Reductions and relief schemes

We offer various business rate reductions and rate reliefs:

Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS)

The scheme provides relief to ratepayer's with properties in Scotland with a combined rateable value of £18,000 or less. In addition, where the cumulative rateable value of a ratepayer's properties falls between £18,000 and £35,000 the scheme will offer 25 percent relief to individual properties with a rateable value of up to £18,000.

This scheme will provide the following relief from 1 April 2017.

Combined rateable value for all properties in ScotlandRelief percentage
Up to £15,000 100%
£15,001 to £18,000 25%
Upper limit for cumulative rateable value £35,000 25%

The level of relief for each business will depend on:

  • the combined rateable value of all business rates premises in Scotland of which the business is in rateable occupation, or (if vacant) which the business is entitled to occupy
  • whether or not each property is eligible for one of the existing rates relief schemes
  • the level of other public sector assistance received by the business

Apply online for the Small Business Bonus Scheme

Empty property relief 

From 1 April 2016, if you have an unoccupied business property, you can apply for a reduction: 

Occupancy conditions and periods Relief percentage
Unoccupied property not in use (first 3 months) 50%
Unoccupied property not in use (after 3 months) 10%
Vacant property last used in an industrial nature (first 6 months) 100% 
Vacant property last used in an industrial nature (after 6 months) 10% 

Categories of property indefinitely exempt from the vacant charge: 

  • properties with a rateable value less than £1,700
  • properties subject to a preservation notice
  • lands and heritages which are kept vacant by reasons or actions taken by the Crown or Local Authority

Apply online for the empty property relief

Charitable relief

If you are an organisation registered as a charity, listed on the register by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), with a property occupied by your organisation and used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes, you may be entitled to 80 percent mandatory rates relief.

To apply for this reduction, you should complete the mandatory/discretionary relief application form (pdf 132KB) and send it to our business rates team.

Discretionary relief

Properties occupied for charitable purpose, social welfare, education, philanthropic, religious, science, literature, fine arts and recreation may qualify for a discretionary relief of up to 100 percent. 

Discretionary relief may also be awarded if the premises are occupied for the purposes of a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit, such as a sports club, and which is wholly or mainly used for the purpose of recreation.

To apply for this reduction, you should complete the discretionary relief application form (pdf 938KB) and send it to our business rates team.

Rural relief

From 1 April 2013, relief from rates is available to a variety of properties within a designated rural settlement area. 

100 percent relief can be awarded to qualifying properties:

Qualifying propertiesRateable value threshold
Small food shop, general stores or post offices £8,500
Petrol stations, small hotels or public houses £12,750
Businesses providing a benefit to the community and considered in the interest of the tax payers £17,000

To apply for this reduction or for information on the relief thresholds prior to 1 April 2013, contact our business rates team.

Disabled relief

You may be entitled to this relief if you are an organisation with a property occupied for the following purposes: 

  • residential accommodation for the care or after care of disabled persons or persons suffering from illness
  • facilities for training or for keeping suitably occupied persons who are or have been suffering from illness
  • providing welfare services for disabled persons
  • relief can be granted if half or more of the floor area is used exclusively for one or more of the purposes specified above

To apply for this reduction, you should complete the Disabled Relief application form (pdf 191KB) and send it to our business rates team.

Renewable energy producers relief

From 1 April 2016, you may be entitled to this relief of up to 100 percent, if your properties are used solely for renewable energy production. This relief operates under the deminimus aid (State Aid) rules.

The relief percentage depends on the rateable value of your qualifying renewable properties with community investment as detailed in the table below

Rateable value           Relief percentage       
Up to £145,000   100% 
£145,001 to £430,000  50%
£430,001 to £860,000  25%
£860,000 to £4,000,000  10%
More than £4,000,000   2.5%

The relief percentage depends on the rateable value of your qualifying renewable properties operated by an individual with no community investment and which has been entered on to the valuation roll from 1 April 2016 as detailed in the table below.

