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Mandatory and Discretionary Rate Relief

Mandatory and Discretionary rate relief was introduced by the 1988 Finance Act. The Act sets out who qualifies for relief as well the rights and obligations of ratepayers.

Mandatory Relief

Mandatory rate relief can be awarded to both occupied and unoccupied property.
Property that is occupied by a charity or trustees of a charity, and is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes will be granted 80% of the mandatory relief.
Where the property is unoccupied , and the ratepayer is a charity or trustees for a charity, and it appears that when next in use, the property will be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes, the liability is 10%.

Definition of a charity

A charity is an institution or other organisation established for charitable purposes only, or any persons administering a trust for charitable purposes only. Most charities will be registered with the Charity Commissioners.
Absence from the Charity Commissioners register does not necessarily mean that an organisation is not a charity. The following organisations are exempt from registration.

  • The Church Commissioners and any institution administered by them;  
  • Any registered society within the meaning of the Friendly Society Acts 1896-1974;  
  • Boy Scouts and Girl Guides Associations;  
  • Voluntary schools within the meaning of the Education Acts 1944-1980 and having no permanent endowment other than the school premises.

A charity shop will be entitled to mandatory relief if;

  • It is wholly or mainly used for the sale of goods to the charity; and  
  • If the proceeds of the sale of the goods are used for the purposes of the charity.
  • Discretionary Relief
  • This relief can be applied to both occupied and unoccupied liabilities.
  • In order for discretionary relief to be applied, any of the following conditions must be satisfied;
  • The ratepayer is a charity or trustees for a charity and the property is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.
  • The property is occupied by organisations which are not established or conducted for profit and whose main objects are charitable or are otherwise philanthropic or religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts; or
  • It is wholly or mainly used for recreation, and all or part of it is occupied by a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit.

Refusal to grant relief cannot be challenged at a liability order hearing at Magistrates Court. The only recourse against a failed application is for Judicial Review at the High Court.

Contact us for any applications forms.

Phone (01462) 474668
Fax (01462) 474496