Local law Firm Vanderpump & Sykes Solicitors has issued a warning to smaller local businesses not to let the holiday season distract them from meeting the deadline for claiming relief from business rates. 

Says Ruth Muthoni of the commercial property department, “Spending an afternoon in the sun or watching the cricket could prove expensive if your application to renew your Small Business Rate Relief is forgotten about as a result.” 

Small Business Rate Relief applies where the Rateable Value (RV) of business premises is less than £15,000 (£21,500 in London). The amount of relief given depends on the value of the property, but broadly equates to 50 per cent relief where the RV is less than £5,000. The relief reduces on a sliding scale for RVs between £5,000 and £15,000.

“Claims have to be made to your local council by 1 September each year, so there is no time to lose,” says Ruth. 

Property owners are also reminded that changes to the relief's from business rates were introduced on 1 April 2008. Subject to designated exemptions, empty business properties are now only exempt from business rates for the first three months that they are empty. Industrial and warehouse premises qualify for a six month exemption. After that, full business rates are normally payable.