Business rate relief

There are different types of business rate relief. 

Whilst your application is in progress, you must pay as billed. If you are unable to pay, please contact us immediately to discuss this further.

Discretionary Rate Relief

Non-profit making organisations have no automatic entitlement to rate relief but we may decide to give discretionary relief.

Your organisation must be charitable, religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts, or the property must be used by a non-profit-making organisation wholly or mainly for the purpose of recreation.

Apply for Discretionary Rate Relief

Download, complete and return the 'Discretionary Relief application form.

You will also need to provide us with a copy of your organisation's:

  • Objects and Articles to show what you do
  • audited accounts for the last 2 years

This will allow us to confirm what, if any, profits have been made and what happens to them.


Your application is considered against a set of policy guidelines and criteria, and decisions are made on an individual basis.

You will be notified of all decisions in writing. We can only consider backdating Discretionary Relief to a certain date.

Payment while your application is considered

Please note that you must pay as billed while your application is being considered. If you are unable to pay, please contact us.

If you have received any notices from us regarding non-payment, please contact us immediately so that we can come to some form of payment arrangement.

Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone

Policy for granting business rate relief

This policy identifies the circumstances in which the rating authority will grant business rate relief to occupiers of non-domestic properties located within the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone.

Applications for business rate relief will be determined where the company demonstrates that they will contribute positively to the vision of the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone.

The vision

"To build on Sheffield City Regions significant credentials and strengths in advanced manufacturing and materials to develop a Modern Manufacturing and Technology Growth Area."

In order to maintain the stated vision, the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone will focus on attracting, securing and accelerating investment in a number of key sectors/sub-sectors (or target sectors).

Target sectors

The target sectors fall within the following broad categories:

  • modern manufacturing
  • creative and digital industries
  • healthcare technologies
  • low carbon and environmental goods and services

Business rate relief zones

Businesses that occupy property in the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone are eligible for relief of up to 100% of the Business Rates payable, up to the value of £55,000 per year and to a maximum of £275,000 in any 5 year period so long as:

  • the business is located within the defined boundary of the Enterprise Zone
  • the business is registered to pay national non-domestic rates before 31 March 2015
  • the business is not currently occupying business premises within the Enterprise Zone boundary

You can download the Sheffield Europa Certified map showing the Business Rate Relief zones below.

Supporting the Enterprise Zone's objectives

In applying for the relief, occupiers will need to demonstrate how their business supports the objectives of the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone. 

We will expect occupants to demonstrate their involvement in the sectors targeted by the Enterprise Zone, and provide appropriate evidence. For those businesses:

  • already located in the Enterprise Zone prior to 1 April 2012, or
  • already located within another area of the Sheffield City Region

Granting relief

A business rate relief may be granted where the applicant can demonstrate that their occupation of premises in the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone supports the objectives of the Enterprise Zone, and seeks to achieve one or more of the following during the 5 year period in which the business rate discount may be payable:

  • occupation of larger business premises
  • a considerable increase in the permanent workforce of the business
  • a substantial increase in the turnover of the business
  • a re-location to support another organisation also located within the Enterprise Zone (eg to reduce transport activity or to further the achievement of the aims of the Enterprise Zone)

You can download the Sheffield City Region Application for Business Rate Relief Discount below.

Please ensure that you carefully read the guidance notes attached to the form.

If you believe you qualify for relief, your completed application should be submitted to us at the address shown on the form. Applications will be considered on an individual basis in relation to this policy and will normally be determined within one month of receipt. Our decision will be notified to the occupier in writing.

The business rate relief sites are also covered by a Local Development Order, a simplified approach to dealing with planning applications.

Hardship rate relief

We have discretion to award rate relief where a business is experiencing hardship. Hardship will only be awarded if it is believed to be in the interest of our taxpayers. We can choose to write off some or all of your debt.

When making this decision, we must consider:

  • is your business experiencing hardship
  • is it is reasonable to award relief

If you want to apply, you will need to complete a 'Hardship Relief application form'.

Document proof

As you are asking us to write off your Rates debt at the expense of other taxpayers, we will ask you to provide a substantial amount of supporting information, proof of:

  • wages
  • benefits received
  • outgoings, for example, copies of your other bills

We may also ask you to provide any additional information that supports your claim. We will write to you and ask you to provide this if we need it.

Please remember to provide as much proof as possible with your application. Your application will only be considered when we receive a fully completed application, and you have provided any proof we ask for.

Please contact us if you want to know more about this relief.

Mandatory (charitable) rate relief

80% Mandatory rate relief is available to registered charities or charities exempted from registration as a charity.

Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are also entitled if the use of the club is wholly or mainly for charitable purposes.

Apply using the 'Charity Relief application form'.

