Business Rates: The Basics


Rates are a property tax used to fund both local and regional services in Northern Ireland. They are collected by Land & Property Services on behalf of the Northern Ireland Executive and the district councils. There are two different rates, a domestic rate for residential properties and a business rate for non-domestic properties.

Business rates

Business rates are a rate for all non-domestic properties, such as offices, factories and shops, with individual bills based on the rental value of your property as at 1 April 2001, the last rental valuation in Northern Ireland. If you use a building or part of a building for business, you will probably have to pay business rates.

You have a legal and civic responsibility to pay your rate bill.

This guide explains who pays business rates, how business rates are calculated and what you should do if you occupy, leave or vacate a property. This guide also outlines what action you should take if you can’t pay your rate bill and the consequences if you don’t pay your rate bill.

You can read information on domestic rates on the nidirect website .

Please note that a revaluation of non-domestic properties in Northern Ireland is currently taking place and from April 2015 a new valuation list based on 2013 values will be published. Non-domestic rate payers are being urged to provide rental information now. You can read further details of the revaluation of non-domestic properties on the Reval 2015 NI website.

Rates and your business premises

Business or non-domestic premises include most commercial properties, such as shops, offices, pubs, warehouses and factories. However, there are some exceptions:

  • places of public religious worship and church halls
  • fish farms
  • most farmland and farm buildings
  • moveable moorings
  • public parks
  • sewers
  • some types of property used by disabled people

Mixed use properties

If part of a building is used for business and part for residential purposes – such as a shop with a flat above or a solicitor’s office in a domestic property – the part used for business counts as non-domestic premises. So, if you live and work in the same premises, you generally pay business rates on the part of the property used for business and domestic rates on the residential part.

Rental properties

Business rates may also be payable on domestic premises that are used for business – for example if you work from home, provide bed-and-breakfast or hire out your home as a holiday home.

You can read more information on rental properties for businesses in nibusinessinfo’s guide on rental properties.

Working from home

If you work from home, the part of the property used for work may be liable for business rates. You will still have to pay domestic rates on the rest of the property. Whether you are charged business rates or not depends on the degree of business use. You are more likely to have to pay business rates if a room is used exclusively for business, or has been modified, eg as a workshop. Each case is considered individually.

See nibusinessinfo’s guide use your home as a workplace.

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