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Reduction or remission of business rates on the grounds of hardship

Section 49 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 gives the council the discretion to reduce or remit the payment of rates, where:

(i) it is satisfied that the ratepayer would sustain hardship if it did not do so; and

(ii) it is reasonable for the council to do so having regard to the interests of Hillingdon's council tax payers.

The discretion may be applied to occupied or empty premises.

In August 1990 the Department of the Environment issued the following guidance on the circumstances in which relief might be offered to ratepayers, but the final decision is always entirely at the discretion of the council.

  • Although councils may adopt rules for the consideration of hardship cases, they should not adopt a blanket policy either to give or not to give relief; each case should be considered on its own merits.
  • Reduction or remission of rates on grounds of hardship should be the exception rather than the rule.
  • The test of 'hardship' need not be confined strictly to financial hardship; all relevant factors affecting the ability of a business to meet its liability for rates should be taken into account.
  • The 'interests' of council taxpayers in any area may go wider than direct 'financial' interests. For example, where the employment prospects in the area would be worsened by a company going out of business, or the amenities of an area might be reduced by, for instance, the loss of the only shop in a village.
  • Where the granting of relief would have an adverse effect on the financial interests of council taxpayers, the case for a reduction or remission of rates payable may still, on balance, outweigh the cost to taxpayers.

The council's Cabinet Member (elected Councillor) considers applications for relief on the grounds of hardship.

In order that the Cabinet Member may reach an informed decision, it is important that:

  • every question in this form is answered as fully as possible - if the question does not apply to you the please write "not applicable" in the space provided for your answer; and
  • documentary evidence of circumstances accompanies the completed form.

If you do not answer the questions or evidence is not provided, then your application may not be considered.

Upon receipt of your application, provided you have answered all of the questions and have attached the necessary documentary evidence, the Business Rate Section will prepare a report for consideration by the Cabinet Member.

As the report contains information about the financial or business affairs of applicants, all members of the public and press are excluded from the part of the meeting when these are considered. The Cabinet Member does not consider representations in person at meetings so please be sure that everything you wish to be taken into account is included in your written application. The information you have supplied will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Note:

  • The council will consider only one application from you every two years;
  • Your previous payment record will be taken into account; and
  • You must continue to pay the rates pending a decision

If you require any further information, or to request an application form, please telephone the Business Rates team.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 21 Aug 2015 at 09:18