Business rates relief

Your business rates could be reduced if you qualify for one of the available reliefs.

Find out if you meet the criteria for small business rate relief.

You can get small business rate relief if:
  • your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000
  • your business only uses one property - you may still be able to get relief if you use more
If you use more than one property

When you get a second property, you’ll keep getting any existing relief on your main property for 12 months.

You can still get small business rate relief on your main property after this if both the following apply:
  • none of your other properties have a rateable value above £2,899
  • the total rateable value of all your properties is less than £20,000
For further information on how to apply for the relief contact us by:
How much small business rate relief you get depends on your property’s rateable value.

You will not pay business rates on a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less, if that's the only property your business uses.

For properties with a rateable value of £12,001 to £15,000, the rate of relief will go down gradually from 100% to 0%.

If the rateable value is between £15,000 and £50,999 no relief can be awarded. 

The small business multiplier is used to calculate the charge on properties with a rateable value below £51,000. This is lower than the standard multiplier.

You may be eligible for the supporting small business relief scheme if you’ve lost some or all of your small business rate relief because of the revaluation on 1 April 2023.

For further information contact us by:

Please send to:

Northumberland County Council,
Business Rate Section,
County Hall
NE61 2EF

Please have the application form signed by one of the following:
  • the ratepayer
  • any person authorised to sign on behalf of the ratepayer
The ratepayer is criminally liable if any information on the form is false.
Application forms cannot be accepted if signed by an agent or other representative. 
Report changes to make sure you’re paying the right amount and do not get a backdated increase in your bill.

You must notify the council if: 
  • your property becomes empty
  • you get another property
  • you make any changes to your property that would increase its value
  • the nature of your business changes or it moves to different premises
You must inform us of these changes within four weeks from the date of your change.
Failure to notify us of a relevant change will result in losing your relief. 

To report a change in circumstances, click here.
Charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs can receive an 80% reduction in their business rates.

In some cases, we may also be able to offer further discretionary relief of up to 20%.
The occupied property is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.

The charity will normally have to be registered with the  Charity Commission.

Some organisations that are exempt from registration may also qualify, such as:
  • scout groups/girl guide groups
  • voluntary aided schools
  • societies registered under the Friendly Societies Act
Charity shops will only qualify for relief if:
  • the shop sells wholly or mainly donated goods
  • the proceeds are used for the purpose of the charity

Empty properties may be entitled to empty property relief if the property's next use will be mostly for charitable purposes.
The occupied property must:
  • be registered with HM Revenues and Customs as a community amateur sports club
  • use the occupied premises wholly or mainly for the purposes of the club
  • be open to the whole community
  • be run as an amateur club
  • be a non-profit-making organisation
  • aim to provide facilities for, and encourage people to take part in, eligible sport
If your club is not registered visit HM Revenues and Customs.

Empty properties may be entitled to empty property relief if the property's next use will be mostly as a sports club.
Download and complete our mandatory rate relief application form.

Send to:
Northumberland County Council
Business Rate Section
County Hall
NE61 2EF

Or contact us by:
Certain non-profit making organisations may qualify for discretionary rate relief.

For charities, community amateur sports clubs (CASC’s) and certain non-profit-making organisations, you can top-up your 80% mandatory relief to 100% with a discretionary rate relief.

Some non-profit organisations may also be entitled to up to 100% discretionary rate relief without any mandatory relief. 
The range of bodies qualifying for relief is varied, but all are non-profit making. We assess the following criteria:
  • the contribution the organisation makes to the objectives of Northumberland County Council
  • the joining or membership fee (excessive fees are seen as restrictive)
  • restrictions placed on membership (it should be open to everybody)
  • how many Northumberland residents use/are members of the organisation
  • the level of effort made to encourage membership from groups such as young people, disabled persons, ethnic minorities, unemployed people and whether there are any education or training schemes for such groups
  • whether the facilities are available to people other than members
  • if the building is currently, or is in the process of becoming, accessible to disabled people
For more guidance on discretionary rate relief please download our notes, otherwise please download and complete the application form here. Once complete, please send to:

Northumberland County Council
Business Rate Section
County Hall
NE61 2EF

For further information, or if you need to inform us of a change in circumstance, please contact us by:
We will review all forms to check we have the required information and evidence. If necessary, we will contact you for further information.

The application is then assessed against the criteria within the council’s discretionary rate relief policy to reach a decision. You will be notified in writing of the level of relief and the period of the award.

An application for relief can only be backdated to the beginning of the same financial year in which the application is made. The council will carry out regular reviews of those organisations in receipt of relief.
You could get rural rate relief if your business is in an eligible rural area with a population below 3,000.

The council's required to establish and maintain a Rural Settlement list. It's reviewed each year to ensure that it's accurate.

Click here to view the rural settlement list for Northumberland County Council.
Your business must also be:
  • the only village general store, food shop or post office, with a rateable value of up to £8,500
  • the only public house or petrol station, with a rateable value of up to £12,500
  • The property must be occupied.

To apply for mandatory rural rate relief: For further information, please see our guidance notes and policy document.
  • The property must be in a designated rural settlement
  • Have a rateable value of less than £16,500.
This includes any property that falls into the above mandatory category.

For more information regarding discretionary rate relief please read our rate relief policy document.

