Scotland

MULTIPLIERS

* Estimated figures based upon predicted CPI

2020/21

In response to the financial uncertainty due to the COVID-19 outbreak a reduction of 1.6% will be applicable to all 3 levels of the 2020/21 ‘Multipliers’. This effectively freezes the ‘Multiplier’ at the 2019-20 Rate, however, due to the effect of any ‘Transitional Arrangement’, the charge will be calculated using the above ‘Multipliers’ and any ‘Transition’ will be factored in before the reduction of 1.6% is applied.

2021/22

To continue to support Ratepayers in the financial uncertainty caused by the outbreak of Covid-19, the basic property poundage has been reduced to 2019/20 levels.

TRANSITIONAL ARRANGMENTS

HOTELS AND PUBLIC HOUSES – ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

A national relief scheme was introduced on 1st April 2018 for any Hotel, Public House, Café or Restaurant that had a significant increase in their liability due to the 2017 Revaluation. Any increase in the yearly chargeable amount will be capped at 12.5%. The relief has been extended to the end of the 2017 ‘Scottish Valuation Roll’ – 31st March 2022.

OFFICE SPACE ABERDEEN AND ABERDEENSHIRE – ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

A local relief scheme was introduced from 1st April 2018 for any “Office Space” in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire that had a significant increase in their liability due to the 2017 Revaluation. Any increase in the yearly chargeable amount will be capped at 12.5%. The relief has been extended to the end of the 2017 ‘Scottish Valuation Roll’ – 31st March 2022.

* Both above transitional arrangements and relief are subject to Subsidy Allowances under Article 3.2(4) EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement by Subsidy Control

COVID-19 SPECIAL MEASURES

RETAIL, HOSPITATLITY AND LEISURE RELIEF

The Scottish Government have announced a 1-year extension to the 100% relief, extending the period to 24 months from 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2022, however, unlike in 2020-21 rate year where the relief was applied to accounts automatically. Any Ratepayer wishing to receive the relief in the 2021-22 rate year will need to apply directly to the relevant council.

The relief will be applicable to the following businesses:

  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Leisure

For further guidance on the government intention on how this discount will be administered, please see; https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/ This relief will only be applicable to occupied properties. Properties that have closed temporarily due to the government’s coronavirus advice will be treated as occupied.

AVIATION

Airports and Airlines

The Scottish Government have announced a 1-year extension to the 100% relief for Airport and Airlines, extending the period to 24 months from 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2022, however, unlike in 2020-21 rate year where the relief was applied to accounts automatically. Any Ratepayer wishing to receive the relief in the 2021-22 rate year will need to apply to the relevant council directly This will help ensure that the aviation industry can work towards restoring the connectivity needed to support both Scotland’s economy and Scotland’s Highland and island communities once this crisis is over. Due to the unique role that Loganair plays in providing connectivity in the Highlands and Islands, they will also get 100% rates relief for a year. No other airline will receive rate relief in Scotland.

Eligible handling service providers

Any organisations providing a “handling service” at Scottish airports will also get 100% rates relief from 1st April 2020 for a period of 24 months in line with Airports and Airlines The regulation defines a “handling service” as doing one or more of:

  • de-icing
  • re-fuelling
  • moving aircraft
  • waste servicing
  • allocation of seating
  • handling of baggage
  • supervision of boarding

The Scottish Government consider the ‘Provision of Handling Services’ as vital for the operation of the airport.

State Aid/Subsidy Allowances under Article 3.2(4) EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement by Subsidy Control- The Government’s assessment is that, given the impact of Covid-19, the ‘Relief’ outlined above is not subject to either of these restrictions on subsidy funding.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK BUSINESS FUND (SFBF) – RESTART GRANTS

To assist business that were required to close, those specifically those in the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality sectors, funding made up of a two week payment from the SFBF and a one off Restart grant will be paid to assist with the costs of reopening their businesses, the following funding is available: Retailers in receipt of SFBF will be eligible for grants up to £7,500 based on rateable value:

  • For properties with a rateable value below £51,000: £7,000 (£6,000+£1,000).
  • For properties with a rateable value above £51,001: £7,500 (£6,000+£1,500).

Hospitality and leisure in receipt of SFBF will be eligible for grants up to £18,000 based on rateable value:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under: £9,000 (£8,000+£1,000).
  • For properties with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000: £13,000 (£12,000+£1,000).
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51,001 or over: £19,500 (£18,000+£1,500).

For, any ratepayer who previously received a grant under the SFBF, will automatically receive the above funding, applications closed to the SFBF on 22nd March 2021, final payments should be received by 19th April 2021.

