COVID-19 : Business rates

The government announced a number of changes to business rate relief both as a result of the budget and in order to assist with the effects of the current Coronavirus outbreak.

This information is designed to assist businesses to understand the effect of these announcements and how these will be applied to eligible ratepayers.

Discretionary Grant Scheme

Please note that, in accordance with the requirement from Central Government, the Discretionary Business Grant scheme closed on 28 August 2020. No new applications may now be made

Any enquiries should be emailed to : businessgrants@rbwm.gov.uk.

Expanded Retail Discount

The government announced that Retail Relief Discount would increase from 50% to 100% and to more areas of business for 2020/21.

To qualify for this relief, the premises must be occupied but will count as occupied if
you would normally be open but have only chosen to close as a result of the current Coronavirus outbreak.

See the government guidance on the new scheme for more information.

We have automatically identified the businesses which qualify for the Expanded Retail Relief and revised bills should reach those eligible businesses during the week commencing Monday 30 March 2020. Approximately £29m has been awarded to 1,020 businesses.

If you believe that your business should qualify, but have not received a revised bill by the time that your May instalment is due, please email : business.rates@rbwm.gov.uk.

The types of businesses which do not qualify for the expanded scheme include:

  • Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, betting shops and payday lenders).
  • Medical services (e.g. dentists, doctors, chiropractors, vets).
  • Professional services (e.g. accountants, solicitors, insurance agents, tutors).
  • Post office sorting offices.
  • Those premises not readily accessible to the public.

The new relief can be awarded for each eligible business property. This will be taken into account when we awarded the new relief.

Business Rate Grants

Please note that, in accordance with the requirement from Central Government, the Business Rate Grant Schemes closed on Friday 28 August 2020. No new applications may now be made

Scheme 1 – Small Business Grant Fund

This scheme is the scheme originally announced in the budget on the Wednesday 11 March 2020, albeit the level of grant has now increased from the original £3,000 announced to £10,000.

To qualify for the grant you must have been in receipt of either Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief on Wednesday 11 March, including those in receipt of tapered relief.

Properties which are excluded:

  • Those occupied for personal use e.g. private stables, loose boxes, beach huts and moorings.
  • Car parks and parking spaces.
  • Businesses which, as at Wednesday 11 March 2020, were in liquidation or dissolved.
  • Only one grant may be awarded per property.

Scheme 2 – Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund

Announced by the Chancellor on the Tuesday 17 March this grant is for properties which
would have qualified for the expanded retail discount on Wednesday 11 March. The grant will be
either, £10,000 where the RV is £15,000 or less or £25,000 where the RV is greater than £15,000 but less than £51,000.

Properties which are excluded:

  • Those occupied for personal use e.g. private stables, loose boxes, beach huts and moorings.
  • Car parks and parking spaces.
  • Businesses which, as at Wednesday 11 March 2020, were in liquidation or dissolved.
  • Properties with an RV over £51,000.
  • Only one grant may be awarded per property.

If you have not previously received small business rates relief or rural rate relief
please review the information on the following links and apply using the forms
available, if appropriate: 

To be eligible for small business rate relief you must have a rateable value of less than £15,000 and usually occupy only one property nationally.

Please note: that receiving small business rate relief or rural rate relief now may help reduce your bill going forward but will not assist with the grants listed above as it cannot be awarded retrospectively.

If your business if not eligible for any of the new enhanced rate reliefs your bill will remain the same and you must pay in the timeline already set out in your existing 2020/21 business rates bill. If you fail to make the instalments detailed a recovery action may be taken against you and this could mean that you incur additional costs.

If you are struggling to make your payments please email: business.rates@rbwm.gov.uk as soon as possible to discuss this.

Nursery Discount

The government announced on Wednesday 18 March 2020 that it would provide a business rates Nursery Discount.

This relief will apply to properties occupied by providers of Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of Early Years Foundation Stage.

It will apply irrespective of the Rateable Value of the premises and will be for 100% of the remaining bill after the application of any other qualifying reliefs.

Properties where the council itself is liable for the business rates will be unable to qualify for this assistance. We are in the process of checking the Ofsted register to automatically identify
qualifying ratepayers and award this relief. You do not need to apply for this.

State aid information

Many of the business rate reliefs will come under the rules regarding state aid. State Aid law is the means by which the European Union regulates state funded support to businesses.

EC 1407/2013, the De Minimis regulations, allow an undertaking to receive up to €800,000 De Minimis aid over a rolling three year period, including aid received outside of business rates relief.

Any De Minimis aid granted during the current or the two previous financial years must be declared. However, the government are working on obtaining approval from the EU to ignore the de minimis level for the expanded retail relief. We will update this information as and when we know more. 

Further information can also be obtained via the GOV.UK website.

Business rates : Contact details

For further information, please contact us by:

Business Rates - Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
PO BOX 3448
Town Hall, St Ives Road
Maidenhead SL6 1NG