Reductions and relief schemes

We offer various business rate reductions and rate reliefs:

View business rates privacy notice (pdf 487KB).

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 Scotland Relief 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

Apply 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
Vacant property not in use (first 3 months) 50%
Vacant 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 for the empty property relief

Shooting Rights

From 1 April 2017, shootings rights were re-entered in the valuation roll under the terms of the Land Reform Act 2016. If no commercial shooting takes place on the shooting land, vacant relief may be granted.

An application to the council is required. Please apply if no commercial shooting is carried out.

To apply for this reduction, please complete the Vacant Shooting Relief Application (pdf 91.7KB) and send it to our business rates team.

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 properties Rateable 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

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.

Properties operated with community investment

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%

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

Qualifying renewable hydro properties with a Rateable Value under £5,000,000 and operated by a ratepayer with no community investment are entitled to 60% relief from 1 April 2018.
You can also get a 50% relief on your Business Rates, if your premises are only being used for a district heating network , or mainly being used for a district heating network.
If you wish information on this scheme prior to 1 April 2018 please contact the Business Rates Team.

Fresh start relief

From 1 April 2018 this scheme applies to newly occupied business properties that were previously unoccupied and in receipt of the empty property relief for a continuous period of 6 months.
The fresh start relief is of up to 100% for a period of 12 months.
In order to qualify, your property must also comply with the following criteria:

  • the rateable value must not exceed £65,000
  • no longer than 12 months have elapsed since the lands and heritages became occupied, and
  • it is not used for payday lending

You will not receive fresh start relief if:

  • 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

If you wish information on this scheme prior to 1 April 2018 please contact the Business Rates Team.

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

New and improved property relief

(Business Growth Accelerator)

From 1st April 2018, business rates relief may be available to ratepayers of new build properties and to those improving or expanding an existing property, resulting in an increase in rateable value.

New build properties

If your business premises is a new build and entered the Valuation Roll for the first time, from 1st April 2018, no rates will be payable for 12 months from the date of occupation. Relief can also be awarded where premises are entered onto the Valuation Roll for the first time, but which remain unoccupied.

If your premises was previously entered in the Valuation Roll (as part of another entry) prior to 1st April 2018, no relief can be considered.

Expanded or improved premises

Where premises are expanded or improved, from 1st April 2018, resulting in an increase in rateable value, the resultant increase in the amount of rates to be paid will not be payable for 12 months. In effect, the rates to be paid will be based on the rateable value prior to any such improvements being made.

These reliefs are application based and to apply for relief, please complete the Business Growth Accelerator Relief application form (pdf 55.1KB) and return it as soon as possible.

For more information contact the business rates team.

Transitional Relief

The Scottish Government introduced this relief scheme for the 2017/18 financial year, capping business rates revaluation increases to 12.5 percent (in real terms) 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

The scheme is extended for the 2018/19 financial year and applies to the above properties where the increase in the amount of the 2018/19 bill exceeds the amount paid in 2016/17 by more than 32.9%.
With the exception of Offices, the qualifying RV threshold for all other qualifying categories is now £1,500,000. 

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.

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.

Day Nursery relief

The Non Domestic Rates (Day Nursery Relief) (Scotland) Regulations 2018 became effective from 1 April 2018. It provides 100% relief from Non Domestic Rates in respect of properties if they are used for the purpose of a Day Nursery. The relief is effective until 31 March 2021.

The property must be used wholly or mainly as a nursery school as defined in Section 135 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980(b) which also provides day care of children as defined in paragraph 13 of schedule 12 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010(c).

 A Day Nursery means the premises are used wholly or mainly as a nursery school or class which provides early learning and childcare as defined in the Education (Scotland) Act 1980(b).

Day care of children as defined by the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010(c) means providing service of any form of care in the form of an educational activity, supervised by a responsible person on premises other than domestic premises during the day.

A separate application must be made for each property.

To apply for this reduction, please complete the Day Nursery Relief Application (pdf 138KB) and send it to our business rates team.

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