Rural business

Some properties in rural areas can now receive help with their non-domestic rates. A rural settlement is defined as a settlement with a population of no more than 3,000 which is wholly or partly within a council’s defined rural settlement area.

The scheme is split in to two elements.

The rateable value of the property at the beginning of the rating year must not exceed a specified amount.  For post offices, general stores and food shops the rateable value must be no more than £8,500, whilst for public houses and petrol filling stations the rateable value must be no more than £12,500.

Mandatory relief

Mandatory relief allows 80 per cent relief from rate liability.  This will normally be awarded where an organisation is a charity or is exempt from charitable status, and the property is mainly used for charitable purposes.

Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) registered with HM Revenue & Customs are also eligible for mandatory rate relief where the property is occupied by the CASC and is wholly or mainly used as a sports club. For more details on CASC-s download the CASC scheme leaflet from the right of the page. More information on how to register as a CASC can be found on this page of the GOV.UK website and the CASCInfo website. 

Please note, following national changes introduced in April 2015, to retain Community Amateur Sports Club status you now need to prove that more than 50 per cent of members are active participants (rather than just social members).  For some clubs this might mean needing to introduce a registration system to record usage or offering incentives to ensure participation reaches the required level.  For more details on the changes please see the CASC information sheet .

Discretionary relief

The council may also award up to 100 per cent discretionary relief, to any small rural business which is situated in a ‘designated rural settlement’, if the rateable value does not exceed £16,500.  

The council has to be satisfied that the business is of benefit to the local community and that it is reasonable to award relief given the cost to the council taxpayers of the district. 

To check if you are included in the rural areas covered, you can check our rural settlement list within the guidance notes.

If this is you, you will have a bill for your property calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the ordinary non-domestic rating multiplier that is used to calculate the liability of other businesses.

To apply for rural rate relief, please complete and return this application form.

Contact us - Business Rates

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0845 300 5562
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

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South Oxfordshire District Council
PO Box 162