Wealden District Council
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Business Rates

*We have been advised that certain companies are asking for large sums of money in return for claiming unpaid credit balances in respect of Business Rates.  If you believe that you are due a refund in respect of overpaid rates, please contact us directly*

Business Rates Explanatory Notes

National Non-Domestic Rates, or business rates are a statutory tax levied by central government on those responsible for commercial property. National Non-Domestic Rates are also referred to as Business Rates and is the equivalent of Council Tax for non-domestic properties.

Business rates collected by local authorities are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1st April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. The money, together with revenue from council taxpayers, locally generated income and grants from central government, is used to pay for the services provided by local authorities in your area.

Further information about the business rates system, can be found on the GOV.UK website  

Business Rates are a national tax set by Central Government and therefore Councils’ are unable to alter the amount of rates due. If you believe your Business Rate charges are too high or there has been a change in material circumstances, then you can appeal to the Valuation Office for reassessment. If you are appealing, please note that the Government Regulations require you to pay the rates based on the current rateable value until the appeal has been concluded. If you are successful in your appeal and the rateable value is reduced, then any overpayment of rates made will be refunded to you. Provided payments have been made on time, interest is awarded at a rate specified by the Government annually.

Check, Challenge and Appeal

In 2017 a new business rates appeal process came into effect in England and Wales known as Check, Challenge, Appeal. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) deals with checks and challenges, while the independent Valuation Tribunal for England handles appeals.

Check and Challenge

You can review your rateable value on the GOV.UK website, and if you have reason to believe that your rateable value is not correct, details on how to check and challenge can be found on their website.
  • Check – review and confirm the facts about your property held by the VOA
  • Challenge – once the facts are established, explain why you believe your valuation is wrong
To appeal your business rates you will need to complete the Check and Check and Challenge process. If you wish to be represented Members of the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation  are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a rating agent, check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise and the appropriate indemnity insurance. If necessary, seek further advice before entering into a contract. The Valuation Office Agency gives advice on rating agents 

When to Pay

  • For a full financial year by 10 monthly instalments due by 15th day of each month from April to January inclusive.
  • For a full financial year by 12 monthly instalments by 15th day of each month from April to March inclusive. You will have to make your request in writing to the Council in order to do this.
  • Bills issued after 1st April will have their monthly instalments calculated by the number of months left in the financial year less one.
  • By a single payment by the 15th April.
  • Twice yearly with a sum equal to five monthly instalments by the 15th April with the balance by 15th September.

Methods of payment

There are a number of different methods of payment available for you to choose from and where possible we would prefer you to use one of the electronic methods.

How Do I Pay Online?

You can pay your Non-domestic (Business) Rates by debit or credit card using our online payment system;

Pay your Business Rates

Can I set up a direct debit?

Yes you can set-up a Direct Debit by using our Direct Debit form

If you are having problems paying your Business Rates then please Contact us immediately.

What are the steps taken if I do not pay?

If a Business Rates instalment is not paid then the following steps will be taken by the Council.

  1. Reminder – Reminder letter sent
  2. Final Notice issued – You may receive this notice under certain circumstances but not always. This notice stops your right to pay by instalments and requests that the full balance remaining on the account is paid within 7 days.
  3. Court Summons – If payment is not received following the Reminder and/or Final Notice then a summons will be issued and the person liable will have to appear at a designated Magistrates Court. Further cost will be incurred due to the court costs. There is no need to attend court if you accept that the Business Rates is due.
  4. Further Steps – At the court hearing the Council will ask for the Magistrates to issue a liability order. This will enable the Council to take further steps to recover outstanding Council Tax. See how the Council recovers unpaid Business Rates in the section below. 

How the Council recovers unpaid Business Rates

The council may take the following methods when recovering Business Rates


The debt is paid off in a number of instalments

Enforcement Agent

We may refer your debt to our in-house Enforcement Agents for collection. We may on occasion use external Enforcement Agents.

This will mean you will have to pay Enforcement Agent fees. 

Any payment or arrangements for payment will have to be made directly with them. They have the power to remove your goods if they don’t get payment in full or a suitable payment arrangement.

Bankruptcy or Winding up proceedings

The Council can commence bankruptcy or winding up proceedings against you.


If your business is moving in or out of the district, you can tell us here;

There are different reliefs available for business premises depending on its status and use – please see the relief details below for more information.

Property Relief (s44A)

A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied.

Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the local authority has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.

For further details see the Part Occupation guidelines .

Apply for Partly Occupied Property Relief

If you would like more information about Partly Occupied Relief or any other reduction please contact us using our online contact us form

Payment of business rate bills is automatically set on a 10-monthly cycle. However, the Government has put in place regulations that allow ratepayers to pay their business rates through 12 monthly instalments. If you wish to take up this offer, you should contact us as soon as possible.

