Business rates

Completion notice

Information on completion notices and what they mean in terms of business rate payments.

Completion notices are documents issued on commercial properties which are newly built or approaching structural completion. They will be sent by post to the  home address or registered address of the property owner.

The completion notice specifies a 'completion date' which indicates when a commercial premises becomes rateable and enters the rating list for business rates purposes.

If the premises are unoccupied and empty from the completion date, then the premises will be eligible for a 3 month exemption, whilst it remains so. If it is an industrial premises, then up to 6 month exemption can apply. Once the 3 or 6 months have elapsed, if the property remains unoccupied, a full charge of business rates will be payable.

If you cannot complete the building work by the completion date (due to financial or personal reasons) this does not affect the completion date. The property need not be structurally complete by the completion date, only capable of completion.

Completion notices and dates cannot be backdated.

Criteria for completion dates

Our revenue inspectors routinely visit premises to establish how close to completion the premises are. Information will also be sought from the developers of the premises and the owners.

The criteria for determining completion for business rates purposes are substantially different to those for determining completion for building control therefore whether building control certificates have been issued or not is not directly relevant.

It is important to remember that a completion notice may be served up to 3 months in advance of the day on which we specify that a property is complete.

This means that sometimes, on the date that the notice is sent, the property may still not be complete. The important date to focus on is the date that we are specifying as the date of completion in the completion notice.

Disagreeing with the completion notice

The regulations specify that if you disagree with a completion notice you should appeal within 28 days of the date of service of the notice to the Valuation Tribunal Service

However, you can write to the council if you wish in the first instance, setting out the reasons why you disagree with the date of completion.

Once the council has received your letter, we may ask for further information or we will advise you of our decision as soon as possible to allow you sufficient time to appeal further if you wish. A revised completion notice will be issued if necessary.

If you have any questions regarding a completion notice you've received, please contact our business rates team by emailing  or calling 0300 1231384.

Page last updated: 20 Jul 2023