Business rates can be a burden for property owners, especially when it comes to the empty building tax. A building is typically classed as empty or unoccupied if it isn’t currently in use and all effects and stock have been removed (apart from the fixtures and fittings).
Non-domestic properties which are empty are automatically excluded from paying business rates for the first 3-6 months that the property is empty, depending on what type of property it is. After this period, full business rates are payable for the majority of properties. There are, however, some exemptions for very specific circumstances.
Whilst a property is empty, the rate calculation uses the standard multiplier even if a lower small business rates multiplier was applied whilst the property was in use. Wherever there is a leaseholder, they are responsible for paying. If there is no leaseholder, then the owner must pay.
Empty Property Reliefs and Exemptions
You do not need to pay rates for the first 3 months that a property is classed as empty, or for the first 6 months where a property counts as qualifying industrial premises. In order to start a new rate-free period, the property must be occupied for 6 weeks continuously before it becomes empty again.
You will not get a further rate-free period if there has been a change in ownership, tenant or leaseholder.
Other Empty Property Exclusions
An unoccupied property will be exempt from business rates if any of the following apply:
- The rateable value is less than £2,600 (until March 31, 2017) or £2,900 (April 1, 2017 – March 31 2018)
- The occupation is prohibited by law
- The council or Crown have taken action to buy the property or to prohibit occupation
- It’s a listed building
- It’s an ancient monument
- A charity is the property’s ratepayer, and its next use will be completely or mainly for charitable purposes
- It’s exempt from business rates altogether
- The ratepayer is only the ratepayer as they are the personal representative or executor of someone who has passed away
- The ratepayer is a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC), and the property’s next use will be completely or mainly for sport
If you’d like more information about empty rates or business rates in general, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our specialist business rates team.
Call 0161 817 3399 or use our contact form.