Business rates

What are business rates?

Business rates are a local tax paid by the occupiers of all non-domestic and business properties, in the same way that council tax is a tax on domestic property.

Business rates are charged on most business properties such as shops, offices, pubs, warehouses and factories.

The property does not have to be used for a business. If it is used for purposes which are not domestic, it is likely to be rateable.

Explanatory notes of our business rates (PDF) [157KB]

Important notice

Some ratepayers have reported receiving calls from someone claiming to be from the Business Rates Team advising they need to make a payment to their account. Do not give out your bank details or use the bank details provided.

If in doubt, call our contact centre on 0300 1231384 or email us at with the subject 'potential scam'.

Read more about staying safe online

Where does the money go?

Business rates contribute towards the cost of local services.

Under the business rates retention arrangements, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally.

This provides a direct financial incentive for authorities to work with local businesses to create a favourable local environment for growth since authorities will benefit from growth in business rates revenues.

The money is used to pay for the services provided by your local authority and other local authorities in your area.

Spending plans

We are required by law to provide business ratepayers with information about our spending plans.

Information relating to the relevant and previous financial years in regard to the gross expenditure of the local authority is available in the council tax guide

Who has to pay?

The occupier of a non-domestic property normally pays business rates. Usually this is the owner-occupier or leaseholder. This can be one person, a partnership, a limited company, a club or some other organisation.

If you lease a property from a landlord, but keep it empty, you are still liable for empty property rates. This is because the lease entitles you, rather than your landlord, to occupy the property.

Pay business rates

Page last updated: 20 Jul 2023