*The SFBF and Restart Grants are subject to the following Subsidy Allowances:

  • Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance – you’re allowed up to £335,000 (subject to exchange rates) over any period of 3 years
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance – you’re allowed up to £1,600,000
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance - if you have reached your limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, you may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £9,000,000, provided certain conditions are met

SMALL BUSINESS BONUS SCHEME

Businesses need to apply direct to the Billing Authority for relief under the Small Business Bonus Scheme. Since 1st April 2017, the following relief is available if the Rateable Value of your property is 15,000 or less. Based on the total aggregate Rateable Value (RV) of all your business premises, the following reliefs are available:

  • RV up to 15,000 - 100% relief (i.e. no rates payable).
  • RV 15,001 to 18,000 - 25% relief.
  • RV 18,001 to 35,000 – 25% relief on each property with a Rateable Value of 18,000 or less.

With effect from 1st April 2020, the Small Business Bonus Scheme relief will only be available for properties that are actively occupied.

RURAL RATE RELIEF

Since the 1st April 2017, 100% relief is available on your Business Rates if your property is in a designated rural area with a population below 3,000 and it is:

  • A small food shop, general store or post office with a rateable value below 8,500
  • A small hotel, public house or petrol filling station with a rateable value of up to 12,750
  • Any other business providing a benefit to the community with a rateable value of up to17,000

DISABLED RELIEF

Properties used for care, training or welfare of disabled persons may be eligible for up to 100% relief.

DAY NURSERY RELIEF+

As of April 2018, 100% relief from Business Rates is applied to all day nurseries. To get this relief your premises must only be used as a nursery school, or mainly as a nursery school. This relief is effective until 31st March 2021. An application form must be submitted to the relevant Billing Authority before relief can be considered. Due to the impact of Covid-19, the Scottish Government have that the Day Nursery Relief will be extended until at least 30th June 2023.

CHARITABLE RATE RELIEF

Charities and amateur community sports clubs can apply for mandatory relief of up to 80% if a property is used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes. They may also qualify for additional discretionary relief+ of up to 20%. This is sometimes provided by Billing Authorities to top up certain reliefs to give charities and not-for-profit organisations extra help and remit any charge raised. If you run a non-profit recreation or sport club you’re not automatically entitled to relief, however the Billing Authority are able to grant discretionary relief of up to 100%.

ENTERPRISE AREA RELIEF

Businesses setting up or relocating to an Enterprise Area site and doing work in certain sectors may qualify for this rates relief, which offers up to 100% relief up until March 2020. With effect from 1st April 2020, Enterprise Area Relief is to be extended for a further 2 years through until 31st March 2022.

RENEWABLE ENERGY RELIEF SCHEME+

Since 1st April 2010, certain renewable technologies are eligible for rate relief of up to 100%. This relief is granted on a sliding scale based on the size of RV as shown on the table below.

From 1st April 2016, this relief was limited to only schemes incorporating community ownership. If your scheme has arrangements in place that entitle one or more community organisations to at least 15% of the annual profit, or so much of the annual profit as is attributable to 1 megawatt of the total installed capacity of the project (or more). To be eligible your scheme has to produce heat or power from any of the following sources:

  • Biomass
  • Biofuels
  • Fuel cells
  • Photovoltaics
  • Water (including waves and tides, but excluding production from the pumped storage of water)
  • Wind
  • Solar power
  • Geothermal sources

The generation activity should take place at the eligible property itself.

If you have more than one business property, the RV’s are combined.

Renewable energy will also benefit from the following:

  • Cap rates bill increases at 12.5% for small hydro schemes
  • 50% relief for district heating schemes
  • 25% relief for Hydro schemes with total installed capacity of no more than one megawatt

New build properties may be eligible to receive relief for any new build renewable generation property that is built between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017. The property may be eligible to receive 10% rates relief if it has a RV up to 500,000 and 1.5% rates relief if above that figure. Since 1st April 2018, Principal Regulations have been updated to allow relief of 60% for new builds solely used for generation of renewable heat or power (or both) from including waves and tides but excluding pumped storage of water. This relief is only available if the RV value of the scheme is less than 5 million.

NEW FIBRE BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE

Any ‘New Fibre Broadband Infrastructure’ will be eligible for relief from 1 April 2019. This relief will be available for a period of 10 years.

DISTRICT HEATING RELIEF

50% relief can be awarded on your Business Rates if your premises are only being used for a district heating network, or mainly being used for a district heating network.

With effect from 1st April 2021 the % of relief will increase from 50% to 90% effective until 31st March 2024.

