Reductions and reliefs

Some properties are eligible for discounts on their business rates; these are called ‘business rates reliefs’.

You can read about the available reliefs, including how to apply, below:

COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

In March 2021 the government announced that they would provide support to businesses outside of the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Read the official statement on GOV.UK.

On Wednesday 15 December 2021, guidance for a COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) scheme was issued to local authorities. Read the CARF guidance on GOV.UK.

We designed a scheme that will provide as much business rates relief to as many businesses as possible. Read more about the COVID-19 business rates relief. We made automatic awards to those businesses that we identified as being eligible and sent amended business rates bills for 2021/2022.

Who qualifies for this discount?

To be eligible for a discount the business premises will have:

  • a rateable value of £51,000 or less
  • been occupied on 20 March 2020, which is prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • be occupied throughout 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 (temporary periods of closures due to national lockdown are ignored for the purpose of the discount)
  • be operating a business from a:
    • business unit
    • factory
    • office
    • warehouse
    • workshop

You won’t be eligible for a discount if the business is, for example:

  • an advertising assessment
  • a building or land used for storage
  • utilities
  • a school or a public sector organisation
  • a doctors surgery
  • a bank or building society

In all cases there must be a business operating from the property and be where employees work on site.

How much will I receive?

Eligible businesses will receive a 66% discount on their 2021/2022 business rates liability for each eligible property. 

What if I've already cleared my 2021/2022 liability?

If you’ve already paid, this discount will put you in credit. Where payments have been made by Direct Debit, we'll automatically refund the credit back to the bank account that the Direct Debit has been taken from. If you don't pay by Direct Debit you'll need to apply for a refund.

You can also use the credit to reduce the 2022/2023 amount. If we don't receive a refund request within one month of being notified of an award, the credit will be transferred to the 2022/2023 account and an amended bill will be issued.

What if I don’t receive an automatic award but I meet the criteria?

If you didn't receive an amended bill by Friday 29 April 2022 but you think you qualify for an award, please contact us online to check your eligibility.

Subsidy allowance/state aid

This discretionary relief is subject to subsidy allowance conditions (formally state aid). Any business that has exceeded their allowance is not entitled to receive a grant and you should contact us online to refuse the relief.

Data protection and data sharing

Barnsley Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing, administrating public funds or where undertaking a public function in order to prevent and detect fraud.

Expanded retail discount scheme - 2021/22

On Wednesday 3 March 2021, the government confirmed that the expanded retail discount would continue to apply in 2021 to 2022 at 100% for three months from Thursday 1 April 2020 to Wednesday 30 June 2021 with no cash cap on the discount for this period, and a further 66% discount for the remaining period from Thursday 1 July 2022 to Thursday 31 March 2022. 

From Thursday 1 July 2021, the discount will be capped at £2 million per business that was required to be closed on Tuesday 5 January 2021 or £105,000 per business for those allowed to open during the national lockdown period.  

Find out more about the expanded retail discount scheme.


  • Be occupied (temporary periods of closures due to national Lockdown are ignored for the purpose of the discount).
  • Be wholly or mainly being used:
    • as a shop, including markets, chemists, newsagents, petrol stations and hairdressers.
    • as a restaurant, café, drinking establishment, cinema or live music venue.
    • for assembly and leisure.
    • as a hotel, guest and boarding premise, or self-catering accommodation.

You won't be eligible for the discount if the premises are being used for:

  • the provision of financial services, such as banks, building societies, cash points, bureau de change or short term loan providers.
  • medical services such as dentists, doctors, vets, osteopaths or chiropractors.
  • professional services such as solicitors accountants and insurance agents or financial advisors.
  • post office sorting offices.

The discount has been automatically extended into the first three months of 2021 to 2022 to ratepayers that have previously been identified as meeting the criteria. Visit the Valuation Office Agency for more information on identifying if you qualify.

If you meet the eligibility criteria and do not exceed the cash cap but have not received an automatic award, fill in our online form below to apply for the extended retail discount.

Apply for the expanded retail discount scheme

What if I don’t want to receive the relief or I exceed the cash cap?

You can opt-out of receiving the discount from 2021 to 2022 by contacting us that you wish to not receive the discount in relation to the premises. Your bill refers to at any time up to Saturday 30 April 2022, once the discount has been refused it is not possible to withdraw the refusal for all or any part of the discount period. 

Please note that the government and Barnsley Council will not tolerate any business falsifying their records or providing false evidence to gain this discount, including claiming support above the cash cap.  A ratepayer who falsely applies for any relief, or provides false information or makes a false representation in order to gain relief may be guilty of fraud under the Fraud Act 2006.  Checks will be undertaken to protect the council against fraudulent activity. 

