If your business pays rates, then there are a number of initiatives coming into place to help you get through the Coronavirus challenge. In particular, businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible for a Business Rates holiday and for a one-off grant of either £10,000 or £25,000.
Here we’ve answered the top five questions that we’ve received from our clients:
Q: Does my business qualify for the business rates holiday?
A: To help occupiers of non-domestic properties, the Scottish Government has provided clarification on the businesses that will qualify for business rates relief and grants within rateable value thresholds. NB: Vacant property is not included.
- if you currently occupy a property listed within the qualifying categories – Retail, Hospitality and Leisure – you will receive a revised bill with 100% relief shortly.
- if you are a nursery, you will be entitled to 100% relief for the next year under previous rates relief.
We have produced an up-to-date list of those businesses that qualify. Get in touch with G+S for further advice and help.
Q: How do I get the rebate?
A: You will not actually have to do anything. We understand Councils will issue your commercial rates bill as normal and, so long as you are eligible, it will state that you have qualified for 100% relief.
If you find that you have not qualified for relief and you want to query this decision, then contact your council’s finance department. If you get a categorical ‘No’, then come to G+S and we will be able to help you by finding out exactly why the decision was made. We’ll also be able to look at the underlying planning issues to see if you have grounds for an appeal.
Q: What is the likely time scale?
A: Councils in many cases will have already printed off all their rates bills for the coming year. Councils are now working hard to restructure their approach and re-print all relevant bills. You will therefore probably not hear from them until the end of April.
Q: Do I qualify for a grant?
A: Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value from £18,000 and up to and including £51,000 will be able to apply for a one-off grant of £25,000. A one-off grant of £10,000 will also be available to small businesses who get Small Business Bonus Scheme relief or Rural Relief. Get in touch with G+S for advice on whether you qualify for these grants (see our briefing sheet here) and for the latest details on how to apply.
Many smaller properties are let by landlords and occupied by tenant businesses who have to pay rent on a quarterly basis. These grants are to help plug this gap.
Q: How long will relief last?
A: Currently, the relief is for a 12-month period. This means that you will pay nothing, if you qualify, on your commercial rates for the next financial year: 1st April 2020 through to the 31st March 2021.