Business rates relief

If you are eligible for a business rates relief scheme, we can reduce your business rates.

In Harlow, you can apply for:

  • retail, hospitality and leisure relief
  • supporting small business relief
  • heat network relief 
  • small business rate relief
  • charity and discretionary relief
  • community amateur sports club relief
  • unoccupied properties relief
  • local discretionary relief
  • Enterprise Zone relief
  • local newspapers relief

You can read more about discretionary relief in our discretionary relief policy:

Retail, hospitality and leisure relief

You could qualify for retail, hospitality and leisure relief if your business’ premises is occupied and mainly being used as a:

  • shop
  • restaurant, café, bar or pub
  • cinema or music venue
  • hospitality or leisure business - for example, a gym, a spa or a hotel

If you’re eligible, you could get:

  • 50% off your business rates bills for the 2022 to 2023 tax year (1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023)
  • 75% off your business rates bills for the 2023 to 2024 tax year (1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024)

The most you can get in each tax year is £110,000 per business or the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance limit of £343,000 over 3 years (including 2022 to 2023).

The relief is applied after all other reliefs have been applied.

You can read more information about the schemes in our:

Information on previous year schemes is in our discretionary rate relief policies.

Supporting small business relief

Revaluation 2023

You can get supporting small business relief from 1 April 2023 if both of the following apply:

  • your business property’s bill is going up after the next revaluation on 1 April 2023
  • you’ll lose some or all of your small business rate relief or rural rate relief

If you’re eligible, your bills will go up by no more than £600 for the 2023 to 2024 tax year and we will adjust your bill accordingly.

You can read more about this relief in our supporting small business relief policy 2023 to 2026 (pdf)

Revaluation 2017

The supporting small business relief helps ratepayers who are losing some or all of the small business relief as a result of the 2017 revaluation and are facing large increases in their bills.  

The scheme will ensure that the increase per year is limited to the greater of the following plus inflation:

  • a cash value of £600 per year, or
  • a percentage increase per year of:
    • 5% for 2017 to 2018
    • 7.5% for 2018 to 2019
    • 10% for 2019 to 2020
    • 15% for 2020 to 2021
    • 15% for 2021 to 2022
    • 15% for 2022 to 2023

It was initially intended that this would run for 5 years to 31 March 2022, but this has been extended for a further year to 31 March 2023. Ratepayers will receive the relief until this date or they reach what their bill would have been within the relief scheme, whichever is first.

You can read more about this relief in our supporting small business relief policy 2022 to 2023 (pdf)

Heat network relief

Heat network relief is available for the period 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024.

A heat network is a facility, such as a district heating scheme, which supplies thermal energy from a central source to consumers via a network of pipes for the purposes of space heating, space cooling or domestic hot water.

To be eligible for heat network relief, the hereditament must be both:

  • wholly or mainly used for the purposes of a heat network
  • expected to generate the heat over the next 12 months from a low carbon source (irrespective of whether that source is located on the hereditament or on a different hereditament)

You can read more about this relief in our heat network relief policy 2023 to 2024 (pdf)

Small business rate relief

If you occupy a property with a rateable value under £15,000 and are not entitled to another mandatory relief, you can claim relief on business rates, called small business rate relief.

Small business rate relief is on a sliding scale:

  • properties with a rateable value of up to £12,000 get 100% relief
  • for properties with a rateable value between £12,001 and £15,000, relief goes down gradually from 100% at £12,001 to 0% at £15,000

To apply for this relief, you need to complete our small business relief application form (pdf) and email or post it back to us.

If you occupy more than one property

You can still claim small business rate relief if the main property you occupy has a rateable value less than £15,000, your other property each have a rateable value below £2,900, and the total of all properties you occupy is less than £20,000.

The relief is awarded on the rateable value of the main property only.

If you're already in receipt of small business rate relief and you occupy a second property you can keep your existing relief for one year by contacting our Revenues and Benefits team.

If you’re a small business but do not qualify for small business rate relief

If you occupy a property with a rateable value that does not exceed £50,999 and are not entitled to another mandatory relief, you’re considered a small business and you’ll pay lower rates even if you don’t get small business rate relief.

This is because your rates are worked out using the small business multiplier.

You do not need to apply for this. We’ll automatically adjust your business rates if you qualify.

You can see the current multipliers on our liability and appeals page

Charity and discretionary

Charities are entitled to 80% mandatory relief if the property is occupied by the charity and the property is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.

Charities are entitled to 90% relief where the ratepayer is a charity and the property is unoccupied, but it appears that when next in use the property will be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.

We have discretion to give additional relief on the remaining bill.

We also have discretion to give relief of up to 100% for properties occupied by certain non-profit organisations.

To claim charity and discretionary relief, you will need to complete a relief application form (pdf) and email or post it back to us.

You can read more about discretionary relief in our discretionary relief policy.

Community amateur sports club relief

Community amateur sports clubs are entitled to 80% mandatory relief if the property is used for sports club purposes and the sports club is registered as a community amateur sports club with the Inland Revenue.

We have discretion to give additional relief on the remaining bill.

To claim community amateur sports club relief, you will need to complete a relief application form (pdf) and email or post it back to us.

You can read more about discretionary relief in our discretionary relief policy.

Unoccupied properties relief

Unoccupied properties are exempt from business rates for 3 months, and certain industrial buildings for 6 months.

These exemptions apply to the property from when it first became unoccupied.

Some properties remain exempt until they become occupied again. The following are examples of properties that are exempt until they become occupied:

  • listed buildings
  • properties with rateable value under £2,900 (effective from 1 April 2017)
  • properties owned by charities, if the intention is to use them for charitable purposes in future
  • community amateur sports club properties, if the intention is to use them as a sports club in future

Partly occupied property relief

If a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied, the ratepayer is still liable for the full business rates.

If a property is partly occupied for a short time, we have the discretion to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.

Local discretionary relief

We can provide discretionary relief to local businesses over 4 years, from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2021.

You can read more about discretionary relief in our discretionary relief policy.

Harlow Enterprise Zone relief

Businesses in Harlow Enterprise Zone may be able to claim relief of up to 100% for 5 years.

We give relief on business rates for 5 years up to a limit of £55,000 per year and a maximum of £275,000 to encourage businesses to move into the Enterprise Zone.

To qualify, your business will need be involved in the sectors targeted by the Enterprise Zone:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • information communication technology
  • life science

For more details on how to meet the criteria for Enterprise Zone relief, you can read our Enterprise Zone relief policy (pdf). 

The relief is subject to State Aid limits.

To apply for this relief, you need to complete the Enterprise Zone relief application form (pdf) and email or post it back to us.

Local newspapers relief

Properties occupied by local newspapers can claim relief of up to £1,500 a year for 3 years from 1 April 2017.

The relief is subject to State Aid limits.

You can read more about discretionary relief in our discretionary relief policy.

Contact information

Office
Revenues and Benefits
Harlow Council
Civic Centre
The Water Gardens
College Square
Harlow CM20 1WG