Non-domestic rates, often referred to as business rates, are levied on non-domestic properties, subject to statutory exemptions and reliefs. The valuation of non-domestic properties is undertaken independently by the Scottish Assessors, subject to statutory appeal processes, with all valuations freely accessible on the Scottish Assessors' website. Scottish Ministers set a national poundage (tax rate) annually, which is applied to a property's rateable value. Rating, including billing, collection, enforcement and determination of rates relief, is undertaken by local authorities. A ratepayer may appeal to the local authority on the grounds that they are being improperly charged.
A number of reliefs are available for certain types of property nationally under Scottish law. These are subject to the domestic subsidy control regime, which is governed by the UK's international commitments on subsidy control arising from, amongst others, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), World Trade Organisation Membership, and commitments arising from international treaties and agreements to which the UK is a party. Some reliefs are mandatory (i.e. must be applied) and some are discretionary (i.e. local authorities have discretion as to their application).
Under Part 11 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, local authorities may also reduce or remit non-domestic rates. In doing so, they must have regard to the authority's expenditure and income and the interests of persons liable to pay council tax set by the authority. The revenue impact of local reliefs must be borne by the local authority.
Detailed information on non-domestic rates and reliefs can be found in the background notes of this publication, in information on non-domestic rates relief on mygov.scot, and in the detailed guidance for local authorities published in Local government finance circular 04/2022.
In this publication, "relief" may mean either a full or partial relief or an exemption from non-domestic rates. The term "properties" is used for lands and heritages listed as separate entries on the Valuation Roll – most of which are buildings such as shops, offices, warehouses, and self-catering properties, though a small number may be land, for example shooting rights and car parks.
The information in this publication is derived from the annual local authority Billing System Snapshot, which is a list of each individual relief in place at the snapshot date, along with associated property reference numbers. Detailed information about this data collection can be found in the Billing System Snapshot guidance for local authorities. These reference numbers are used to match each relief to the property details on the Valuation Roll, which is obtained from the Scottish Assessors Association's website, via its Government Users Portal. The continued co-operation of local authorities in providing the Billing System Snapshot is gratefully acknowledged.
Some properties receive more than one type of relief, so the total number of reliefs awarded is greater than the total number of properties receiving relief.
Zero-rated properties have been excluded from all tables in the publication, except where noted in Table 2a, and from Table 12.
Notes to tables
The following notes apply to some of the tables in this publication. Additional notes may apply to tables in the associated workbooks, and are defined in the 'Notes to tables' sheet of each workbook.
[x] Data is not available.
[d] This relief had not yet been introduced at this snapshot date, or it had been discontinued prior to this snapshot date.
[y] This data is not separately available, and is included in 'Other relief' figures.
[low] This value is greater than zero but rounds down to zero.
note 1: Zero-rated properties are those which have their rateable values set to 0, e.g. properties under reconstruction.
note 2: For 2020, excludes properties receiving only the 1.6% universal relief.
note 3: For 2020, '100% relief' was in effect a 98.4% relief, combined with the 1.6% universal relief awarded to every property.
note 4: Local authorities periodically undertake reviews of Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) awards, which may include cancelling all relief awards and inviting ratepayers to re-apply. This may result in a lower number of recipients reported at a snapshot, even if the awards are later re-instated and backdated.
note 5: The Retail, Hospitality, Leisure and Aviation (RHLA) relief required an application in 2021-22, having previously been awarded automatically.
note 6: The relief values are the awards given as at the snapshot date, and do not necessarily reflect the cost of a given award over the full year.
note 7: The value of discretionary reliefs includes both the Scottish Government's contribution and the councils' own contributions to the cost. Other published data on reliefs includes only the Scottish Government's contribution to the costs of reliefs.
note 8: Includes the value of the 1.6% universal relief awarded to properties receiving another relief. Excludes the value of the 1.6% universal relief awarded to properties receiving no other reliefs.
note 9: Includes all reliefs, including the 1.6% universal relief awarded to all properties.
note 10: Most properties in receipt of less than 100% SBBS relief will receive 25% relief; however, some may receive a different relief percentage if receiving SBBS in combination with another relief.
