In recognition of the fact that businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are likely to be disproportionally affected by Coronavirus-related disruptions, the Government has announced specific measures to ease the cashflow burden on qualifying businesses by granting a 12-month business rates payment holiday from 1 April.
The effect is that no business rates will be payable in respect of qualifying properties for the tax year from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.
The payment holiday is available in respect of qualifying properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors and the high-level eligibility criteria are as follows:
You are eligible for the payment holiday if:
- your business is based in England
- your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied properties that are wholly or mainly being used:
- as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
- for assembly and leisure
- as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation
Whilst eligibility for the support measure is determined by the respective local authorities, the detailed guidance issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government can be found here.
It is noted in the detailed guidance that in order to qualify for the relief properties need to be wholly or exclusively used for a qualifying purpose. It is also acknowledged that there will be properties with mixed uses where determination may not be straight forward.
Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
Smaller businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors may in addition be able to benefit from non-repayable cash grants of up to £25,000 per qualifying property. Whilst the basic eligibility criteria are the same as set out above, the amount of the cash grant is dependent on the rateable value of the property.
A grant of £10,000 will be available for properties with a rateable value of £10,000 and a grant of £25,000 will be available for properties with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000. If you would like to check the rateable value of a property you can search here.
Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates
Small Business Grant Scheme funding in the form of a one-off grant of £10,000 is available for small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rates relief, rural rate relief and tapered relief.
How to access the schemes
It has been announced that for qualifying properties the payment holiday and/or cash grant will be granted automatically provided the criteria are met. However, if you believe that you are currently occupying properties that meet the eligibility criteria, we recommend that you contact your local council to confirm that your business will benefit from these measures.
If you would like to discuss any of the above or have other queries about how you can make the right decisions for the future of your business and your income, please contact your usual Blick Rothenberg contact or one of the Partners to the right.
You can also visit our Coronavirus – Practical Guidance for businesses today Hub for our latest updates and insights.