As the council taxpayers part fund the scheme we must be satisfied the property is used to benefit the local community.

To apply:
Please click here to download an application form

Send completed form to:

Northumberland County Council
Business Rate Section
County Hall
NE61 2EF   
If your business is suffering hardship, you may be eligible for relief from business rates.

We can consider granting relief to a business if:
  • it would sustain hardship if relief were not granted
  • it’s in the interest of the local council taxpayer to do so
For more information regarding hardship relief, please read our guidance notes and rate relief policy document.
Please download and complete an application form. You will need to provide evidence of your circumstances and why the council should consider reducing your rate liability. Please send completed application forms to:

Northumberland County Council
Business Rate Section
County Hall
NE61 2EF
For further information you can contact us by:
If your business property is partly empty for a short period of time, we have the discretion to award relief.

Relief can be awarded if part of a property is partly empty and will remain so for a short time only.

It applies where there are difficulties in occupying or vacating a property such as:
  • new accommodation which is not fully ready for occupation, and the move will be over some weeks or months
  • if a building becomes temporarily redundant

If you’re eligible, you’ll get relief on the part of the property that is empty, starting from the day it became empty.
Write to us at the address below and provide the following:
  • A plan along with details of both the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property
  • the circumstances leading to the partial occupation
  • the intention of the business in relation to the unoccupied parts e.g. you are unable to occupy all of the property until refurbishments are completed.
  • the date from which partial occupation began
  • when the property is likely to be fully occupied or fully unoccupied
Northumberland County Council
Business Rates Section
County Hall
NE61 2EF
For further information you can contact us by:
  • Our inspection officer will visit your premises to verify the information.
  • The Valuation Office will assess the rateable value for the occupied and unoccupied parts.
  • Once approved, the valuation office will issue a certificate to us. This is provided for in the Local Government Finance Act 1988 under section 44A.
  • The application is assessed as per the council’s discretionary rate relief policy.
Any relief awarded will end when either: 
  • there is a change in the partial occupation, either more or less
  • at the end of the financial year. We can use our discretion to award relief in the following year in some circumstances
  • the rateable value changes through revaluation or an appeal.
You can get supporting small business relief if both of the following apply:

  • your business property’s bill went up because of the most recent revaluation on 1 April 2023

  • you’ve lost some or all your small business rate relief or rural rate relief

If you’re eligible, your bills will go up by no more than £600 for the 2023/24 to 2025/26 tax year.

Ratepayers who are eligible for the scheme will receive relief on their bills.

If you are not in receipt of the relief but feel you meet the criteria contact the Business Rates Team on 0345 600 6400 

The relief is a £1,500 reduction in business rates per year for office space occupied by local newspapers.

You can only get the relief for one property per newspaper.

If several local newspapers use the same office, they can only get the relief on one newspaper title. 
To apply download and complete the local newspaper application form

Send to:
Northumberland County Council
Business Rates Section
County Hall
NE61 2EF.
For further information please contact us by:
This is a discount scheme for occupied premises that are mainly being used:

  1. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
  2. for assembly and leisure; or
  3. as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.
Full details of the discount scheme and qualifying criteria can be found here.

You could get 75% off your business rates bills for the 2024 to 2025 billing year (1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025).

The most you can get in relief each billing year is £110,000 per business.

If you think you may be eligible and are not receiving the discount contact:
Business Rates Team on 01670 624885.

There is no charge for discussing your potential entitlement with the council.
Please speak to the council rather than employing a third party who may make a charge for this service. 
Your empty property may be entitled to an exemption or be exempt from rating.

If you get empty property relief, you do not have to pay business rates on your empty property for 3 months. The relief starts from when the property becomes empty. After this time, most businesses must pay full business rates
To be exempt from paying business rates, your property must be one of the following:
  • empty less than three months
  • have a rateable value of less than £2,900
  • empty less than six months if a qualifying industrial property
  • an ancient monument
  • a listed building
  • one where occupation is prohibited by law
  • kept empty by action of Crown or public authority
  • the owner is bankrupt
  • the owner is a trustee under a deed of arrangement
  • the owner is entitled to possession as a liquidator
  • the owner is entitled to possession only in his capacity as the personal representative of a deceased person
  • the owner is a company in administration
  • the owner is a company which is subject to a winding-up order

In cases where the ratepayer is a charity, trustees of a charity or a Community Amateur Sports club (CASC) the following may apply;
  • properties owned by charities - only if the property’s next use will be mostly for charitable purposes.
  • community amateur sports clubs buildings - only if the next use will be mostly as a sports club.
To apply for a period of exemption, please provide us with the following information:
  • date from when the property became empty
  • address of property
  • name, address and contact details of property owner
For further information, or if you need to inform us of a change in circumstance, please contact us by: Or write to us at:

Northumberland County Council
Business Rate Section

County Hall
NE61 2EF
Certain types of property are exempt from business rates. The list below shows some examples. Please contact us if you need more information or click here to visit
  • agricultural land and buildings
  • fish farms
  • places of religious worship
  • lighthouses, buoys and beacons
  • properties of drainage authorities
  • parks
  • properties used by the disabled
  • air raid protection works
  • swinging moorings
  • visiting forces headquarters
  • properties in enterprise zones  
Contact details: Or write to us at;

Northumberland County Council
Business Rate Section

County Hall
NE61 2EF