Help available for business rates

Rates holiday

Guide

As part of emergency support measures agreed by the NI Executive in response to the COVID-19 crisis, most business ratepayers in Northern Ireland will benefit from a 4-month rates holiday and many from a 12-month rates holiday during the 2020-21 rating year.

The rates holidays are governed by The Rates (Coronavirus) (Emergency Relief) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (referred to hereafter as The Regulations).

Your 2020-21 business rate bill, issued in early August 2020, indicates whether your business will benefit from the 4-month rates holiday or the 12-month rates holiday. The holiday will apply to eligible business uses, whether the property is occupied or vacant.

If there is enough information available to LPS to indicate that the use of your property is considered to be eligible (as set out in The Regulations), the rates holiday will be automatically applied to your rate bill.

If you receive your rate bill and the rates holiday has not been already applied, and you consider that your property is used for one of the qualifying uses, please complete the online application form. LPS will use the information provided about your business use to decide if you are eligible for the rates holiday. Please note that LPS do not have the authority to award rates holidays other than to business uses as stated in The Regulations.

12-month rates holiday application form

4-month rates holiday

A 4-month rates holiday for all business ratepayers, excluding the public sector and utilities has been provided. This means that no rates will be charged between 1 April 2020 and 31 July 2020.

12-month rates holiday

The Regulations provide that properties used for certain purposes will not be charged business rates from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. The sectors are listed below, with examples of some of the qualifying uses:

  • Hospitality - including restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, public houses.
  • Tourism - including B&Bs (which pay business rates), guest houses, hotels, privately run caravan & camping sites, self-catering holiday accommodation, tourist attractions and facilities.
  • Leisure - including cinemas, theatres, leisure centres and facilities, museums, sports premises, sports grounds and associated sport clubs, clubhouses, and music venues.
  • Retail and retail services - shops of all types and sizes (excluding retail premises with retail floor space greater than 500m² Net Internal Area (NIA) and which is wholly or mainly used for the retail sale of food and household goods; and off-licences). Examples of services include hairdressers, barbers, nail and beauty services, fast food outlets, garden centres, travel agencies, car showrooms, auction houses, retail estate agents, and clothing, shoe or electrical goods repairs.
  • Childcare - children's day-care and nursery premises.
  • Airports - Belfast City Airport, Belfast International Airport and City of Derry Airport.
  • Newspapers - premises occupied by local newspaper companies for production purposes
  • Manufacturing - businesses in receipt of Industrial Derating

The Regulations set out the full list of business uses that may benefit from the scheme and the conditions that apply.

Further information - FAQs

Find further information in the frequently asked questions on the rates holiday (PDF, 650K).

  • Land & Property Services Helpline (including rates holiday enquiries)
    0300 200 7801