Rural rate relief

This applies to village shops and Post Offices, pubs and petrol filling stations. To qualify for relief, your shop must be within a defined settlement in a designated rural area and this settlement must have a population of less than 3,000 people.

For Sheffield, the settlements are currently;

  • Bolsterstone
  • Bradfield
  • Dungworth
  • Loxley
  • Wharncliffe Side
  • Worrall

Plans showing the boundaries of the defined settlements are available for inspection.

Where there is only one village general store, food shop or post office in a defined settlement with a rateable value of up to £8,500 it will be eligible for 100% relief.

Sole village pubs or petrol filling stations with a rateable value of up to £12,500 also qualify for 100% relief.

Any other businesses in the qualifying rural areas, which have a rateable value of up to £16,500 can apply for relief. However, we have the sole discretion whether to award the relief or not.

If you think that you may qualify, please contact us.

Small business rate relief

Small business rate relief is designed to help small businesses reduce their business rate bill.

Eligible businesses

Eligible businesses with a rateable value of below £12,000 will receive 100% relief commencing on 1st April 2017.

This relief will decrease on a sliding scale of 1% for every £30 of rateable value over £12,000 up to £14,999.

The relief is available to ratepayers occupying:

  • one property with a rateable value of less than £15,000
  • more than one property where the combined rateable value of all your occupied properties is less than £20,000:
    - relief will be available only on the property with the highest rateable value (your main property)
    - each of the properties you occupy in addition to your main property must have a rateable value of less than £2,900

Rateable Value

% Relief Given



























Reductions on main properties

You may be entitled to a reduction in the business rates bill on your main property if you occupy more than one non-domestic property in England if:

  • the total rateable value of your main property plus all the other properties you occupy is less than £20,000 and
  • each of your other properties has a Rateable Value (RV) of less than £2,900

In calculating relief, your main property will be classed as the property with the higher RV.

Small business rate relief - extension regulations

Since 1 April 2014, those businesses that have taken on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief are allowed to keep that relief on the first occupied property for a period of 12 months.

You will still be able to receive the relief on your existing qualifying property even if the total RV of your properties is higher than the £20,000 limit which normally applies.

Change in your circumstances

Small business rate relief will continue until there is a relevant change in your circumstances. Relevant changes are:

  • an increase in the rateable value of a property you occupy which is not in our billing area – these changes will have to be notified in writing
  • you take up occupation of any property which is not mentioned in your application for relief – these changes will have to be notified through a fresh application

If you believe your business may qualify for relief please complete the 'Small Business Rates Relief application form'.

Transitional rate relief

Transitional arrangements soften the impact of revaluation by phasing in the changes to the rates bill over a period of time.

Different transitional arrangements will apply depending on whether your:

  • bill has increased or decreased
  • business premises are classed as small or large

Transition can also affect your bill if you obtain a reduction in your Rateable Value (RV) from a date other than 1 April 2017.

The Valuation Officer may certify that it should have taken effect from the beginning of the Rating List, but that the list cannot be updated due to backdating restrictions.

If your bill receives a Transitional Adjustment, the amount you pay is calculated by increasing or decreasing the previous years net rate (that is, the amount you actually paid) by up to the maximum amount permitted by the government for each year.

Level of transitional relief

If a property has a RV of more than £100,000 and is facing an increase in its bill, it is classed as a higher tier loser.

If a property has a RV of between £20,001 and £100,000 and is facing an increase in its bill, it is classed as a middle tier loser.

If a property has a RV of up to £20,000 and is facing an increase in its bill, it is classed as a lower tier loser.

If a property has a RV of more than £100,000 and is facing a decrease in its bill, it is classed as a higher tier gainer.

If a property has a RV of between £20,001 and £100,000 and is facing a decrease in its bill, it is classed as a middle tier gainer.

If a property has a RV of up to £20,000 and is facing a decrease in its bill, it is classed as a lower tier gainer.

Percentage of the bill that increases or decreases

Once we have found out what level of relief should apply, we then take the annual figure for 2016/17 and increase or decrease it by the appropriate percentage that is determined by the Government.

Apply an inflation adjustment

Once the percentage increase is applied to last years charge, we have to add an adjustment for inflation. This is the level of inflation as at the previous September.

Rateable Value changes

If your RV is changed, we will have to recalculate your entitlement to transitional relief. It is quite possible that a reduction in your RV may not result in an immediate reduction in your bill.

Check your relief

If you would like us to check that your calculation is correct, please contact us.

There is no right of appeal against transitional relief. It is part of business rates legislation and we have no powers to change or waver it.