Rateable value  Relief percentage
Up to £500,000  10%
More than £500,000  1.5%

You can apply for this reduction by contacting our business rates team.

Fresh start relief

This relief applies to newly occupied business properties that were previously unoccupied and in receipt of the empty property relief for a continuous period of 12 months. 

The fresh start relief is of up to 50 percent for a period of 12 months.

In order to qualify, your property must also comply with the following criteria: 

  • the property has a rateable value of under £45,000 prior to 1 April 2014
  • the property has a rateable value of under £65,000 after 1 April 2014
  • when last occupied, the property was used as a shop or office (pubs, restaurants and hotels included since 1 April 2014)

You will not receive fresh start relief if:

  • the property was occupied for less than 6 weeks during the preceding 12 months
  • you are in receipt of certain other forms of relief such as Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS)
  • you are in breach of the State Aid de minimis limit i.e no more than €200,000, (approximately £175,000), over a rolling 3 year period

To apply for this reduction, you should complete the fresh start relief form (pdf 87KB) and send it to our business rates team.

New start relief

This relief applies to newly built business properties.

Other qualifying criteria are:

  • the property has been built since 1 April 2013
  • the property has been empty for a maximum period of 15 months

The 15 month period does not have to run continuously.

For more information or to apply contact our business rates team.

Transitional Relief

The Scottish Government has introduced this new relief scheme for the 2017/18 financial year, that caps business rates revaluation increases to 12.5 percent for the following business categories: 

  • Bed and breakfast accommodation
  • Camping site
  • A caravan
  • A caravan site
  • Chalet and holiday hut
  • Guest house, hotel and hostel
  • Pubic house or nightclub (subject to certain licensing criteria)
  • Restaurants
  • Renewable energy generation (small hydro schemes only)
  • Self-catering holiday accommodation
  • Timeshare accommodation
  • Offices

Former full relief properties 

separate 50 percent relief is available to properties which were used for the above specified purposes and comply with both of the following conditions:

  • the rateable value on 31 March 2017 was no more than £10,000 
  • the amount payable for rates as at 31 March 2017 was reduced to zero due to the award of reliefs

This relief is not applicable if:

  • the property is shown in a split, reorganised or merged (entry taking effect after 1 April 2017)
  • the property has zero rateable value or had zero rateable value on 31 March 2017

This relief is subject to deminimus aid (State Aid) rules.

To apply for this reduction, you should complete the transitional relief application form (pdf 231KB) and send it to our business rates team.

Local revaluation relief scheme 

This scheme was introduced by Aberdeenshire Council and is intended to compliment the Scottish Governments transitional relief scheme by providing financial assistance across all business sectors to those businesses and individuals who have seen their rates liabilities increase as a result of the 2017 revaluation.

This scheme will run for one year only, from 1 April 2017.

With this scheme we provide: 

  • 50 percent relief on the increase in rates liability as a result of an increase in rateable value (as a result of revaluation)
  • 25 percent relief on the increase in rates liability for those ratepayers already in receipt of 25 percent relief under the Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS)
  • 40 percent relief on the increase in rates liability for those ratepayers whose properties are empty on 1 April 2017 and already in receipt of 10 percent empty property relief

You are excluded from this relief if: 

  • your rateable value is less than £15,000 and where you are entitled to relief under the Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS)
  • your rateable value has not increased (or has seen a decrease) as a result of the 2017 revaluation
  • your individual (premises) rateable values are greater than £120,000
  • your properties are eligible for relief under the Scottish Governments transitional relief scheme, ie the hospitality sector and offices
  • your business is in the renewable energy sector
  • your property is a public sector premises

Business premises qualifying under this scheme will be identified automatically and relief applied accordingly.

Relief under this scheme will cease immediately if you no longer have a rating liability, eg where you move out of your business premises and cease to trade.

If there is a change in rateable value during the 2017/18 financial year, the award of relief will be adjusted accordingly.

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