Reductions on your Rates bill


Small Business Bonus scheme review

Inverclyde Council administers Non-Domestic Rates on behalf of the Scottish Government and must ensure reliefs are correctly applied.  A review form has been posted to your business premises which you must return if you believe your business is still entitled. Forms should be completed and returned to by 28th September 2022.

If we do not receive a response by this date we will assume that you no longer wish to be considered for this relief and the relief will be withdrawn from the start of the 2022/23 financial year. 

Small Business Bonus Scheme

The Small Business Bonus scheme allows ratepayers with properties in Scotland with a rateable value of up to £18,000 or less to claim rates relief. Where the cumulative rateable value of a ratepayer’s properties falls between £18,000 and £35,000, the scheme offers 25% relief to individual properties with a rateable value up to £18,000. The rateable value ranges for Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) are:

Combined rateable value of all business properties in Scotland

Percentage relief available, subject to eligibility

£15,000 or less


More than £15,001 but not exceeding £18,000


More than £18,001 but not exceeding £35,000

25% on each individual property with a rateable value of £18,000 or less

Please note that from 1st April 2020, Small Business Bonus Scheme relief is only available to properties that are in active use. If your property is vacant you must apply for empty property relief instead.

You can apply for relief using our Application Form listed within the “documents” section of this webpage.


COVID-19 Retail, Hospitality, Leisure and Aviation (RHLA) relief

The 100% COVID-19 Retail, Hospitality, Leisure and Aviation (RHLA) relief will be extended for the whole of 2021-22. The list of businesses that qualify for the relief are found within the “other websites” section of this page (100” COVID-19 retail, Hospitality, Leisure and Aviation (RHLA).

While there are no changes to eligibility from last year, an application will now be required for this relief in 2021-22 and, where the council deems your property eligible based on the information provided, this will be awarded and will appear in your Non-Domestic Rates bill for the Financial Year 2021-2022.

If you apply after your rates bill has been issued and you are eligible for the relief, a revised bill will be issued.

The application form will be posted to those businesses who qualified during 2020-21 and can also be found within the “documents” section of this webpage.

Businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation sectors are urged to complete and return the application form as quickly as possible to avoid receiving a bill without the relief due. Completed forms should be returned by email by selecting “email us” within the contacts section of this webpage.


Other Reliefs

Your Rates bill can be reduced in certain circumstances, the most common being detailed below:
Please see application forms under Documents on this page.

Empty Property Relief

If your business property is unoccupied and unfurnished you can apply for empty property relief.

Our definition of unfurnished is cleared of all moveable items otherwise the property is being used for storage. Exceptions may relate to

industrial subjects where certain plant and machinery remains.

From 01 April 2016 the following categories of empty rates relief are applicable:

  • Non exempt properties (e.g. offices, retail and leisure subjects): empty relief is calculated at 50% of the normal charge for the first three months and thereafter 10%  relief applies for the remainder of the period whilst the property is empty.
  • Industrial subjects (e.g. factories, warehouses and workshops): full relief from the normal charge is calculated for the first six months and thereafter 10% relief applies for the remainder of the period whilst the property is empty.
  •  Exempt properties (e.g. rateable value less than £1,700, listed buildings (including any subjects in the above two categories), properties where occupation is prohibited by law): full exemption from the normal rates charge will continue to apply for the period the property is empty.

To check what relief you are entitled to, please contact the Non Domestic Rates section on 01475 712270.

Before we can award any reduction, we may arrange to visit the property to check it is empty.

Fresh Start Relief

Under Fresh Start, businesses occupying certain long-term empty properties may be entitled up to 100% business rates relief for up to twelve months from date of occupancy in those premises.

From 1 April 2021

The Fresh Start Relief has been expanded offering 100% relief for 12 months and may be applied if all of the following circumstances are met for the property:

  • must be occupied by a new owner, tenant or sub tenant
  • the property has previously been in receipt of Empty Property Relief for a continuous period of at least six months
  • the property has a Rateable Value of under £95k

You can apply for Fresh Start Relief using our Application Form listed in the “documents” section of this webpage.

New Start Relief

An exemption from rates is available for a new build property that is unoccupied when first entered in the valuation roll in the 2013/14 to 2017/18 financial years.  This exemption can be claimed for up to 15 months, in total, during the 2013/14 to 2019/20 financial years.  The relief can be applied if the following circumstances are all met for the property.

  • The property is entered onto the valuation roll between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2018.
  • The property is unoccupied at the time of entry on the valuation roll
  • The new entry is not as a result of a combination or division of existing entry on the valuation roll or due to the refurbishment or change of an existing entry on the valuation roll (including conversion of a domestic property or a property previously exempt from rating)

Business Growth Accelerator

You might be able to get business growth accelerator relief if:

  • Your premises is a new build property
  • You have to expand or make improvements to your property

Relief is valid for new builds entered into the valuation roll from 01/04/2018 onwards or expansion/improvements resulted in a Rateable Value increase from 01/04/2018 onwards.

From 01/04/2021, relief may also be available where there has been an increase in rateable value following a property improvement and a change of use.

New build premises

If your premises are new builds you won’t have to pay business rates until 12 months after the building was completed.

Business rates also don’t have to be paid on new builds until they’re occupied. New tenants will then qualify for business growth accelerator relief for 12 months.

From 1 April 2021, new builds that are unoccupied may be able to claim relief for up to 3 years. 

Expanding or making improvements to your premises

If you have expanded or made improvements to your property the business rates you’re charged won’t change for 12 months. They will continue to be based on your old rateable value for this period of time.

You can apply for Relief using our Application form listed in the “Documents” section of this webpage.

Mandatory and Discretionary Relief

If your organisation is a registered charity listed on the register maintained by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and the Council determines that a property occupied by your organisation is used “wholly or mainly for charitable purposes” you may be entitled to up to 100% relief.

Recreational or Sports Clubs relief

Relief of up to 100% may be available for properties occupied for the purposes of a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit, which is mainly used for the purposes of sport or recreation.

Renewable Energy Relief

Relief of up to 100% for businesses who are solely concerned with the production of renewable energy subject to state aid de minimus regulations and the rateable value of the property must be £145,000 or less.

Disabled Relief

You may get disabled relief if:

  • you provide residential accommodation to care for people who are ill; or
  • you provide facilities for training people who are ill; or
  • you provide welfare services or workshops for disabled people.

At least half of the floor space must be used for these purposes before relief is available.


Further information regarding Non Domestic Rates is also available on the Scottish Government website under External links on this page.

For further information on our Non Domestic Rates Relief Policy, please see under Documents on this page.