Help available for business rates


There are a number of reliefs available to business ratepayers.

This guide outlines the various reliefs and allowances available and how to apply for them if you are eligible. These schemes include:

  • Small Business Rate Relief
  • Empty Premises Relief
  • Small Business Rate Relief for small Post Offices
  • Charitable Exemption
  • Sport and Recreation Rate Relief
  • Residential Homes Rate Relief
  • Industrial Derating
  • Non-Domestic Vacant Rating
  • Hardship Relief
  • Automatic telling machines (ATMs) in rural areas
  • Shop Window Displays
  • Large Retail Levy

Small Business Rate Relief

The Small Business Rate Relief scheme is a Northern Ireland government initiative, whose aim is to support the growth and sustainability of small businesses in Northern Ireland, by providing some small business owners with rate relief. Qualifying businesses will receive the relief on their annual bill during the life of the scheme.

This scheme started in April 2010 and will run through until 31 March 2015.

Who qualifies?

Eligibility for the Small Business Rate Relief is based on the Net Annual Value (NAV) of your business property.

Following a review of commercial rating by the Northern Ireland Executive an additional band of 20 per cent relief is available from 1 April 2012.

There are three levels of Small Business Rate Relief:

  • business properties with a NAV of £2,000 or less will receive a reduction of 50 per cent relief
  • business properties with a NAV of more than £2,000 but not more than £5,000 will receive 25 per cent relief
  • business properties with an NAV of more than £5,000 but not more than £10,000 will receive a 20 per cent relief


The following exclusions apply in relation to the Small Business Rate Relief scheme:

  • unoccupied properties
  • partially unoccupied properties
  • Automatic Telling Machines (ATMs)
  • property used for the display of advertisements
  • car parks
  • sewage works
  • telecommunications masts
  • government buildings
  • contiguous properties
  • multiple properties (more than three)

For further information, you can download the LPS factsheet on Small Business Rate Relief (PDF, 88K).

Do I need to apply?

There is no application procedure for the Small Business Rate Relief. Instead, relief will be applied automatically to your business rates bill by Land & Property Services (LPS) if you qualify. This will ensure that if you are eligible you will receive the benefit of the rate relief immediately.

Important changes to Small Business Rate Relief for multiple properties

From 1 April 2012, the Small Business Rate Relief scheme has been modified so that those ratepayers that occupy multiple (more than three) premises of any size, or are part of a chain are not eligible for this rate relief.  An example of this would be a chain of bookmakers.

There may be occasions, due to data quality issues, when LPS may not have the relevant information to apply the relief automatically, or they may have awarded it when it is not due. If you think that you should have been awarded the relief, or you believe you have been awarded it in error, you should contact LPS. You can contact LPS by the following methods:

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