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Do I need to pay business rates?

In most cases, the occupier of the property is responsible for paying business rates. If the property is empty, the owner or leaseholder is responsible for paying.

If you are joint occupiers or owners, you are jointly and individually liable for the business rates for your property.

Non-domestic properties

Non-domestic properties – often referred to as ‘hereditaments’ – are usually business properties such as shops, offices, warehouses and factories but can include any other property that is not classed as domestic.

In some cases, properties may be used for both domestic and non-domestic use and are known as composite properties.

Composite Properties

Properties may be used for both domestic and non-domestic use (for example, a shop with a flat above it), in which case both council tax and business rates will be charged on the relevant portion of the property.

Partly Occupied Properties

A ratepayer is liable for payment of the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time only, the local authority has discretion to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part.  You can find about more about this on our page about Operating in a partly occupied building.

Some types of property are exempt from business rates, including:

  • Agricultural land and buildings
  • Fish farms
  • Some churches and other places of public religious worship
  • Sewers
  • Public parks
  • Some properties used for people with disabilities
  • Swinging moorings for boats

Working from home

If you work from home, we may charge business rates for the part of the property used for work, and you will have to pay council tax for the rest of the property (although the valuation band of your domestic property may change). This will depend on the circumstances of your case.

Holiday homes

If you let your holiday home for less than 140 days a year, you will not have to pay business rates. Instead you must pay council tax on your property.

If you let your holiday home for more than 140 days a year, you must pay business rates for the whole or part of your property.

Bed and Breakfast

If you live in your own home and operate a bed and breakfast for up to six people, you do not need to pay business rates. You must pay council tax instead.

If you let your bed and breakfast to more than six people at any one time, you must pay business rates. You will still need to pay council tax on the part of the property you use as your home.

Empty business properties

The owner (or person entitled to possession) may be liable to pay rates on unoccupied property. Rates are charged at 100 per cent of the amount that would be payable if the property was occupied. Find out more information on unoccupied properties here.

If you need any further advice, please contact our business rates team.

Contact us - Business Rates

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

South Oxfordshire District Council
PO Box 162