Non-domestic rates (business rates)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Find out more about how you can get help with non-domestic rates on mygov.scot (March 2020)

Upcoming reforms to the non-domestic rates system are set out in this letter.

Non-domestic rates, also called business rates, are taxes paid on non-domestic properties to help pay for local council services. We are responsible for the policy and legislative framework and set the tax rates, but individual councils administer and collect the tax.

Non-domestic rates are based on the rateable value of a property, which is determined by the independent Scottish Assessors. The amount paid is calculated by multiplying the property's rateable value by a pence in the pound tax rate known as the poundage. Reliefs such as the Small Business Bonus Scheme may reduce this amount.

The Scottish Assessors Association Portal provides the rateable values of all properties and more information on how rateable values are decided.

This Non-domestic (business) rates roadmap details key dates for changes to business rates.

Further information and guidance on non-domestic rates can be found in the local government finance circulars.

On mygov.scot we provide:

We publish non-domestic rating accounts every financial year. View the non-domestic rating accounts from 2008 to 2017 in our archive.

We have also published a list of non-domestic rates legislation.

View additional historic information on non-domestic rates in our archive.

Scottish Budget 2021 to 2022: non-domestic rates measures

The Scottish Budget 2021-2022, published in January 2021, contains a number of measures relating to non-domestic rates. These will ensure that Scotland maintains the most generous non-domestic rate regime in the UK.

The Scottish Budget 2021-2022:

  • delivers an unprecedented reduction in the poundage to 49p
  • ensures over 95 per cent of properties in Scotland are subject to a lower poundage than they would face in other parts of the UK
  • supports a package of reliefs worth an estimated £914 million
  • extends 100% relief for the retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation sectors for at least 3 months
  • maintains the most generous small business relief in the UK through a continuation of the Small Business Bonus Scheme
  • expands the unique Business Growth Accelerator where there has also been a change of use to support the re-use and regeneration of existing assets
  • expands Fresh Start relief for properties with a rateable value up to £95,000
  • maintains the UK’s first nursery relief in order to reduce costs for those playing an important role in ensuring children have the best start in life
  • maintains 50% district heating relief until 2032 in order to provide certainty to investors and introduces an expanded 90% relief for district heating networks powered by renewable energy until 2024

Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Act 2020

The Non-Domestic Rates Act 2020 sets out the legislative framework to enable a number of the Barclay Review recommendations to be implemented. The Act was introduced on 25 March 2019. 

The Local Government and Communities Committee was appointed as the lead committee by the Parliamentary Bureau. Information about the progress of this Act can be found on the Committee's webpage.

The Bill was passed by Parliament on 5 February 2020 and received Royal Assent on 11 March 2020.

The Barclay review: background

In 2016 we asked Ken Barclay to lead an external review of non-domestic rates, with a view to reforming Scotland's business rates system to better support growth and long-term investment and reflect changing marketplaces.

The non-domestic tax rates review: Barclay report was published in August 2017, which was followed by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution's Barclay review of non-domestic tax rates: ministerial response.

We published our Barclay review of non-domestic rates: implementation plan in December 2017.

In summer 2018 we ran a consultation on implementing the Barclay recommendations. An independent analysis is available at: Non-domestic rates reform: analysis of responses to consultation on Barclay implementation

The final report from the Barclay Implementation Advisory Group was published in 2019 as was the final report of the Barclay Implementation Advisory Appeal sub-Group.

Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) review 

The Barclay Review recommended that the effectiveness of SBBS be evaluated. It set out that the Review should be concluded, and recommendations addressed and implemented by the next revaluation. The Scottish Government accepted this recommendation and commissioned the Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) in June 2019 to carry out an independent review of the scheme. 

The overall aim of the review is to evaluate what the impact of SBBS has been and whether it can be better targeted to support local investment, employment and growth. It’s key objectives are:

  • to understand who is getting the relief
  • to assess the impact of the scheme on relief recipients and identify wider benefits and costs
  • to consider whether the current scheme could be improved 

The Barclay Review called for the SBBS Review to be concluded and recommendations addressed in 2022. The SBBS Review was due to report in Spring 2021 but this is now unavoidably delayed due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, which includes access to university premises where the secure data required for this study is held by the FAI being prohibited. The timing of the publication will in part depend on when the consultants are able to access this data. 

Revaluation 

In 2017 all rateable properties were revalued and the updated rateable values were published on the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA) Portal. Any appeals made against those values will be dealt with through the independent legal system. 

The next non-domestic rates revaluation in Scotland will take effect in 2023, the same year as in England and Wales, but will be based on rental values pertaining as at 1 April 2022, and not 1 April 2020.  This will mean that properties’ rateable values will better reflect true market conditions, taking into account any COVID-19 effects, and delivers our commitment to move to revaluations with a one-year tone date two years ahead of schedule.

Contact

Contact details for all the relevant authorities are listed in non-domestic rates: contacts.