Retail discount scheme - 2020/21

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

A 12-month business rates holiday is available for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England.

To be eligible for the discount the premises must:

  • be occupied
  • be wholly or mainly being used:
    • as a shop, including markets, chemists, newsagents, petrol stations and hairdressers;
    • as a restaurant, cafe, drinking establishment, cinema or live music venue;
    • for assembly and leisure; or
    • as a hotel, guest and boarding premise, or self-catering accommodation.

You won’t be eligible for the discount if the premises are being used for:

  • the provision of financial services, such as banks, building societies, cash points, bureau de change or short-term loan providers;
  • medical services, such as dentists, doctors, vets, osteopaths or chiropractors;
  • professional services, such as solicitors, accountants and insurance agents or financial advisors;
  • post office sorting offices.

More information about the businesses that qualify can be found in the retail discount guidance.

The discount will automatically be applied in 2020/2021 to ratepayers that have been identified as meeting the criteria. The Valuation Office Agency property description has been used to identify those that qualify.

Check your business rates online.

There's no longer any limit to a property's rateable value, however this retail discount scheme counts towards state aid. Businesses that may exceed the state aid limit by receiving this award will not automatically be given the award, and will need to apply. The government are currently seeking approval to change these limitations. Should these rules change, any businesses that will qualify will automatically be given an award.

If you meet the eligibility criteria but have not received an award, fill in our online form below to apply for the retail discount. The scheme closes to new applications on Thursday 30 September 2021.

Small business rate relief

  • The doubling of the small business rate relief from 50% to 100% was made permanent from 1 April 2017

  • The £6,000 and £12,000 thresholds were increased to £12,000 and £15,000 respectively. Properties with a rateable value of £12,000 or below that meet the eligibility criteria will receive 100% relief.

    Those businesses with rateable values between £12,001 and £14,999 will receive tapered relief. The taper will operate as it does now, with 100% relief for eligible hereditaments (properties that can be inherited) with a rateable value up to £12,000, decreasing to 0% relief for hereditaments with a rateable value of £15,000 or above.
  • If your property has a rateable value between £12,001 and £15,000, click here to check how much relief you will receive.

  • If you occupy other properties, the rateable values can be up to £2,900 and the total rateable value of them all can't exceed £19,999.

You can complete an application for Small Business Rate Relief using our online form below.

Small Business Rate Relief prior to April 2017

You can get small business rate relief if:

  • you only occupy one business property in England and its rateable value is less than £12,000. (From 2014/15, businesses receiving the relief will keep it for an additional year if they take on an additional property that would previously have caused them to lose it).
  • you occupy a main property with a rateable value of less than £12,000, but also occupy other properties, each with rateable values under £2,600, and the total rateable value of all them doesn't exceed £17,999. Relief can only be awarded on the property with the highest rateable value.

You won't pay business rates on a property with a rateable value of £6,000 or less.

If your property's rateable value's between £6,000 and £12,000, you can get between 99% and 1% relief. 

Charitable rate relief


Registered charities can apply for charitable rate relief of up to 80% if a property's used for charitable purposes. This includes shops, providing that the goods on sale are wholly or mainly donated. Fill in our online form below to apply for relief.

In some circumstances, we can grant additional relief to charities. Read our discretionary relief policy or read our discretionary relief guidelines.

Where a property's owned by, or let to, a charity and is currently empty, zero rates apply, provided that it's used for charitable purposes when it's next occupied.

To register as a charity, you should make a request directly to the Charity Commission. You'll find more information about registering on the Charity Commission website.

Community amateur sports clubs (CASC)

Amateur sports clubs registered with HM Revenue and Customs can also apply for up to 80 per cent relief. Fill in our online form below to apply for relief.

 Visit the HM Revenue and Customs website for information on registering or write to HMRC Charities, Sports Club Unit, St John's House, Bootle, Merseyside L69 9BB.

In some circumstances, we can grant additional relief to community amateur sports clubs.

You can apply for CASC status through HM Revenue and Customs.

Non-profit making organisations

Discretionary relief may be awarded to certain other non-profit-making bodies, such as sports clubs, social enterprises and community associations. Fill in our online form below to apply for relief.

Each application is considered on its own merit. 

To support your application, you’ll also need to upload a copy of your organisation's:

  • memorandum and articles to show what you do
  • audited accounts and balance sheets for the last two years (if these aren’t available, provide financial statements prepared by an appropriate officer of the organisation)
  • tenancy agreement (where applicable)

Rural rate relief

You may qualify for rural rate relief if your business is in a rural area with a population below 3,000.

