Rates and reductions

Information on the rateable value of business properties, information on reductions available for empty or partly occupied properties as well as rate relief for businesses.

Rateable values

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The rateable value of all business properties are assessed by The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) which is an agency of the Inland Revenue.

Details of your rateable value are shown on your bill or you can contact the revenues section to find out the rateable value of your property.

Details of the rateable values of all properties are available at the VOA's website in the 2010 rating list.

Reasons for appeal

You may have grounds to appeal rateable value if there has been a material change in your property such as;

  • A change in the physical state, such as adding to or demolishing part of it
  • A change in its use
  • A physical change in locality
  • A change in the use of a neighbouring property.

You may also appeal;

  • If you believe the rateable value from 01/04/2010 is incorrect
  • If your rateable value has changed since 01/04/2010 and you believe it is incorrect
  • If part of your property has become exempt

All appeals against rateable values and all enquiries concerning valuation matters should be addressed to the VOA at the following address:

Valuation Office Agency
Non-domestic Rates South West
2nd Floor Temple Quay House
The Square
Temple Quay, Bristol

Email: ratingsouthwest@voa.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: 03000 501501
Fax: 03000 505246

Visit the Valuation Office Agency website.

If you make an appeal against your rateable value, you must continue to pay your non-domestic rates as shown on the bill issued to you. If your appeal is successful a refund of any overpayment will be sent to you.

Protect yourself against fraudulent agents

If you wish to query your rateable value, you should contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) who have staff available to provide guidance. The VOA is able to resolve many queries without the need for an appeal. If the situation is not resolved to your satisfaction you should lodge an appeal directly to the VOA, which is free.

However some ratepayers may prefer to employ a rating agent. If this is the case, it is important to be certain you are employing a professional and reputable agent. Professional rating advice is available from members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  Reputable rating advice can also be obtained from The Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV) . It is important to be wary of an agent that demands a large up front fee or a large percentage commission as an appeal to the VOA is free. Always read the small print on any contract.

Business rates will not be payable for most properties in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After the relevant rate-free period expires an empty property will be liable for 100% of the basic occupied business rate, unless it:

  • Qualifies for a zero rate as provided in The Rating (Empty Properties) Act 2007 because it is held by a charity and appears likely to be next used for charitable purposes, or is held by a community amateur sports club (CASC) and appears likely to be next used for the purposes of the club:
  • Or qualifies for an exemption from empty rates under the NNDR (Unoccupied Property) Regulations.

On the 11 September 2013 the Government introduced changes to business rates on unoccupied new build properties that are wholly or mainly comprised of new structures. Structures means foundations and/or permanent walls and/or permanent roofs.

All newly built commercial property completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016 will be exempt from empty property rates.  The exemption will be for the first 18 months, up to state aid limits, which includes the initial three or six month exemption (please see Empty Property Rates) so the property will be exempt for an extra fifteen or twelve months.

State aid relates to financial support from a public or publicly-funded body given to organisations.  Providing discretionary relief to ratepayers might, depending on the circumstances, amount to State Aid. However, there are exceptions to this, and some financial aid is allowed under the ‘de minimis’ rules if the total amount of funding received by an organisation does not exceed a prescribed limit. Currently, funding over a three year period must not cumulatively exceed €200,000.

If a property is only partly occupied, The Billing Authority has discretion to request that the Valuation Officer apportions the property’s rateable value between its occupied and unoccupied parts.

This means the empty property rate applies to the empty part of an apportioned building and the occupied business rate applies to the occupied part.

The empty part would receive a complete exemption for the first three months (or six months in the case of an industrial property). In most cases after the initial rate-free period the apportionment would cease to have effect as the full occupied rate would apply to the whole property. However, if the property qualified for a zero rate or an exemption specified above, the apportionment would continue to have an effect and the owner would not be liable for rates on the unoccupied part.

There are a number of relief and reduction schemes available for businesses. We have a new set of guidelines relating to discretionary rate relief which came into effect on 1 April 2013 and are being applied with effect from 1 April 2014.

If you feel you are eligible for any of these schemes please contact us using the details on this page.

Rural settlement relief (the figures are effective from 1st April 2010)

Certain types of business in rural areas with a population below 3,000 may qualify for a mandatory rate relief of 50%. Cornwall Council holds a list which identifies these areas.

The occupier of a general store or post office, in a settlement appearing in Cornwall Council’s rural settlement list is entitled to rate relief of 50%, if it is the only such store or post office in that settlement and its rateable value is less than 8,500. Similarly any food shop with a rateable value of up to 8,500, or the sole pub or petrol station with a rateable value of up to 12,500 are also entitled to this relief.



