How to calculate your business rates
All you need to know about business rates payable, rateable value, multipliers, and whether your business is eligible for a COVID-19 business rates exemption
What are business rates?
In a similar way that residents pay council tax, businesses pay business rates to local authorities, which help finance local services.
Do I need to pay business rates?
Business rates are charged on businesses that occupy non-domestic or commercial properties. The property occupier, either the owner or the leaseholder, pays the business rates.
If you use a building or part of a building for non-domestic purposes, the part used for business will require payment of business rates, take for example a shop with a residential flat above it.
Similarly, if you work from home, you may have to pay business rates on the section of your house that is used for work purposes. You’re more likely to have to pay business rates if a room is exclusively used for business, or if it has been adapted for work purposes.
What is rateable value and what are multipliers?
- Rateable value is the value given on a premises by the Valuation Office Agency, which is based on its probable annual market rent. These values are reviewed every five years and take the size of the property and its usage into consideration, in addition different parts of the premises may be valued at different levels. The latest rateable value figures are estimates of the property's open market rental value as of 1 April 2015.
- A multiplier is the number of pence per pound of rateable value that you’ll have to pay in business rates, before any relief or discounts are deducted. These are reviewed every year by the government in line with inflation.
To calculate your business rates you need to multiply the rateable value for your business with the ‘multiplier’, also known as ‘poundage’, set by government.
It’s worth knowing how to calculate your business rates yourself to ensure you’re paying the right amount. It is also useful to know if you want to plan your financial year ahead in a new property that you don’t yet know the business rates of or, if you want to know the business rates for a property you’re thinking of moving your business into.
Current business rates multiplier values:
|Year||Standard business rates multiplier||Small business rates multiplier||Small business rates threshold|
|2019 to 2020||50.4p||49.1p||£51,000|
|2018 to 2019||49.3p||48.0p||£51,000|
|2017 to 2018||47.9p||48.4p||£51,000|
|2016 to 2017||49.7p||48.4p||£18,000 (£25,500 in Greater London)|
How to pay business rates
The council will normally send you a rates bill in March or April, and most councils will ask you to pay in equal monthly installments.
Make sure you tell your local council if you start up a new business or if you move premises, so they can charge you the right amount.
You can contact your local authority if you think your bill is incorrect. Likewise, if you are having cash flow problems and are finding it difficult to pay the bill, contact the local council because they may be able to change the amounts and dates of your payments to make things easier for your business.
Business rates calculation example
But do I really need to pay business rates?
There are certain buildings that are exempt from business rates. These are:
- Farm buildings and land (excluding building used as offices or for business activities)
- Buildings used for training or welfare of disabled people
- Fish farms
- Places of public religious worship
Businesses that own empty property are exempt from empty property rates for the first three months that they are empty, while industrial or warehouse properties are exempt for the first six months. After these periods businesses that own empty property are liable to pay business rates in the normal way.
To find out more about whether you qualify for any other business rates reliefs, visit our small business rates relief guide.
Businesses operating in the retail, hospitality, and leisure industries, as well as some nurseries, are exempt from business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. For more information about whether your business is eligible, head back up to the top of the page, or click through to the government's website.