Living Wage Relief

We may award Living Wage Relief for a non-domestic property where:

  • the ratepayer of that property is an employer who is accredited with the Living Wage Foundation
  • and where the property has a rateable value of £50,000 or below

Where an organisation is liable for more than one property and those properties have a combined rateable value of over £50,000 no relief will be awarded for any of those properties.

This relief is available in respect of the financial year 2016/17, and the level of relief will be up to £5,000.

We may only make an award where we are satisfied that the organisation is accredited with the Living Wage Foundation. 

We must also be satisfied that the organisation's application for accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation was made on or after 1 April 2016, and had not paid its employees a wage above the Living Wage Foundation rate prior to 1 April 2016. 

Accreditation must be in respect of employees working at the property in Sheffield.

The Living Wage Foundation monitors its accredited organisations, and should any business break the agreement within 2 years of signing it any relief awarded may be reclaimed.

Retail Reoccupation Relief

We may award Retail Reoccupation Relief where a property:

  • has a rateable value of £50,000 or below has become re-occupied between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017 after being unoccupied for 6 months or more and
  • is to be wholly or mainly as a shop, restaurant, cafe or drinking establishment

This relief is available in respect of the financial year 2016/17. The level of relief provided will be up to £1,500.

We may only make an award where we are satisfied the criteria are met and all other eligible reliefs have been applied. 

The start date of the relief will be the date of the application. 

The relief will be awarded retrospectively, subject to the property remaining continuously occupied for at least 6 months.

Expanded (Capped) Retail, Accommodation, Hospitality and Leisure Discount

For the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, the amount of relief under Expanded (Capped) Retail, Accommodation, Hospitality and Leisure Discount is set at 50%.  

Please note that this discount will not be applied automatically. To apply, please read the details below, fill in the form provided, and return it by post or email to the addresses on the form.

Eligible businesses

The Government guidelines state that to be eligible for the discount the premises must be:

  • occupied (empty premises do not qualify)
  • have an occupied rates charge for the year (properties receiving 100% Small Business Rate Relief, for example, do not qualify)
  • be wholly, or mainly, used for retail purposes for visiting members of the public

Please refer to the Government guidance for qualifying businesses, Expanded retail discount 2020 to 2021: coronavirus response local authority guidance.

If you're not sure whether your business will qualify for this discount, please contact

Have you reached the cash cap

Please note that the total amount of discount your business may receive under the Expanded (Capped) Retail, Accommodation, Hospitality and Leisure Discount is £110,000. If your business has already reached this cap, you may not be entitled to a discount in this period.

The cap is per business, not per property. If your business owns multiple properties in England, the total amount of discount received by all of them must add up to £110,000 or less. 

If one or more ratepayers have a qualifying connection to one another (for instance, if one is a subsidiary of the other, or if they are both subsidiaries of the same company), then the amount of discount they receive between them must add up to £110,000 or less.

Where only one ratepayer is a company, and another ratepayer has such an interest in that company as would, if it were a company, result in its being the holding company of the other, this counts as a qualifying connection.

For more advice on what counts as a qualifying connection, please contact

Subsidy control obligations

Relief provided under this scheme must comply with the UK’s domestic and international subsidy control obligations of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), World Trade Organisation rules on subsidies, and other international subsidy control commitments.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement allows an economic actor (eg a holding company and its subsidiaries) to receive up to 343,000 Special Drawing Rights (circa £370k) in a three-year period (consisting of the 2022/23 year and the two previous financial years). Expanded Retail Discount granted in either 2020/21 or 2021/22 does not count towards the £343,000 allowance but BEIS business grants (throughout the 3 years) and any other subsidies claimed under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance limit should be counted.

Partly empty properties

If part of your property is empty for a short period, you may apply to have your business rates bill reduced.


To apply for the reduction, complete the 'Partly Empty Properties Relief application form', and provide a plan of your property, clearly indicating which proportion of your premises is occupied and which is unoccupied.

Once we have received your information, we will visit your premises to inspect them and verify your claim.

Our decision

If we think you should qualify for the relief, we will ask the Valuation Office to issue a certificate to confirm the rateable value of the empty part.

Once we receive this, we will apply the appropriate relief or exemption to the empty part and send you a revised bill.

The period of relief will normally be for a maximum of 3 months, or 6  months in the case of industrial premises.

If you have received any notices from us regarding non-payment, please see payment problems.

Any properties where we have granted the relief will be subject to periodic visits from our property inspector.

If any parts of the area you have previously claimed to be empty are found to be occupied, your relief may be cancelled.


In circumstances where an application for Business Rate relief has been declined, the applicant may appeal for the decision to be reconsidered.

Appeals should be made to us in writing no later than 3 months after the date of determination. 

Appeals should be made to:

The Senior NNDR Administrator
Sheffield City Council
Non-Domestic Rates
PO Box 1310
S1 1UY

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