We work out the business rates bill for a property by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate non-domestic multiplier.

There are two multipliers: the national non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The Government sets the multipliers for each financial year, except in the City of London where special arrangements apply.

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999  will have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier.

Both multipliers for a financial year are based on the previous year’s multiplier adjusted to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figure for the September prior to the billing year. The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.

Small Business Multiplier49.9p49.9p49.9p49.9p49.9p
Higher Multipliers54.6p51.2p51.2p51.2p51.2p
Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. They compile and maintain a full list of all rateable values, available to view on the GOV.UK website. The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date specified in legislation. The revaluation will take effect on the 1st of April 2023, with rating list based on the rental value on the 1st of April 2021. The Valuation Office Agency may alter the valuation if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can also check and challenge the valuation shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Further information about the grounds on which challenges may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the VOA website.
All non-domestic property rateable values are reassessed at revaluations. The most recent revaluation took effect from 1st April 2023. Revaluations ensure that business rates bills are up-to-date, more accurately reflect current rental values and relative changes in rents. Frequent revaluations ensure the system continues to be responsive to changing economic conditions.
Depending on individual circumstances, a ratepayer may be eligible for a rate relief (i.e. a reduction in your business rates bill). There are a range of available reliefs. Some of the permanent reliefs are set out below but temporary reliefs may be introduced by the Government at a fiscal event . You should contact Wealden District Council for details on the latest availability of business rates reliefs and advice on whether you may qualify. Further detail on reliefs is also provided at www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates Small Business Rates Relief If a ratepayer’s sole or main property has a rateable value which does not exceed a set threshold, the ratepayer may receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 100%. The level of reduction will depend on the rateable value of the property. For example eligible properties below a specified lower threshold will receive 100% relief, while eligible properties above the lower threshold and below a specified upper threshold may receive partial relief . The relevant thresholds for relief are set by the Government by order and can be obtained from your local authority or at www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates. Generally, this percentage reduction (reliefs) are only available to ratepayers who occupy either— (a) one property, or (b) one main property and other additional properties provided those additional properties each have a rateable value which does not exceed the limit set by order. The aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b), must also not exceed an amount set by order. For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, they will be allowed to keep that relief for a fixed additional period. Full details on the relevant limits in relation to second properties and the current period for which a ratepayer may continue to receive relief after taking on an additional property can be obtained from Wealden District Council or at www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the local authority by the ratepayer who is in receipt of relief (other changes will be picked up by the local authority). The changes which should be notified are— (a) the property falls vacant, (b) the ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property, and (c) an increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted the relief Charity and Community Amateur Sports Club Relief Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the club and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the purposes of the club (or of that and other clubs). The local authority has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Full details can be obtained from Wealden District Council. Unoccupied Property Rate Relief Business rates are generally payable in respect of unoccupied non-domestic property. However, they are generally not payable for the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain other properties (for example industrial premises or listed buildings). Full details on exemptions can be obtained from your Wealden District Council or from gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-business-rate-relief Rate Relief for Businesses in Rural Areas Certain types of properties in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000 may be entitled to a discount. The property must be the only general store, the only post office or a food shop and have a rateable value of less than £8,500, or the only public house or the only petrol station and have a rateable value of less than £12,500. The property has to be occupied. An eligible ratepayer is entitled to relief at 50% of the full charge whilst local authorities are expected to use their local discount powers to grant 100% rural rate relief to eligible ratepayers. Full details can be obtained from Wealden District Council. Transitional Rate Relief At a revaluation, some ratepayers will see reductions or no change in their bill whereas some ratepayers will see increases. Transitional relief schemes are introduced at each revaluation to help those facing increases. Transitional relief is applied automatically to bills. Further information about transitional arrangements and other reliefs may be obtained from the local authority or at www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates. Local Discounts Local authorities have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts and to give hardship relief in specific circumstances. Full details can be obtained from Wealden District Council.

The new UK subsidy control scheme commenced from 4th January 2023. The new
regime enables public authorities, including devolved administrations and local authorities,
to deliver subsidies that are tailored for local needs. Public authorities giving subsidies must
comply with the UK’s international subsidy control commitments. The Subsidy control
legislation provides the framework for a new UK wide subsidy control scheme. Further
information about subsidy control can be found on the gov.uk website at

Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)  and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV) are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct.

Before you employ a rating adviser or company you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance.

Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.

Information relating to the relevant and previous financial years in regard to the gross expenditure of the local authority is available to view on our website.  A hard copy is available on request by writing to Wealden District Council or telephone 01323 443322