Skip to main content

Business rates information

Non-Domestic Rates, often called Business Rates, are a local tax collected by the Council. 

The amount that each business pays is based on the estimated annual rent for the business property, called its rateable value, and a rate in the pound or multiplier set each year by the Government.  The rateable value is multiplied by the rate in the pound to work out the amount to be paid for the property.  The Council has no say in how much the rates bill is for each business.

Bedford Borough Council keeps 49% of the rates it collects which is used to help fund the cost of Council services.  Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority receives 1% of the rates collected and the remaining 50% is paid to the Government. 

More detailed information about Non-domestic rates is available in the explanatory notes that form part of a rates bill.

Recent changes to business rates

  • There is a revaluation of all business rates properties in England from 1 April 2017.  Rates bills for 2017/18 will be based on the new rateable value.
  • The new rateable values are available from the Valuation Office Agency website
  • The government has adjusted the rate in the £ following the revaluation to 46.6p. Larger business with a rateable value of £51,000 or more will also pay a supplement of 1.3p in the £.
  • There will be a transitional phasing (or 'relief') scheme which will limit how much each bill can increase or reduce due to the revaluation depending on the rateable value of the property.
  • Small Business Rate Relief  of up to 100% will continue indefinitely.  From April 2017 100% Small Business Rate Relief will apply to qualifying properties with a rateable value of up to £12,000 and tapered relief will apply to properties with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £14,999.
  • The minimum rateable value for charging empty property rates will increase from £2,600 to £2,900 from 1 April 2017. 

Budget announcement 8 March 2017

The Government announced extra help for some businesses facing increases due to the revaluation.

  • £1,000 rate relief for 1 year for public houses with a rateable value of less than £100,000.
  • A limit on increases to £600 per year for businesses that lose some or all of their small business rate relief.
  • A national hardship fund to provide rate relief to businesses suffering hardship solely due to the revaluation. 

Further information on these measures will be provided when the Government issues more detailed guidance.

Paying your business rates

How to pay your Business Rates

Download a Direct Debit form (PDF)

You should never ignore your rate bill.  The Council will take legal action if a bill is not paid and if you have difficulty paying you should contact the Local Taxation Office office straight away

Small business rate relief

This relief is available to many small businesses occupying properties with a rateable value of less than £12,000. View the Small business rate relief page to apply or get more information.   

Other rate reliefs

  • Charities normally qualify for 80% rate relief and in some cases the Council awards more rate relief. Further information is available in the Council's policy for rate relief for charities and not for profit organisations.
  • Some small rural businesses may qualify for automatic rural rate relief and the Council also awards rate relief to some rural businesses. Further information is available in the Council's policy for rural rate relief.
  • The Council may award rate relief when a property is partly occupied for a short time (often called Section 44a rate relief).  More information is available in the Council's policy for rate relief for partly occupied properties.
  • Business suffering unusual hardship may be able to apply for hardship rate relief. More information is available in the Council's policy for hardship rate relief.
  • The Council also has a general power to give rate relief if it is reasonable to do so having regard to the interests of local Council Taxpayers. More information is available in the Council's policy for local rate relief.

Empty (unoccupied) properties

The full Business Rates are still charged for most properties when the property is not occupied. There is no charge for either the first 3 months (shops, offices, etc.) or the first 6 months (industrial units, warehouses, etc.) that the property is unoccupied. The rate free period starts on the first day that the property is vacant not from the date a lease ends or the property is sold. More information about unoccupied property rates.

Rateable values 

The Valuation Office Agency is responsible for assessing the rateable value for each property. For more information about property valuations or to find the rateable value of a property please visit the Valuation Office Agency website.  

Information to accompany rate bills

More information about spending and services by Bedford Borough Council, the Police Commissioner for Bedfordshire and Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Authority is available.