The values of reliefs in this publication are the value of awards as at the snapshot date, and do not necessarily reflect the cost of a given award over the full year – for example, some reliefs will be awarded later in the year and will be backdated, while some may have been cancelled before the snapshot date. Rateable values may also change during the course of the year, which would affect final annual relief values.
The numbers and values of reliefs awarded that are presented in this publication include both mandatory and discretionary reliefs.
Some reliefs are fully mandatory (e.g. SBBS relief) or fully discretionary, while some reliefs have a mandatory and a discretionary component (e.g. charity or sports relief for registered charities or Community Amateur Sports Clubs).
Mandatory reliefs (or mandatory components of reliefs) are fully funded by the Scottish Government, whereas discretionary reliefs (or discretionary components of reliefs) are generally 25% funded by councils with the Scottish Government funding the remaining 75% (though this can vary, e.g. discretionary sports relief can in certain cases be 100% funded by the Scottish Government).
Other sources of non-domestic rates income data present only the Scottish Government's contribution to the value of reliefs. For instance, Scottish Local Government Financial Statistics show final, audited relief values, which are the actual values of the reliefs for the entire year, and, unlike the relief values in this publication, include only the Scottish Government's contribution to the values of discretionary reliefs. Figures for 2022-23 are expected to be published in SLGFS in early 2024.
The Billing System Snapshot is usually taken two to three months following annual billing, to allow time for councils to process relief (re)applications from ratepayers following receipt of their bills, to give as full a picture as possible of current relief entitlement.
The snapshot date in 2022 was 1 July, to capture the reliefs in place after the expiration of RHL relief at the end of June 2022. Previous snapshot dates were 1 June in 2018, 31 May in 2019 - due to 1 June being a Saturday, 1 July in 2020 – delayed by a month as most local authorities had delayed their annual billing due to the COVID-19 pandemic - and 1 June in 2021.
Previous publications (pre-2019) of SBBS relief statistics were based on summary returns (SBBS totals) from local authorities. For this reason, headline figures in pre-2019 SBBS publications are not comparable with the headline SBBS figures presented in this publication.
Non-domestic rates are a property tax. They are based on the rateable value of a non-domestic property, multiplied by a poundage set nationally by Scottish Ministers. In 2022-23, the poundage rates are:
- a Basic Property Rate (poundage) of 49.8p for properties with a rateable value not exceeding £51,000;
- the Intermediate Property Rate of 51.1p (1.3p supplement on the basic poundage) for properties with a rateable value greater than £51,000, but not exceeding £95,000; and
- the Higher Property Rate of 52.4p (2.6p supplement on the basic poundage) for properties with a rateable value greater than £95,000.
For example, a property with a rateable value of £20,000 will have a gross bill of £20,000 × 0.498 = £9,960 (before any reliefs).
A property with a rateable value of £100,000 would have a gross bill of £100,000 × (0.498 + 0.026) = £52,400 (before any reliefs).
A number of reliefs are available for certain types of property, some of which are mandatory (i.e. they must be applied) and some are discretionary (i.e. local authorities have discretion as to their application). Most reliefs are application-based, and the ratepayer must submit an application to the local authority (except in the case of Religious exemptions and Lighthouse relief – which are automatically granted at 100%). Local authorities may not necessarily require recurrent annual applications, but in some cases they may review certain reliefs by requiring all recipients to re-apply.
Reliefs are awarded as a percentage of the gross bill, and in some cases, notably SBBS relief, are based on the rateable value of the property.
More detail about eligibility for the SBBS relief is set out Table 14 below.
Eligibility for SBBS relief
SBBS offers up to 100% relief on non-domestic rates bills for eligible properties in Scotland. Eligibility for SBBS relief and the level of relief awarded will depend upon the individual rateable value of each property occupied by the ratepayer, and the cumulative rateable value of all the properties in Scotland of which a person is in rateable occupation (or, if vacant, which the ratepayer is entitled to occupy – though SBBS cannot be awarded to vacant properties).
