HCR Law Events

27 March 2020

My business is required to close because of Covid-19. What business rates relief am I eligible for?

As a result of Covid-19 the government has forced many businesses to close. In addition to other measures the government has brought in, businesses in certain sectors will be eligible for some form of rates relief in the 2020 to 2021 tax year. The business sectors affected and the relief available is set out in table 1.

For retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, the types businesses that are affected are laid out in table 2. The list is not exhaustive because this would be impossible. Instead, it is up to your local authority to use the list to decide which properties qualify for the relevant reliefs.

How do I know if my business meets the criteria for business rates relief?

To qualify for the relief, you must use the premises entirely or mainly for a qualifying purpose. If you have closed your premises as a result of Covid-19, but were using them entirely or mainly for a qualifying purpose before you closed, you will be eligible for the relief. If you occupy premises but do not use them for a qualifying purpose, you will not be eligible for relief.

How do I claim business rates relief if my business eligible?

You do not have to contact your local authority. If you are eligible for relief, it will be applied automatically. Your local authority will send you an updated bill to confirm the relief. If you have paid already, you should receive a refund from your local authority. In this case, you may want to contact your local authority to confirm your payment details are correct.

If you are likely to benefit from a 100% discount then you may want to consider cancelling any direct debit or standing order so that payment cannot be taken in April. Retaining as much cash as possible in your business will be critical over the coming months.

Table 1 – rates relief available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses and children’s nurseries

 

Table 2 – examples of businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors eligible for business rates relief

 

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James Letchford, Partner

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