These are the rural areas in Barnsley that are eligible for relief:


  • Billingley
  • Brierley
  • Cawthorne
  • Dunford Bridge
  • Great Houghton
  • Gunthwaite and Ingbirchworth
  • High Hoyland
  • Hunshelf
  • Langsett
  • Little Houghton
  • Oxspring
  • Silkstone
  • Stainborough
  • Tankersley
  • Thurgoland
  • Wortley

Other areas

  • Broomhill
  • Carlecoates
  • Crane Moor
  • Crow Edge
  • Green Moor
  • Hemingfield
  • Hood Green
  • Howbrook
  • Hoylandswaine
  • Hunthwaite
  • Jump
  • Middlecliffe
  • Millhouse Green
  • Pilley
  • Silkstone Common
  • Thurlstone
  • Townhead

Fill in our online form below to apply for relief.

You can get 50% off your business rates if your business is:

  • the only village shop or post office, with a rateable value of up to £8,500; or
  • the only public house or petrol station, with a rateable value of up to £12,500

We can also top up the mandatory 50% relief to 100% by granting discretionary relief; read our discretionary relief policy (from April 2016) and our previous discretionary relief guidelines (prior to April 2016) for more information.

We may also grant up to 100 per cent discretionary relief to other retail businesses in rural areas, which have a rateable value less than £16,500, providing you can show that the business will benefit the local community.

Rural rate relief from April 2017

You’ll get 100% off your business rates if you apply and qualify for mandatory rural rate relief.

Empty property relief

Empty property rates are payable on most commercial properties by the 'person entitled to possession'. This is usually the leaseholder or tenant if there is one, or the freeholder if not.

You don't have to pay business rates on empty buildings for the first three months the building's empty. This period is extended to six months for properties classed as industrial, such as factories, warehouses or workshops.

After the three month exemption, you'll pay 100% of the occupied rate, unless one of the following exemptions applies:

  • ​the rateable value is less than £2,600, increasing to £2,900 from 1 April 2017
  • the property, when next in use, is likely to be occupied by a charity or community sports club
  • occupation is prohibited by law
  • the property's empty due to action taken by the crown or by any public or local authority, either to prevent occupation or to acquire the property, for example a compulsory purchase order's been made
  • the property's a listed building or subject to a preservation order
  • properties where the person liable would be so only in his/her capacity as a personal representative of a deceased person, a liquidator, or a trustee under a deed of arrangement
  • properties where the person entitled to possession is the subject of insolvency proceedings, the owner is a company in administration 
Fill in our online form below to apply for relief.

Part occupied property relief

A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rates whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied.

Where a property's partly occupied for a short time, for example when a phased occupation takes place, or where there's ongoing refurbishment, we have the discretion to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Fill in our online form below to apply for relief.

To calculate the rates on each part, we can ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to revalue the property to accurately apportion the rateable value between the occupied and unoccupied areas of the property.

If agreed, the rates on each part will be calculated so that full rates are charged on the occupied part, and empty rates are charged on the unoccupied part.

Rate reductions will only apply for up to three months (six months for an industrial property).  After that, the full charge will be reapplied (unless the empty part is otherwise exempt).

You’ll need to provide details about the temporary nature of the partial occupation, together with a plan showing the occupied and unoccupied parts of the property.

You can do this using our evidence upload form.

When we receive your application, we’ll arrange an inspection of your premises to confirm the partial occupancy. Because of this, we won’t normally accept applications for part occupied relief once your property becomes fully occupied again.

Hardship relief

Under the Local Government Finance Act 1988, we have a discretionary power, in exceptional circumstances, to award up to 100% rate relief to businesses that are experiencing hardship. 

To award hardship relief, we have to be satisfied that:

  • the ratepayer will suffer hardship if relief is not granted
  • any hardship being experienced isn't a normal business risk or within the ratepayer’s control
  • there's a direct benefit to the ratepayer, or the community, and there's no adverse impact to other ratepayers or the community as a result of awarding the relief.

See our current discretionary relief policy (from April 2016) and our previous discretionary relief guidelines (prior to April 16) if you need more detail.

To support your application, you’ll also need to complete out evidence attachment form of your organisation's:

  • current and previous two years' audited accounts
  • last three months' bank statements
  • income and expenditure over the last three months, if not covered in your audited accounts

Disputing a decision

You can ask us to reconsider our decision if we don’t award you a relief or exemption. Just fill in our dispute form below within 28 days of receiving our decision.