About business rates

Find out how business rates are calculated and how you can estimate your bill.

Business rates, or national non-domestic rates (NNDR), are collected by local authorities so that those who occupy non-domestic property pay towards the cost of local services.

Business rates are charged on most business properties including:

  • shops
  • offices
  • pubs
  • warehouses and factories
  • holiday homes if they are let for 140 days or more per year
  • businesses that are run from domestic properties

Payment of business rates is automatically set over ten months. However, you can ask to have your payments set over 12 months. Contact us as soon as possible if you wish to take up this offer.

 You can read more information in our billing leaflet (pdf / 123 KB).

How your business rates are calculated

We multiply the rateable value of an individual property, which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), by the national non-domestic standard multiplier or the small business multiplier (depending on the size of your business) which is set by central government. It is set for the whole of England and runs from 1 April each year. To find out how rateable values are assessed for different types of premises visit the business rates section of the government's website.

What is the rateable value?

A property’s rateable value is an assessment of the annual rent the property would rent for if it were available to let on the open market at a fixed valuation date. The valuation is based on information that the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) holds about your property. The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill.

You can view your rateable value on the business rates section of the government website. You can check and challenge your business rates valuation with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) if your property details need changing or you think that your rateable value is too high. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) may accept your alter the value if your circumstances change. If you are in the process of challenging or appealing you cannot withhold payments in respect of any business rates bill you have received.

If you have any queries about the valuation of a non-domestic property you should visit the Valuation Office Agency’s website or call 03000 501501.

What is the non-domestic multiplier?

The multiplier represents the number of pence in each pound of the rateable value that will be payable in business rates before any relief or discounts are applied. The calculation gives the amount of rates payable for the year.

The small business multiplier is applied to any occupied property with a rateable value below £51,000. The standard multiplier is applied to those with a rateable value of £51,000 or more. The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.

The government reviews the multiplier each year to reflect changes in inflation. The list of multipliers can be viewed on the business rates calculator section of the government website.

Frequently asked questions

Who does what?

Different government agencies deal with different parts of the business rates: 

  • the Valuation Office Agency sets the rateable value on which your rates are based 
  • the government sets the multiplier and makes national rules about business rates 
  • your council bills and collects the business rates 

What is revaluation?

The Valuation Office Agency reassesses and updates the rateable values of all business properties every five years to reflect changes in the property market. This is called revaluation.

On 1 April 2023 the latest revaluation of properties for business rates took effect and has been based on the rental value of properties on 1 April 2021 in England. More information is available on the the government's revaluation 2023 web page.

What is transitional relief?

Many ratepayers will only see a small change in their rates bill at the revaluation. For those that see a significant change, either an increase or decrease, transitional arrangements are used to phase in these changes to allow ratepayers time to adjust to their new rates bill. 

Those who face a large increase will see their bill capped by transitional relief each year at a set percentage increase. Those ratepayers who see a large decrease will not get the full benefit immediately but will have the reduction capped by transitional surcharge at a set percentage. 

When calculating transitional relief/surcharge, what is classed as ‘large’ is set by central government, and consists of a set percentage plus an annual inflation factor. 

Limits on increases


Rateable value £20,000 or less 

Rateable value £20,001 to £100,000 

Rateable value £100,001 or above 



12.5 % 




17.5 % 














Limits on decreases 


Rateable value £20,000 or less 

Rateable value £20,001 to £100,000 

Rateable value £100,001 or above 



90 % 




85 % 














Those affected will automatically see transitional calculations on their business rates bill. 

What information will we provide to rating agents?

All requests from rating agents and surveyors must be accompanied by a letter of authority from the ratepayer.

Rating audits

We do not have the resources to provide information for requests asking for charges going back to the start of accounts, in some cases this will be from 1 April 1990. If you feel a specific error has been made by us on a client’s account, we can check our calculation and make amendments if necessary. Agents must however supply us with an account/property reference for their client’s accounts. 


Usually credits on business rate accounts are refunded at the time they occur. We prefer to refund direct to a client’s bank account, and in some cases may send out a credit account requesting bank account details.

Empty property reductions

Any request for empty property exemptions/reliefs should be made at the time of vacation. Retrospective claims will only be considered in exceptional circumstances and where substantial documentary evidence can be provided. 

Section 44a requests

We use our discretion to grant relief to reflect partial occupation and phased vacation/occupation. Relief is only granted where a situation is seen as temporary. We do not accept retrospective claims. 

To make a claim you must provide: 

  • floor plans and measurements 
  • the reason for the application 
  • start date 
  • estimated timescale

To claim: 

Valuation Office Agency updates to the rating list

An update is received weekly from the Valuation Office. Amendments are usually processed within two weeks, however there maybe some instances where adjustments take longer. Revised accounts and refunds are forwarded directly to the client, unless otherwise requested. 

Do I need to use rating agents to help access business rate relief?

No. As a ratepayer you maybe approached by companies that promise to act on your behalf to reduce your rates liability. Some of these companies are charging fees for securing access to existing reliefs to which you are already entitled to.  

For details of relief available visit our business rate relief and discounts page.

Can I get an estimate of my bill?

You can estimate your business rates bill using the estimator on the calculate your business rates page on the government website.

Do you have to pay business rates for unoccupied property?

You do not have to pay business rates on empty buildings for the first three months, or six months for property that is classed as industrial. Most businesses must then pay full business rates. 

The following types of property may receive an exemption to pay rates whilst they remain empty: 

  • listed buildings 
  • where the rateable value of the property is less than £2,900 
  • where the liable party is a personal representative of a deceased person 
  • where the liable party is subject to a bankruptcy order, liquidation or administration 
  • properties that are forbidden by law from being occupied 
  • properties owned by charities or community amateur sports clubs where its next use will be mostly for charity or as a sports club

Valuation enquiries

If you have any queries about the valuation of a non-domestic property you should visit the Valuation Office Agency’s website or call 03000 501501.