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Coronavirus – what does it mean for your business rates bill?

On March 11 the Government announced its tax and spending plans for 2020/21 with the addition of a series of temporary rate reliefs and support for businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic. A further series of support was announced on 17 March and is reflected in the FAQs below.

These new measures mean that some business rates bills already sent to businesses for the coming year will need to be corrected and reissued.

We have put together some FAQs for businesses and these will be updated as and when we receive further information from the Government.

For more information about the Government's grant fund scheme please click here.

What are the new support measures that have been announced?

  • all businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors (including pubs) will pay no business rates in 2020/21.
  • businesses classed as within retail, leisure and hospitality sectors (including pubs) with a rateable value of over £15,000 and up to £51,000 will be eligible to apply for a £25,000 grant in 2020/21 in addition to their relief from business rates. Again, the Government has yet to announce full details.
  • businesses who receive small business rates relief will be eligible to apply for a £10,000 grant in 2020/21 on top of their existing relief

My business is classified as retail, leisure or in the hospitality sector (including pubs) will I need to apply for the new 100% rate relief?

  • no, the Council will try to automatically identify your business as an eligible business for the enhanced relief and reissue your business rates bill as soon as we are able to
  • if you believe that your business should qualify but you do not receive a letter by 15 April please contact the Business Rates Team.
  • if you pay business rates on a pub and already receive pub relief this will no longer be applicable as you are entitled to 100% rate relief for 2020/21 under your status as a hospitality business. You will receive an amended Bill shortly.

Further details can be found here.

I don’t receive small business rates relief is this automatically applied if I am eligible?

If you have not previously received small business rates relief you do have to apply for this. To be eligible you must have a rateable value of less than £15,000 and occupy one property (in some cases businesses can occupy more than one). You can apply here:

Apply for small business rate relief

My business has a rateable value of over £15k but under £51k and is classed as a retail, leisure or hospitality sector (including pubs) how do I apply for the additional £25,000 grant?

Letters are being sent to business ratepayers who are eligible for this grant. The letters are going to the address where your rates bill was sent. The letter invites ratepayers to complete a form to allow the transfer of the grant to your nominated bank account. Unfortunately, there has been a delay in getting these letters despatched. Government guidance has been amended and we hope to have these letters with you shortly. If you believe you are entitled to the grant and have not received your letter by Monday 6 April 2020, please contact the business rates team at business-rates@royalgreenwich.gov.uk.

I receive small business rates relief how do I apply for the additional £10,000 grant?

Letters have been sent to business ratepayers who are eligible for this grant. The letters were sent to the address where your rates bill was sent. The letter invites ratepayers to complete a form to allow the transfer of the grant to your nominated bank account. If you believe you are entitled to the grant and did not receive your letter by Wednesday 1 April 2020, please contact the business rates team at business-rates@royalgreenwich.gov.uk.

My business is not eligible for any of the new enhanced rate reliefs will my business rates bill be reissued anyway?

No, your bill will remain the same and you must pay in the timeline already set out in your existing 2020/21 business rates bill.

Will this Relief be available to empty retail units?

It is unlikely that these additional measures will be available to empty premises.

Is there any further support available for my business?

Yes, the Government has announced the launch of a new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and statutory sick pay reimbursements.

In addition to the announcements by the Chancellor, the Royal Borough has a discretion to award reliefs to businesses that are experiencing Hardship through circumstances beyond their control. You will need to be able to demonstrate Hardship. This Relief is open to any business that is experiencing Hardship.

To apply for hardship relief please complete the form below:

Business rates hardship form