Help with business rates

There are a number of relief schemes available which you may be eligible for - find out more details and apply below.

Small Business Bonus Scheme

The Scheme provides relief to businesses with properties in Scotland with a rateable value of £18,000 or less.  If the cumulative rateable value of a business’s properties falls between £18,000 and £35,000 the scheme will offer 25% relief to individual property with a rateable value up to £18,000. No relief is available for properties used for payday lending.

The Scheme provides the following relief for rating years 2017/18.

Combined Rateable Value (RV)of all premises in Scotland%
Up to £15,000100
£15,001 to £18,00025
£18,001 to  £35,000 (only on individual properties with RV of £18,000 or less)25

The relief available for 2016/17 and previous Financial Years is as follows:

Combined Rateable Value (RV) of all premises in Scotland

Up to £10,000


10,001 to 12,000


12,001 to 35,000 (only on individual properties with RV of £18,000 or less


For rating year 2013-14 and previous years, the combined rateable value limit was £25,000, but the rates of relief were otherwise as shown above. Relief was also available to payday lenders. You can still apply for this relief – there is no time limit.

What if I own two different businesses are they treated separately?

In situations where a single person owns two entirely separate businesses which operate completely independently out of separate premises each business should be treated as an “individual ratepayer” in its own right and the limits may be applied to each business separately.

The decision on whether or not to treat a business as separate from another is entirely a matter for each local authority to determine.

How do I apply?

Empty Property Relief 

There are significant changes to Empty Property Relief from 1 April 2016.

 The Scheme grants 50% relief to properties which are empty for the first 3 months.  After 3 months a charge of 90% of the normal rate applies.  Empty industrial properties get full exemption for 6 months and thereafter a charge of 90% of the normal rate applies.  Listed buildings and properties with rateable values  of less than £1700 continue to get full exemption for an unlimited period

How do I apply?

Charity and Sports Relief

Registered charities (listed on the register maintained by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator OSCR) and other organisations of social benefit such as Sports, Theatre, Arts Clubs etc. can qualify for both Mandatory and Discretionary relief of up to 100% of rates liability.  Licensed Clubs are usually entitled to a maximum of 75% relief.  Organisations applying for Discretionary relief must have an equal opportunities policy.

How do I apply? 

Fresh Start Relief

From 1 April 2014 Fresh Start Relief is offered at 50% for a period of 12 months if the following circumstances are all met:

  • The property has previously been in receipt of empty property relief for a continuous period of at least 12 months; and
  • The property has a rateable value of  under £65,000; and
  • Payday lending is not carried out on the premises; and
  • When last occupied, the property was used as a shop, office, hotel, public house, restaurant, café or snack bar OR where there has not been a last use, that the property is intended to be used for any of those purposes.

Relief is awarded under State Aid de minimis regulations.  No other relief can be awarded if Fresh Start Relief is awarded.

How do I apply?

New Build Relief

Relief is offered for new build properties built from 1 April 2013.  The relief offered is 18 months of up to 100%, which includes the usual 3 month period at 100% offered for all unoccupied property if the following circumstances are all met

  • The property is entered onto the valuation roll between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2018.
  • The property is unoccupied at the time of entry on the valuation roll
  • The new entry is not as a result of a combination or division of existing entry on the valuation roll or due to the refurbishment or change of an existing entry on the valuation roll (including conversion of a domestic property or a property previously exempt from rating)

The relief can be applied for a discontinuous period of up to 18 months, for example if it goes in and out of occupancy. The relief can also be applied at any time from entry on the valuation roll until 31 April 2020, provided it is entered on the valuation roll on or before 31 March 2018.

Relief is awarded under State Aid de minimis.  No other relief can be awarded  if New Build Relief is awarded.

How do I apply?

Rural Relief

Properties located within a rural settlement may qualify for rural relief.  The categories eligible for relief are as follows:-

Category Description (RV=Rateable value)Relief Available
Qualifying General Store and Post Offices (sole general store or post office in rural settlement with RV maximum £8,500)100% mandatory relief
Sole General Store or Post Office in settlement with RV £8,500 - £17,00050% discretionary relief
General Store, or Post Office where no more than 2 in settlement with RV up to £8,500100% discretionary relief
Qualifying food store where no more than 2 in settlement with RV up to £8,500100% mandatory relief
Qualifying food store where more than 2 food stores in settlement with  RV up to £8,500100% mandatory relief
Council owned schools, halls and public conveniences in rural settlement with maximum RV £17,000100% discretionary relief
Abattoirs, auction marts, landing pads, airfields, piers and jetties and pharmacies in rural settlement with max RV £8,500100% discretionary relief
Petrol filling stations with RV up to £12,750 and where no other owned in Scotland100% mandatory relief
Petrol filling station with RV up to £8,500, where ratepayer owns another in Scotland  100% discretionary relief

How do I apply?

Renewable Energy Relief

From 1 April 2016 this relief applies only where community organisations are, in return for investment in the project, entitled to payments at a specified level.

Combined rateable value of all business properties in ScotlandPercentage relief (%)
up to £145k100
up to £430k50
between £430k and £860k25
between £860k and £4m10
Greater than £4m2.5
Where these arrangements do not apply then the following reliefs are available from 1 April 2017 for new entries in the Valuation Roll only;
Up to £500K10
Above £500K1.5

New category of relief for entries first entered in the Valuation Roll with effect from 1st April 2017, which are small scale hydro renewable schemes, and which are solely concerned with the generation of heat or power (or both) from water (including waves and tides, but exluding production from the pumped storage of water), and the capacity is up to 1 Megawatt. The relief available is 25%.

How do I apply?

Disabled Relief

Relief of rates can be granted in respect of an establishment in which nursing care is available in terms of the Rating (Disabled Persons) Act 1978.  For more information please contact the Non Domestic Rates Team.  

How do I apply?

Transitional Relief (new for 2017/18)

The Scottish Government has introduced a new transitional relief scheme in order to "cap" increases in Rates payable for certain properties for 2017/18. The categories of property which may claim are: Bed and Breakfast accommodation; camping and caravan sites; chalets and holiday huts; Guest Houses, Hotels and Hostels; Public Houses; Restaurants; Small Hydro schemes (up to 1MW capacity); self-catering holiday accommodation, and Timeshare accommodation. Transitional Relief is only available for periods when the property is occupied and used for these purposes. These increases are capped at 14.75% on the Base Liability (calculated before any reliefs applied).

An additional 50% relief is applicable to properties provided they are not in a split, reorganised or merged entry, and their rateable value was no more than £10,000 as at 31 March 2017, and the amount payable on that day was reduced to zero by any reliefs. No further reliefs would then apply.

If the property is part of a split, reorganised or merged entry that takes effect after 1 April 2017, this transitional relief will no longer apply. If the property had zero rateable value on 31 March 2017, these reliefs are not applicable.

This transitional relief will be applied first before other mandatory reliefs where applicable.