Sole Post Office

Sole general store

Food Shop

Sole pub

Sole petrol Station


Rateable value

Less than £8,500

Less than £8,500

Less than £8,500

Less than £12,500

Less than £12,500

The Billing Authority has the discretion to award further relief on the remaining 50% of the bill.

Cornwall Council also has the discretion to give rate relief of up to 100% on any other business in a rural village with a rateable value of less than 16,500, if it is satisfied that the business is of benefit to the community, whilst having regard to the interests of all its council tax payers. 

Cornwall Council maintains a list of rural settlements areas, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The current lists of areas effective from 1st April 2016 are shown in the rural boundaries document.

For more information please contact the revenues section using the contact details shown on your bill or using the contact details shown on this page.

Mandatory Relief

Registered charities or trustees for a charity are entitled to relief from rates on any non-domestic property that is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.

Discretionary Relief

We have the discretion to award additional relief of up to 20% to those organisations that receive 80% Mandatory Relief.

Cornwall Council also has a discretion to grant up to 100% Discretionary Relief to non-profit-making organisations. To qualify, the organisation must be charitable, religious, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts, or the property must be used by a non-profit-making organisation and used wholly or mainly for the purpose of recreation.

Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC)

A registered Community Amateur Sports Club is entitled to 80% Mandatory Relief. The billing Authority has the discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. To qualify as a CASC a sports club must:

  • Be open to the whole community
  • Be run as an amateur club
  • Be a non-profit making organisation
  • Aim to provide facilities for and encourage people to take part in eligible sports.

In order to be entitled to this relief the organisation must be registered as a CASC through the HM Revenues and Customs website by calling the Inland Revenue Sports Club Unit on 0131 777 4147. For more information regarding Community Amateur Sports Clubs please visit the HMRC's CASC webpage.

Hardship relief

We have the discretion to grant relief to a ratepayer, where payment of all or part of the rates due would cause them hardship.

The authority has to take into account the interests of its Council Tax payers as 25% of any relief granted is funded by the Billing Authority and therefore by the Council Tax payers. For this reason the relief will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

For further details please contact the revenues section using the address shown on your bill or by using the contact details shown on this page.

Small Business Rate Relief (the figures are effective from 1st April 2011)

Small Business Rate Relief may be granted where the following criteria are met:

1. A ratepayer occupies a single (no more than one) business property in England with an RV of less than £18,000 or

2. a) A ratepayer occupies a main business property in England with an RV of less than £18,000, but also occupies one or more additional properties with RV’s of less than £2,600 each and

b) The total RV for all the properties is less than £18,000.

If you match the above criteria relief will be granted in accordance with the following table

RV of property

Amount of small business rate relief

Up to £5,999

100% relief with the lower multiplier of 48.4p

£6,000 to £11,999

Relief reducing on a sliding scale of 2% per £120 RV and a lower multiplier of 48.4p

£12,000 to £17,999

Lower multiplier only of 48.4p

The Government has doubled the usual level of relief from 50% to 100% until 31 March 2017.

You do not qualify if your property is empty.

If you receive small business rate relief you must notify us of certain changes in circumstances. The changes which should be notified are—

(a) the ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property, and

(b) an increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted the relief.

If you think you may be eligible for small business rate relief please contact the Revenues section using the address shown on your bill or by using the details shown on this page.

Retaining small business rates relief when taking on an additional property

With effect from 1 April 2014 ratepayers receiving Small Business Rate Relief that take on an additional property which would currently disqualify them from receiving relief, will continue to receive their existing relief for 12 months. For example, if you occupy another property with a rateable value of 2600 or above or occupy another property with a rateable value below 2600 but the combined rateable value totals above 18000.

Please contact us if you think this may apply to you.

Changes to Small Business Rate Relief from 1st April 2017 - please click this link for more information.

Cornwall Council

Revenues section
Telephone: 0300 1234 171
Email: revenues@cornwall.gov.uk


Web: http://www.irrv.net/homenew/index.php
Telephone: 0207 831 3505


Web: http://www.rics.org/
Telephone: 0207 222 7000
Helpline: 0870 333 1600

Valuation Office

Valuation Office Agency
Non-domestic Rates South West
2nd Floor Temple Quay House
The Square
Temple Quay, Bristol

Email: ratingsouthwest@voa.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: 03000 501501
Web: http://www.voa.gov.uk/