Non-domestic rates, also called business rates, are taxes paid on non-domestic properties to help pay for local council services. Non-domestic rates are based on the Rateable Value of a Premises. The Rateable Value is determined by the Scottish Assessors, who are an independent body.
Each year in the budget the Scottish Government sets the tax rate along with any reliefs that may be available.
The Scottish Budget for 2021-2022 was published in January and the Scottish Government committed to offering 100% relief to those in the retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation sectors for at least three months.
The good news is that on the 16th February 2021 the Finance Secretary announced a series of proposals aimed at helping business navigate through the challenges ahead as business look to recover from the effects of COVID-19.
For businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation sectors the Scottish Government has outlined proposals to extend the100% relief for non-domestic rates 31st March 2022. This will also apply to premises which are newspaper offices.
This is a welcomed move for businesses in these industries that have been hit hard throughout the pandemic and have been forced to close.
From 1 April 2021, the extension requires businesses to apply for the 100% relief via their local council rather than it being applied automatically as was the case previously.
Another initiative set up by the Scottish Government that aids businesses dealing with the impact of Covid-19 is the Small Business Bonus Scheme. This offers 100% relief to business with a Rateable Value of £15,000 or less. For non-domestic properties with a rateable value of £15,000 but not exceeding £18,000 there is 25% relief available. Business seeking to apply for this relief must contact their local authority.
For all other non-domestic properties, a relief of 1.6% has been announced.