Guide

Help available for business rates

Small Business Rate Relief

Rates assistance for businesses impacted by COVID-19

The Finance Minister has announced a further £213 million of business rates support in addition to the emergency £100 million rates package to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. Find out more about COVID-19: Emergency rates package for businesses.

The Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) scheme is a Northern Ireland government initiative, whose aim is to support the growth and sustainability of small businesses in Northern Ireland, by providing some small business owners with rate relief.

The SBRR provides different levels of rate relief depending on the Net Annual Value (NAV) of the business property. Qualifying businesses will receive the rate relief automatically on their annual bill during the life of the support scheme. There is no need to apply for SBRR.

The SBRR scheme came into effect in April 2010 initially for a term of five years but has since been extended annually on review.

Who is eligible and how much rate relief can I expect?

Eligibility for the SBRR is based on the Net Annual Value (NAV) of your business property.

There are three levels of SBRR:

  • business properties with an NAV of £2,000 or less will receive a reduction of 50 per cent rate relief
  • business properties with an NAV of more than £2,000 but not more than £5,000 will receive 25 per cent rate relief
  • business properties with an NAV of more than £5,000 but not more than £15,000 will receive a 20 per cent rate relief

Exclusions for SBRR

The following exclusions apply in relation to the SBRR scheme:

  • unoccupied properties
  • partially unoccupied properties
  • Automatic Telling Machines (ATMs)
  • property used for the display of advertisements
  • car parks
  • sewage works
  • telecommunications masts
  • government buildings
  • contiguous properties
  • multiple properties (more than three)
  • sports and recreational relief
  • freight and transport relief
  • industrial derating

For further information on SBRR download the Land & Property Services' (LPS) factsheet on Small Business Rate Relief (PDF, 152K).

Do I need to apply for SBRR?

There is no application procedure for the SBRR. Instead, relief will be applied automatically to your business rates bill by LPS if you qualify. This will ensure that if you are eligible you will receive the benefit of the rate relief immediately.

You can contact LPS through the following methods:

Please note: Most LPS services are available, but LPS Customer Information Centres remain closed until further notice. The Ordnance Survey helpline remains closed until further notice, however queries can be directed to Mapping.Helpdesk@finance-ni.gov.uk. Helplines for rating and valuation, housing benefit, rates relief and land registration are open.

Closures will be kept under regular review in line with further Government announcements. Further information on service updates, helpline numbers and reaching LPS by email are available on the LPS website.

Important changes to SBRR

Multiple properties

Since 1 April 2012, the SBRR scheme has been modified so that those ratepayers that occupy multiple (more than three) premises of any size, or are part of a chain are not eligible for this rate relief. An example of this would be a chain of bookmakers.

There may be occasions, due to data quality issues, when LPS may not have the relevant information to apply the relief automatically, or they may have awarded it when it is not due. If you think that you should have been awarded the relief, or you believe you have been awarded it in error, you should contact LPS. You can contact your LPS local office by the following methods:

Please note: Most LPS services are available, but LPS Customer Information Centres remain closed until further notice. The Ordnance Survey helpline remains closed until further notice, however queries can be directed to Mapping.Helpdesk@finance-ni.gov.uk. Helplines for rating and valuation, housing benefit, rates relief and land registration are open.

Closures will be kept under regular review in line with further Government announcements. Further information on service updates, helpline numbers and reaching LPS by email are available on the LPS website.

Ending of 'double relief'

To help fund the extension of SBRR to as many business ratepayers as possible the NI Executive is ending ‘double relief’. Double relief refers to business ratepayers who are receiving rate relief twice. Specifically SBRR and one of the following:

If you have a query regarding your business rates you should contact Land & Property Services.