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. Qualifying businesses will receive the rate relief on their annual bill during the life of the support scheme.
The SBRR scheme came into effect in April 2010 for five years. It has now been extended until 31 March 2018.
Who qualifies for SBRR?
Eligibility for the SBRR is based on the Net Annual Value (NAV) of your business property.
Following a review of commercial rating by the Northern Ireland Executive (and subject to the regulations being made) the existing NAV band of 20 per cent relief has been extended to £15,000. This is available from 1 April 2013.
There are three levels of SBRR:
- business properties with an NAV of £2,000 or less will receive a reduction of 50 per cent relief
- business properties with an NAV of more than £2,000 but not more than £5,000 will receive 25 per cent relief
- business properties with an NAV of more than £5,000 but not more than £15,000 will receive a 20 per cent 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
- Back in Business rate support scheme
For further information on SBRR download the Land & Property Services's (LPS) factsheet on Small Business Rate Relief (PDF, 459K).
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.
Important changes to SBRR
From 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 LPS by the following methods:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tel 0300 200 7801 (charged at local rate)
- Tel +44 28 9049 5794 if calling from outside the UK
- Text relay 18001 0300 200 7801
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:
- Sport and Recreation Rate Relief
- Industrial Derating
- Freight and Transport Relief
- Back in Business rate support
From 1 April 2013, if you receive any of the above reliefs you will no longer receive SBRR. If you apply and qualify for Back in Business rate support, this will be awarded for a period of one year from your date of occupation. When the one year award comes to an end SBRR will be automatically awarded to the rate account. You will continue to receive SBRR up until 31 March 2018 (provided there is no change in your circumstances that would affect your entitlement to the relief).
If you have a query regarding your business rates you should contact Land & Property Services.