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Business rates explained

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2. 2024-25 Explanatory Notes

Non-Domestic Rates (Business Rates)

Non-Domestic Rates, or business rates, collected by local authorities are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1st April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. The money, together with revenue from council taxpayers, locally generated income and grants from central government, is used to pay for the services provided by local authorities in your area. Further information about the business rates system, may be obtained at the Government Business rates relief Overview and Business rates explained websites.


Business Rates Instalments

Payment of business rate bills are automatically set on a 10-monthly cycle. However, if you wish your payments to be made through 12 monthly instalments, please Contact Us Online.


National Non-Domestic Rating Multiplier

Exeter City Council works out the business rates bill for a property by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate non-domestic multiplier. There are two multipliers: the national non-domestic rating multiplier (54.6p) and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier (49.9p). The Government sets the multipliers for each financial year, except in the City of London where special arrangements apply.

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 will have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier (49.9p), rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier (51.2p).

Both multipliers for a financial year are based on the previous year’s multiplier adjusted to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figure for the September prior to the billing year unless a lower multiplier is set by the Government. The current multipliers are shown on the rear of your bill.


Rateable Value

Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. They compile and maintain a full list of all rateable values, available at the Find a business rates valuation website.

The rateable value of your property is shown on the rear of your bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date specified in legislation. For the current rating list, this date was set as 1 April 2021.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) values all business properties for business rates. The valuation is based on information the VOA holds about your property. You can contact the VOA online. If you are unable to use the online service, you can also contact the VOA on 03000 501 501.

The Valuation Office Agency may alter the valuation if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can also check and challenge the valuation shown in the list if they believe it is wrong, you can check your rateable value online. Further information about the grounds on which challenges may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the VOA how to check your rateable value is correct website.

You can contact the VOA online. If you are unable to use the online service, you can also contact the VOA on 03000 501 501.



All non-domestic property rateable values are reassessed at revaluations. The most recent revaluation took effect from 1st April 2023. Revaluations ensure that business rates bills are up to date, more accurately reflect current rental values and relative changes in rents. Frequent revaluations ensure the system continues to be responsive to changing economic conditions.


Business Rate Reliefs (Temporary Reliefs)

Depending on individual circumstances, a ratepayer may be eligible for a rate relief (i.e. a reduction in your business rates bill). There are a range of available reliefs. Some of the permanent reliefs are set out below but other temporary reliefs may be introduced by the Government at a fiscal event. You should visit the website for details on the latest availability of business rates reliefs and advice on whether you may qualify. Please also see our relief and exemptions pages.


Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR)

If a ratepayer’s sole or main property has a rateable value which does not exceed £14,999, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property. For a property with a RV below £12,001 the relief is 100% while eligible properties above the lower threshold and below a specified upper threshold may receive partial relief above RV £12001 you will receive a tapered relief up to an RV of £14,999.  The relevant thresholds for relief are set out in regulations and can be obtained on our Relief and Exemptions information page or at Business rates relief: Overview.

Generally, this percentage reduction (relief) is only available to ratepayers who occupy either

(a) One property with an RV not exceeding 14,999, or

(b) One main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value not exceeding 2,899 and the sum of all the property occupied does not exceed 19,999.


For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months. Full details on the relevant limits in relation to second properties and the current period for which a ratepayer may continue to receive relief after taking on an additional property can be obtained at Relief and Exemptions or at Business rates relief: Overview.

Certain changes in your circumstances will need to be notified to Exeter City Council by the ratepayer who is in receipt of relief.

The changes which should be notified are

(a) Vacating the property

(b) Taking up occupation of an additional property

(c) An increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer outside of the Exeter City Council area.

Please inform us of your changes by contacting us online.


Charity and Community Amateur Sports Club Relief

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the club and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the purposes of the club (or of that and other clubs). Exeter City Council has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Full details can be obtained at Relief and Exemptions.


Unoccupied Property Rate Relief

Business rates are generally payable in respect of unoccupied non-domestic property. However, they are generally not payable for the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain other properties (for example industrial premises or listed buildings). Full details on exemptions can be obtained at Business rates explained - Empty property and business rates or at Business rates relief: Overview.


Transitional Rate Relief

At a revaluation, some ratepayers will see reductions or no change in their bill whereas some ratepayers will see increases.

Transitional relief schemes are introduced at each revaluation to help those facing increases. Transitional relief is applied automatically to bills. Further information about transitional arrangements may be obtained from Exeter City Council or online at introduction to business rates.


Local Discounts

Local authorities have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts and to give hardship relief in specific circumstances. Full details can be obtained at Relief and Exemptions.


Subsidy Control

The new UK subsidy control regime commenced from 4th January 2023. The new regime enables public authorities, including devolved administrations and local authorities, to deliver subsidies that are tailored for local needs. Public authorities giving subsidies must comply with the UK’s international subsidy control commitments.

The subsidy control legislation provides the framework for a new, UK-wide subsidy control regime. Further information about subsidy control can be found online.


Rating Advisers

Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a rating adviser or company you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.


Information Supplied with Demand Notices

Information relating to the relevant and previous financial years in regard to the gross expenditure of the local authority is available at How your money is spent. A hard copy is available on request by contacting us online.