EMPTY PROPERTIES

From 1st April 2016, all empty properties can get 50% relief from Business Rates for the first 3 months they are empty, they can then get a 10% discount once that has ended. Empty industrial properties can get full relief from Business Rates for the first 6 months that they are empty. They can then get a 10% discount after that. Relief of 100% is continuously applicable in the following circumstances:

  • Hereditament is a listed building
  • Hereditament has a RV under 1,700
  • Hereditament is owned by a trustee for sequestration, liquidation or executors
  • The company who owns the hereditament has been wound up
  • By Law, the hereditament cannot be occupied

With effect from 1st April 2020, the required period of occupation to trigger a new period of exemption has been increased from 42 days (6 weeks) to 6 months.

FRESH START+

New ratepayers who take occupation of a property after 1st April 2018, which has previously been vacant for at least 6 months, can apply for 100% relief for the following 12 months. The RV of the property must be under 65,000. From 1st April 2019 this relief is applicable to all types of Non-Domestic properties. From 1st April 2021 the RV threshold has increased to £65,000.

LOCAL RELIEFS+

Billing Authorities can grant local discretionary reliefs, however, there is no contribution towards these costs from Central Government. This contrasts with England where currently 25% - 50% is covered by Central Government.

REVERSE VENDING MACHINE RELIEF

With effect from 1st April 2020, 100% relief will be applicable to any site of a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM). The site of RVMs will not add to the RV of a property if applying for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

BUSINESS GROWTH ACCELERATOR RELIEF

You might be able to get Business Growth Accelerator relief if:

  • Your premises are a new build property
  • You expand or make improvements to your property

The Government have announced that qualifying Ratepayers will be eligible for this relief for the 2019-20 rating year.

New build properties

  • If your premises are a new build you won’t have to pay Business Rates until 12 months after the building was completed.
  • Business Rates also do not have to be paid on new builds until they are occupied. New tenants will then qualify for business growth accelerator relief for 12 months.

Expanding or making improvements to your premises

  • If you must expand or make improvements to your property, the Business Rates you are charged won’t change for 12 months.
  • They will continue to be based on your old RV for this period.

From 1st April 2021, the Business Growth Accelerator Relief will be expanded to cover changes of use to support the reuse and regeneration of existing properties.

EXEMPTION (EXEMPTED BUILDINGS)

Agricultural Land and Buildings including Fish Farms, Roads, Public Parks, Properties used as places of religious worship or Church Halls, properties used for the Training and / or Welfare of Disabled People and offshore properties are exempt. From 1st April 2017, all exemptions on deer forests and Estate shoots will be removed for the first time since 1995.

SELF-CATERING AND HOLIDAY LET ACCOMMODATION

In Scotland if your property is available to let for 140 days or more per year for short term lets, it will be treated as commercial rather than domestic and be rated as a self-catering property and valued for Business Rates instead of being valued and banded for Council Tax. Business Rates may be payable if you run a guesthouse or a more significant bed and breakfast for more than 6 people at any one time. Business Rates will be payable regardless of how many days your house or rooms are available to let.

+ Relief is subject to Subsidy Allowances under Article 3.2(4) EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement by Subsidy Control, This allowance is 325,000 Special Drawing Rights, to a single economic actor over any period of three fiscal years, which is the equivalent of £335,000 as at 2 March 2021.

2023 REVALUATION – INFORMATION REQUIRED BY THE ASSESSOR – FINES FOR ‘NON-RETURN’

To assist in completing the 2023 revaluation, the Assessor is entitled to serve notice requesting information such as rents, turnovers and costs on the following;

  • Any person who the Assessor thinks is a proprietor, tenant or occupier of the building that the Assessor is valuing (effectively all commercial buildings).
  • Any other person who the Assessor thinks has the information which is reasonably required for their purpose.

From 1st April 2020, a financial penalty can be imposed for failure to comply with any request made by the assessor. The level of fines for non-return of information are set out in the table below. These fines are cumulative and appear onerous.

TWO STAGE APPEAL PROCESS

From 1st April 2022, a new two-stage appeals system will be introduced to encourage earlier resolution of any disagreement between the Assessor and the proprietor, tenant or occupier without the need to use the formal appeals process. The reforms are also intended to speed up access to justice for those properties that continue to require an appeal hearing.

STANDARDISED BILL/RATE DEMAND

From the 1st April 2021, all local authorities across Scotland will be issuing rate demands using a standardised billing format, this is to improve consistency and transparency for all ratepayers.

OTHER BILLING, COLLECTION AND RECOVERY CHANGES

From 1st April 2021:

  • Councils may request information from a proprietor, tenant or occupier. You must respond to this request within 21 days. Failure to do so will result in a civil penalty of up to £370;
  • A Ratepayer must notify the relevant Council of a change in occupier of a property within 42 days. Failure to do so will also result in a civil penalty of up to £370 from 1 April 2021; and
  • Councils will be able to initiate debt recovery as soon as payment of any instalment is missed.