have linked your business rates account, go to the 'account summary' screen. You will see a list of 'quick links' on the right-hand side. You need to select the 'upload information or tell us about something else' link.

What evidence should I provide to support my application?

You can find details of the evidence required in the council's Icon for pdf discretionary scheme guidance [386.39KB] - section 2.4

Digital photos or scans of suitable evidence can be uploaded with the form.

What happens next?

If we need any further information, we will contact you.

If you are awarded a relief, we will send you a new bill.

Business rates relief for charities

Who qualifies for this relief?

Registered charities or charitable organisations that are exempt from registration as a charity.

Organisations that are eligible for this relief include:

  • conservation organisations
  • museums
  • sports or recreational clubs
  • village halls, clubs or community centres
  • welfare organisations providing advice, counselling and community care
  • youth organisations, including scouts, guides, youth hostels and the YMCA
  • educational organisations that are registered charities

The property must be used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes. The institution or organisation must exist for charitable purposes only. The property must be occupied by people managing a trust started for charitable purposes only. Registration under the Charities Act 2011, as amended, is evidence of charitable status.

You are eligible for mandatory relief if:

  • you are an organisation that, under the 2011 Act, are excepted from registration or are exempt charities

For charity shops, the shop must be wholly or mainly used for the sale of goods given to the charity. Rather than goods manufactured for the charity.

How much mandatory relief do I receive?

You will receive relief to the value of 80% of your bill

Can I claim discretionary relief?

Yes. If discretionary relief is granted, you will receive relief to the value of 20% of your bill. If you get both mandatory and discretionary relief, you will not pay any business rates.

Business rates relief for Community Amateur Sports Clubs

Who qualifies for this relief?

Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) registered with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The property concerned must be used wholly or mainly by a CASC. 

How much mandatory relief do I receive?

You will receive relief to the value of 80% of your bill.

Can I claim discretionary relief?

No, there is no discretionary relief available.

What evidence should I provide to support my application?

Upload a photo of a document which is proof of registration with HMRC as a CASC. If you are already registered, your organisation should appear on the HMRC website..

Business rates relief for not-for-profit organisations

Who qualifies for this relief?

An organisation that was not established or conducted for profit.

Typically, these organisations will be:

  • sports or recreation clubs without charitable status
  • village halls
  • theatre and arts organisations

The premises used by the organisation should either be:

  • all or part of it is occupied for the purposes of one or more institutions or other organisations. None of these are established or conducted for profit. Each of their main objects are charitable or are otherwise philanthropic or religious. They can be concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts
  • wholly or mainly used for purposes of recreation. All or part of it is occupied for the purposes of a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit.

How much mandatory relief do I receive?

You can't claim any mandatory relief.

Can I claim discretionary relief?

Yes. If discretionary relief is granted, you will receive relief to the value of 50% of your bill.

Applicants must explain how their organisation's use of the property contributes to the council's vision for the borough.

Membership must be open to all sections of the local community. This is unless legitimate restrictions apply.

The premises must be wholly or mainly used by the rate payer. Or  by the ratepayer and other not-for-profit organisations.

What evidence should I provide to support my application?

You can find details of the evidence required in the council's Icon for pdf discretionary scheme guidance [386.39KB]- section 2.2

Business rates relief for rural businesses

Who qualifies for this relief?

To be eligible for mandatory or discretionary relief the property must:

  • be within a defined rural settlement for the financial year concerned

The government has named all the rural parishes in Guildford borough as rural areas. The council can define rural settlements in these areas. 

 East Horsley, Tongham, Ash and Ash Vale are not defined as rural settlements. This is due to their populations. 

If you are unsure whether a property falls within a defined rural settlement, call us on 01483 505050.

The property must be one of the following businesses. The business must be the only one of its type in the rural settlement:

  • a general store with a rateable value of less than £8,500
  • a post office with a rateable value of less than £8,500
  • a food store with a rateable value of less than £8,500
  • a public house with a rateable value of less than £12,500
  • a petrol filling station with a rateable value of less than £12,500

The businesses listed must be the only one of its type in the rural settlement.

Your rateable value is on your latest business rates bill.

Find out more about the eligibility criteria for each of the types of business in the council's Icon for pdf discretionary scheme guidance [386.39KB] - section 2.3

How much mandatory relief do I receive?

You will receive relief to the value of 50% of your bill.

Can I claim discretionary relief?

Yes. The council can grant discretionary relief. The property must be used for purposes that benefit the local community. It would be reasonable for the council to grant relief having regard to the interests of its tax​ payers.​

We will award an extra 50% discretionary relief when:

  • a general store, post office or food store meets all the criteria for mandatory relief

If the council agrees to award discretionary relief, we will award 100% discretionary relief when:

  • a general store, post office or food store does not qualify for mandatory relief due to the rateable value thresholds set out above

 Discretionary relief is subject to a maximum rateable value threshold for the property of £16,500.

You will need to upload evidence to support your application. Upload information to show:

  • that the property is used for purposes which benefit the community
  • that the main use of the property meets the criteria

You can find further details of the evidence required in the council's Icon for pdf Discretionary Scheme guidance [386.39KB] - section 2.3

Apply for business rates relief

Apply for business rate relief

What evidence should I provide to support my application?

You can find details of the evidence you need to upload to support your application on the relevant page in this section.

Digital photos or scans of suitable evidence can be uploaded with the form.

What happens next?

If we need any further information, we will contact you.

If you are awarded a relief, we will send you a new bill. 

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