Local government finance circular 4/2022 - non-domestic rates relief: guidance

This circular provides general information relating to current arrangements for non-domestic rates reliefs in 2022 to 2023. It also provides examples of supporting documentary evidence. The information was compiled with the involvement of officers from COSLA and the IRRV.

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Small Business Bonus Scheme

155. The key legislation is The Non-Domestic Rates (Levying and Miscellaneous Amendment) (Scotland) Regulations 2022.[42]

156. Occupiers of property located in Scotland (or those entitled to occupy it) with combined RV of £35,000 or less may be eligible for relief. Multiple properties linked to one business (e.g. a chain of shops) may be eligible for relief if their combined RV does not exceed £35,000.

157. Table 5 outlines reliefs and thresholds.

Table 5: Relief thresholds for SBBS
Cumulative RV range Percentage of rate relief
£15,000 or less 100%
£15,001 to £18,000 25%
£18,001 to £35,000 25% on each individual property with a rateable value of £18,000 or less

158. Multiple properties occupied respectively by different businesses (e.g. with separate accounts, premises, employees, suppliers, leases, marketing and websites), which nonetheless seem to be linked, may be considered by the local authority as if they were occupied by separate occupiers, subject to subsidy control rules.

159. The rateable value associated with the site of a reverse vending machine should not be included in a calculation determining the cumulative rateable value of a ratepayer's premises.

160. Where there may be links between businesses occupying different properties, the onus is on the applicant to provide sufficient evidence that the businesses are run independently of each other.

161. Payday lenders ceased to be eligible for SBBS from 2014-15. To determine eligibility, local authorities may, for example, adapt their application form to request a lender's applicable interest rate, visit the property to establish whether payday lending is taking place, or use local knowledge.

162. From 1 April 2020, unoccupied properties are not eligible for SBBS. This applies regardless of whether the property is in receipt of Empty Property Relief at the time of application for SBBS.

163. If backdated relief is applied for, local authorities will need to establish whether the applicant has been liable for the property's rates for the period in question (they may request supporting evidence from the applicant), and also the applicable relief legislatively provided for relating to different time periods. There is no statutory time limit for which the award of SBBS can be backdated, other than the commencement of the respective legislative provisions.

164. This relief is mandatory and 100% funded by the Scottish Government.

165. It is unlikely that this relief would be TCA MFA as it is a general measure (except for payday lending).



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