Business rates


***COVID-19 UPDATE*** 

We have so far paid out nearly £36 million in COVID-19 grants to more than 2,700 businesses across South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse.  If you wish to claim a grant, but are yet to submit your details, please do so as soon as possible by completing the online form below.  Remember, even if you have received full rate relief and thus not paid rates, you may still be eligible for a grant.

Our Business Rates team continues to work around the clock to process submissions as quickly as possible and all straightforward grant requests which require no extra checks are being processed for payment on the same day we receive them.  Once these claims have been processed it's likely to take another 2-3 days from this point until the money reaches you.

At the same time we are working through around 250 claims which are not straightforward.  There are requests from, for example, businesses who have not previously told us they have been occupying properties, cases where the bank details are  incorrect and other complex issues which need validating.  In most cases, applicants have been contacted for more information where this is required but generally all these non-straightforward cases result in a great deal of additional administrative burden for the team.  If your claim falls into these categories, it is not possible to provide you with definite payments date.  So if you have already emailed us, you do not need to email again, we will get back to you as soon as possible.  If we have requested further information from you, then please return it as soon as possible.


Support for businesses affected by COVID-19

The Council is committed to supporting all local businesses. We are working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to deliver the UK Government’s support for businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

The Government’s package of measures to support businesses include a small business grant funding.  

Please note - businesses that effectively receive 100 per cent rate relief may also be eligible for this grant.

You will need your bank details and a copy of your latest business rates bill available as this information will be required in order to complete the forms. 

Please be aware - submissions are being administered online only, we are not issuing any paper forms – if you receive a paper form this may be a scam.

If you don’t have your business rates bill to hand, dont know your account number or rateable value, please email the business rates team with details of your property address and ratepayer name as it appears on your bill. 

Please note due to the high volumes of contact we are receiving they may not be able to respond immediately.

For a list of frequently asked questions please see the downloads section of this page.

For all business in receipt of small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief (RRR)

A grant of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief (RRR) with a rateable value up to and including £15,000 as at 11 March 2020. This one-off grant of £10,000 is to help businesses meet their ongoing business costs.

To receive the grant for businesses in receipt of SBRR or RRR, please complete this short online form

For businesses in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure businesses)

The package includes grant funding of up to £25,000 for businesses in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure businesses) which, as at 11 March 2020, have a property with a rateable value of less than £51,000. The guidance states that:

  • For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of up to and including £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000
  • For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000

To receive the grant for businesses in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount, please complete this short online form

The council understands this is a distressing time for businesses. Officers are working hard to issue the grants as soon as possible. For further advice about the grant please email vowh.businessrates@secure.capita.co.uk

Discretionary Grant Fund

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils will accept applications from noon Wednesday 3 June 2020 from small businesses for a share of around £1.9 million of government support following the coronavirus outbreak.

The councils are urging all eligible businesses that were ineligible for the Small Business Grant scheme and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Schemes to apply but stressing that the government fund available will only provide enough meaningful support for a very small percentage of eligible businesses.

The government has provided the mandatory national criteria for the funds, but to assess the applications fairly and transparently, the councils have created a detailed discretionary grants scheme to try and identify the businesses most in need.

To apply businesses must have been trading on 11 March 2020 and must meet certain criteria. The full details of the scheme and eligibility criteria are on the councils’ business support website at svbs.co.uk.

Business owners have until midday on Wednesday 17 June to apply for the Discretionary Business Fund at svbs.co.uk/top-up-scheme.

To be able to assess the applications fairly, the councils will need to wait until the application process has closed before applications can be ranked, and so no decisions will be made on applications until after the deadline. It is likely to take a week or two after the deadline to carry out the ranking process and the necessary final checks.

Once that process has been carried out, the councils will notify all applicants whether they’re successful or not. Successful businesses will be provided with an acceptance letter that they’ll need to sign and return before the payments can be made.


A brief overview of business rates

Businesses and other occupiers of non-domestic properties pay non-domestic rates (often known as business rates) to directly contribute towards the costs of council services.

Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1st April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This provides a direct financial incentive for authorities to work with local businesses to create a favourable local environment for growth since authorities will benefit from growth in business rates revenues.  This money, together with revenue from council tax collection and Government grants, is used to pay for the services provided by your council and other local authorities such as the County Council and police in your area.

2017 revaluation

Every five years the Valuation Office Agency carries out a revaluation of all the rateable values in England and Wales.  The current valuation came into force from 1 April 2017 with the introduction of the 2017 Rating List  

You can check your 2017 Rateable Value by visiting the the Valuation Office  GOV.UK This link will take you to an external website... .  

There is a transitional scheme in operation to help phase in any significant increases/decreases in Rateable Value under the 2017 revaluation.

Business rates change of circumstance forms

To notify us you have either occupied or vacated a property which would be liable for business rates please use the forms in the Downloads section of this page.

Business rates contact

Please contact us for further information (see Contact section of this page). This call will cost you 2 pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge. The council's revenues and benefits service, which includes business rates, is provided by the council's contractors Capita Local Government Services.

Last reviewed: 02 - 06 - 2020

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