Coronavirus: Budget 2020-21 Includes Further Rates Reduction

Finance Minister Conor Murphy announces the Executive is reducing non-domestic Regional Rates

The Northern Ireland Executive’s 2020-21 Budget has been published and includes several rates measures. These will be kept under review and further steps may be deemed necessary.

Rates reduction
The Regional Rate has been adjusted downward to offset the change in the total rateable value due to Reval2020. A further 12.5 per cent cut has now been made in the Budget.

This will effectively see an 18 per cent reduction on the 2019-20 figure. This is intended to benefit all business ratepayers and help with the economic recovery needed on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rates holiday for businesses
As previously announced, all business ratepayers will benefit from a three-month business rate holiday. This is to help SMEs with the significant cash flow difficulties they are facing during the pandemic. This will be shown as a 25 per cent discount on the annual rate bill for business ratepayers.

Small Business Rate Relief
The Small Business Rate Relief scheme will be continued in 2020-21. The rates of relief and thresholds for eligibility have not changed.

Rural ATM rates relief
The rural ATM scheme has been restored which will help to sustain cash flow in isolated rural areas.

Delay in rate bills
Rates bills for businesses will be delayed until the last possible moment, with the first bills to be issued in June.

When rate bills issue in June 2020, ratepayers can still choose to pay their bill in monthly instalments between June 2020 and March 2021. Monthly Direct Debit payment plans will be updated to collect payments between June 2020 and March 2021.

This will defer expenses as businesses await the payments due in June under the Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

What additional rates support is available for businesses?
In addition to the COVID-19 measures announced, there are other existing reliefs available to help business ratepayers. These rate support schemes include: