Apply for Business Rates discount or relief

Discretionary Business Rates Relief Policy

  1. The Council awards Discretionary Rate Relief to Voluntary bodies, which further the Council’s stated aims and objectives.
  2. The Council treats all individual organisations within a generic group in the same manner in awarding rate relief e.g. all Girl Guides Associations will be treated the same.
  3. Membership of the organisation should be open to as wide a section of the community as is reasonable to expect, with all members having equal status, irrespective of race, gender, disability, sexuality, age, creed, colour, nationality, religion, belief, political opinion or affiliation, gender reassignment, marital status, family connections, caring responsibilities or unrelated criminal conviction.
  4. The Council will take into account the ability of the organisation to pay their business rates, through examination of the last audited accounts and written representations made with the applications. Specific consideration will be given to reserves and balances. New organisations will need to supply projected accounts and proof of financial viability with their first application.
  5. The majority of the people receiving the benefit of the organisation should be living or working within the District.
  6. The level and type of benefit received by the community through the activities of the organisation will be held to be those contained in the Articles of Association or official rulebook detailing the purpose of the body. This will be verified by the Council.
  7. The level and standard of training facilities provided will be taken to be that advised by the organisation on application for rate relief and will be observed through inspection by Council Officers as appropriate, and will be reconsidered at the three yearly review.
  8. Where organisations are charities they receive 80% Mandatory Relief and up to a maximum of 20% Discretionary Relief depending on the abatement as set out in criterion 9. If the organisation is not a charity, up to 100% Discretionary relief may be given, as determined by the Council’s Grants Sub Committee.
  9. Where the organisation runs a bar, offers catering and gaming machines, the level of discretionary rate relief may be reduced to the amounts shown below, depending on whether the organisation is a charity or not as follows:

    a. Organisation with no Bar/catering or gaming machines – no reduction.

    b. Organisation where the profits from Bar/catering or gaming machine are less than one-third of total income – 25% reduction.

    If the catering is minor or the profit incidental it may be ignored. An example is where a club for young people sells crisps and sweets, another example is where the members of the club provide the food themselves and a visiting club may make a small contribution.

    c. Organisations where a profit from Bar/catering or gaming machine is one-third and ½ of total income – 50% reduction.

    d. Organisations where a profit from Bar/catering or gaming machine is between ½ and two-thirds of total income – 75% reduction.

    e. A profit from Bar/catering or gaming machine is more than two-thirds of total income – no entitlement to Discretionary Relief.

    If the above reduction applies the Rate Relief previously paid will be reduced. If, for example, the Organisation used to receive 50% relief and 9(b) applied the relief will be reduced to 37.5%.

  10. It was noted that other groups may apply for Discretionary Rate Relief, for example schools who “opted out” under the 1988 Education Reform Act. The Council is obliged to give Mandatory Rate Relief but the general policy is not to allow Discretionary Rate Relief in these cases.
  11. There will be a rolling programme of review on a triennial basis so that a third of those organisations receiving rate relief are reviewed each year. This will allow the Council to scrutinise the accounts of an organisation to determine whether they are still eligible or not for rate relief.
  12. Where a Charity or Non-profit making organisation does not run a bar or has income from catering then, in future, the triennial review will only be to confirm that:

i. The financial circumstances have not changed, so an account will not need to be submitted to the Council.

ii. The organisation still has the majority of its members or users from Welwyn Hatfield.

iii. The running of the organisation meets the strategies, aims and objectives of the Council.

If the organisation has catering income where volunteers provide food and drink, and the income is insignificant and incidental; it may be ignored when applying policy 9 set out above.

Business Rates Relief Review

We are carrying out a review of businesses eligible for Business Rates Relief.

Take part in the review