Small Business Rates Relief
As from 1 April 2016 there will be further relief for those small businesses in England that successfully apply for small business rates relief. The previous temporary increase in the level of relief available was due to end on 31 March 2016 but the increase has been extended until 31 March 2017. The Non-Domestic Rating (Small Business Rate Relief) (England) (Amendment) Order 2016 will only apply to small businesses in England but similar provisions have been put in place for small businesses in Wales.
Charity Business Rates Relief
There has also been a recent update on the matters that should be taken into account when assessing whether a charity is entitled to claim business rates relief. The case of South Kesteven District Council v Digital Pipeline Limited  concluded that the fact that a property is empty and not being used for purposes additional to charity purposes is irrelevant. Charity relief for business rates (80% of the usual liability) is available for occupied property where (1) the ratepayer is a charity or the trustees for a charity; and (2) the property is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes. The latter part of this test is subject to further enquiries into exactly how the charity uses the property.