If the total rateable value of the ratepayer's properties is above £35,000, none of the properties will be eligible for SBBS relief, even if some or all of the ratepayer's properties have rateable values below the individual property SBBS relief thresholds.
|Year||Rateable Value (RV) Band||Relief for higher value business chains|
|2008-09||Cumulative RV threshold*||up to £8,000||£8,001 to £10,000||£10,001 to £15,000||greater than £15,000|
|2009-10||Cumulative RV threshold*||up to £8,000||£8,001 to £10,000||£10,001 to £15,000||greater than £15,000|
|2010-11 to 2013-14||Cumulative RV threshold*||up to £10,000||£10,001 to £12,000||£12,001 to £18,000||£18,000 to £25,000|
|Relief||100%||50%||25%||25% on each individual property with an RV not exceeding £18,000|
|2014-15 to 2015-16||Cumulative RV threshold*||up to £10,000||£10,001 to £12,000||£12,001 to £18,000||£18,000 to £35,000|
|Relief||100%||50%||25%||25% on each individual property with an RV not exceeding £18,000|
|2017-18 onwards||Cumulative RV threshold*||up to £15,000||N/A||£15,001 to £18,000||Over £18,000 and up to £35,000|
|Relief||100%||N/A||25%||25% on each individual property with an RV not exceeding £18,000|
* Lower, Middle and Upper RV bands also apply to ratepayers with a single property
Eligibility for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief
The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) relief was awarded upon application to properties used for specific purposes, outlined in the Schedule to The Non-Domestic Rates (Coronavirus Reliefs) (Scotland) Regulations 2022. This includes bed and breakfast accommodation; camping sites; caravans; caravan sites; chalets, holiday huts and bothies; guest houses, hotels and hostels; public houses; restaurants; self-catering accommodation; timeshare accommodation; markets; retail shops; leisure (arts galleries or centres; sports clubs; sports centres; sports grounds; clubhouses; gymnasiums; museums; cinemas; theatres; music venues; ticket offices; recreation grounds; bingo halls; tourist attractions or facilities; soft play centres; amusement arcades excluding those licensed for sub-category B2 gaming machines); service providers (hair and beauty services, shoe repairs, key cutting, photo processing, laundry services, car or tool hire, car washing or repair of domestic electronic/electrical goods); letting agencies and funeral parlours; travel agencies; newspaper publishing.
The RHL relief was available from 1 April 2022 until 30 June 2022. This relief could be awarded up to 50% of the total gross bill for a property for that period, with a cap of £27,500 per ratepayer.
As the snapshot date was 1 July 2022, this publication does not include information on RHL relief for 2022, except for table 13, which shows data as at 30 June 2022.
Figures showing numbers of properties or reliefs have been rounded to the nearest ten. Numbers greater than zero but which round down to zero are shown as [low]. Actual zero values (both counts and values) are shown as 0. Some figures may not sum due to rounding. Figures showing proportions and relief values have not been rounded. Please note that this constitutes a change compared to how these values were presented in previous years.
Reliefs reported as being awarded to zero-rated properties are excluded from this table, except where noted otherwise. Zero-rated properties are those which have their rateable values set to 0, e.g. properties under reconstruction. For more information on zero-rated properties in receipt of relief, please see Table 12.
"Properties" refers to subjects listed as separate entries in the Valuation Roll, and includes shops, offices, warehouses, but also self-catering properties, properties that do not necessarily contain buildings (e.g. bare ground, sporting rights), etc.
The total number of reliefs awarded is greater than the number of properties in receipt of relief as some properties receive more than one type of relief.
Specific local authorities have responsibility for utilities valued under the designated assessors regime:
- Electricity – South Lanarkshire Council
- Water – Fife Council
- Gas – West Dunbartonshire Council
- Docks and harbours – Falkirk Council
- Railways – Highland Council
- Canals – Highland Council
- Fixed-line communications – Renfrewshire Council
More information on non-domestic rates, including appeals procedures and reliefs, is available in the guidance on non-domestic rates and relief, including appeals, on mygov.scot.
Further Local Government Finance statistics can be found in the Local government finance statistics collection on the Scottish Government website. This includes a section on non-domestic rates statistics, including revaluation appeals, reliefs, income, and COVID-19 business support grants.
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