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Business rates reliefs

There are a number of reliefs available to non-domestic rate payers which can be applied for and awarded depending on various qualifying conditions.

Improvement Relief (from 1 April 2024)

Where improvement works have been made to a property and completed after 1 April 2024, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) can provide a certificate to the Council so that any increase in the Rateable Value is delayed for up to 12 months.

To be eligible for the relief you must:

  • have qualifying improvement works, and
  • meet the occupation condition

Qualifying improvements include:

  • a physical extension
  • a new building within a larger hereditament
  • the removal of a structural wall in a shop which increases zoning
  • the addition of lining to an industrial unit
  • the addition of a structural mezzanine floor in an industrial unit
  • a reconstitution (split or merger) - where qualifying works undertaken

You can find out more about which improvements are eligible by going to GOV.UK and searching business rates relief: improvement relief 

The relief lasts for 1 year from the date that the works were complete, however the relief ceases if a new occupier takes over.

New properties are not entitled to this relief.

You do not need to apply for improvement relief or do anything differently. If the VOA issues a certificate and you meet the occupation requirements, Stockton on Tees Borough Council will apply the relief to your bills.

If you receive a certificate of qualifying works from the VOA and have questions about the certificate, please contact the VOA at the email address on your certificate.


Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR)

Eligible business properties can receive 100% relief if their rateable value is under £12,000. There is an exact sliding taper for those with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000.
The relief is only available to ratepayers who occupy either:

  • one property or
  • one main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value of less than £2,900 and the total rateable value of all properties is below £20,000

If a ratepayer occupies a second property which affects their entitlement to Small Business Rates Relief, they may retain the relief for 12 months on their existing property.

The relief is not available for unoccupied properties.

You can apply online for Small Business Rate Relief by signing into your online account.

Log in or register for an online account


Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme    

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme will provide eligible businesses with 75% relief for the tax year 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025, up to a maximum cash cap of £110,000 per business.

Businesses that meet the criteria for the discount will receive a bill showing 75% relief for the 2024 to 2025 financial year.

To be eligible for the relief you must not have exceeded either the £110,000 cash cap for 2024 to 2025 or under the Subsidy Control Act the Minimal Financial Assistance limit of £315,000 over a 3 year period.

Further guidance can be found in the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme guidance on the GOV.UK website.

If you think you're eligible for this discount and it's not showing on your bill please email the Business Rates Team. If you do not want to accept the relief for 2024 to 2025 email the Business Rates Team at You cannot withdraw your refusal at a later date.


Mandatory Relief

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to mandatory relief from rates.

This applies to any non-domestic property that is wholly or mainly used for charitable or non-profit making purposes.

A charity is an organisation established for charitable purposes. To have charitable status usually means that you are included in the Charity Commissioner's register of charities.

Log in or register for an online account


Discretionary Relief 

Stockton Council has a discretionary power to grant relief from rates in respect of non-domestic properties occupied by one of the following:

  • not for profit organisations whose main objectives are charitable, philanthropic, religious, concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts
  • not for profit organisations occupying premises wholly or mainly for the purposes of recreation
  • organisations entitled to mandatory relief (as above)

Each application for discretionary relief is considered on an individual basis and any award will be reviewed on an annual basis. Read our Discretionary rate relief notes for more information.

You can apply online by signing into your online account.

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Rate Relief for Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC)

Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs can receive 80% mandatory relief. To qualify for relief as a CASC the club must be registered with the Her Majesty's Revenues & Customs as a CASC. If you are not registered as a CASC and would like further information, please contact the Sports Club Unit at the HM Revenues & Customs.

Full details can be obtained from our Revenues and Benefits Service.


Rural Rate Relief

Certain types of business in rural villages with a population below 3,000 may be entitled to relief of 100%.

  • the business must be the only general store, food shop or post office with a rateable value of less than £8,500 or
  • the sole public house or petrol station with a rateable value of less than £12,500

In addition Stockton Council can give up to 100% relief to any other business in a rural village with a rateable value of up to £16,500.

Further information

Designation of rural areas: village shop rate relief scheme

In accordance with the Local Government and Rating Act 1997, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has compiled a rural settlement list.

The list will be used to assess entitlement to the Village Shop Rate Relief Scheme.

The list and associated documentation are held at Revenues and Benefits Service, Bayheath House, Prince Regent Street, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1DF and are available for inspection during normal office hours.

If anyone wishes to view or make comment upon the list, they can do so at the above address.

Should you require any further information, contact the Business Rates Team on 01642 397108 or email:


Unoccupied Properties

Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period, rates are payable in full unless they are exempt from unoccupied rating, including:

  • listed buildings
  • properties with a rateable value of less that £2,900
  • unoccupied properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs that are to be next occupied for charitable purposes, are exempt from unoccupied rates
  • part occupied properties

A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. If the property is only partly occupied on a temporary basis Stockton Borough Council has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Full details can be obtained from Stockton Borough Council's Revenues and Benefits Service.


Hardship Relief

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has discretionary powers to grant relief in special circumstances.

The cost falls directly on the Council Tax payers. As a result, the ability to award this discretion is restricted and will usually only be awarded where it is evident that to do so is in the interests of the community that the ratepayer remains in business.

Further details can be obtained from Stockton Borough Council's Revenues and Benefits Service.