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Rates and reductions

Information on the rateable value of business properties and information on reductions available for empty or partly occupied properties.

Rateable values

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The rateable value of all business properties are assessed by The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) which is an agency of the Inland Revenue.

Details of your rateable value are shown on your bill or you can contact the revenues section to find out the rateable value of your property.

Details of the rateable values of all properties are available at the VOA's website in the 2017 rating list.

Reasons for appeal

You may have grounds to appeal rateable value if there has been a material change in your property such as;

  • A change in the physical state, such as adding to or demolishing part of it
  • A change in its use
  • A physical change in locality
  • A change in the use of a neighbouring property.
  • If part of your property has become exempt

The 2017 revaluation introduces a new rates appeal system which ratepayers must use for appeals made from 1 April 2017 called Check, Challenge, Appeal.

You can find and review your rateable value on the VOA’s website.  If you have reason to believe that your 2017 rateable value is not correct, follow the instructions provided on the site.  You will need to do the following (not available until 1 April 2017):

  • Check - review and confirm the facts about your property held by the Valuation Office Agency.
  • Challenge – once the facts are established, explain why you believe your valuation is wrong.

An appeal on your 2017 rateable value is not possible, and may not be necessary, until you have completed Check and Challenge.

If you start a check, challenge or appeal process with the VOA, you must continue to pay your business rates as shown on the bill we have sent you. If the VOA alter your rateable value which creates a credit on your account you will be entitled for the credit to be refunded to you.

Protect yourself against fraudulent agents

If you wish to query your rateable value, you should contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) as detailed above.

However some ratepayers may prefer to employ a rating agent. If this is the case, it is important to be certain you are employing a professional and reputable agent. Professional rating advice is available from members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  Reputable rating advice can also be obtained from The Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV) .

It is important to be wary of an agent that demands a large up front fee or a large percentage commission as an appeal to the VOA is free. Always read the small print on any contract.

Business rates will not be payable for most properties in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After the relevant rate-free period expires an empty property will be liable for 100% of the basic occupied business rate, unless it:

  • Qualifies for a zero rate as provided in The Rating (Empty Properties) Act 2007 because it is held by a charity and appears likely to be next used for charitable purposes, or is held by a community amateur sports club (CASC) and appears likely to be next used for the purposes of the club:
  • Or qualifies for an exemption from empty rates under the NNDR (Unoccupied Property) Regulations.
  • Has a rateable value of up to £2,899 (£2,599 prior to 1 April 2017)

If a property is only partly occupied, The Billing Authority has discretion to request that the Valuation Officer apportions the property’s rateable value between its occupied and unoccupied parts.

This means the empty property rate applies to the empty part of an apportioned building and the occupied business rate applies to the occupied part.

The empty part would receive a complete exemption for the first three months (or six months in the case of an industrial property). In most cases after the initial rate-free period the apportionment would cease to have effect as the full occupied rate would apply to the whole property. However, if the property qualified for a zero rate or an exemption specified above, the apportionment would continue to have an effect and the owner would not be liable for rates on the unoccupied part.

Contact details

Cornwall Council

Revenues section
Telephone: 0300 1234 171
Online: Contact business rates online

Telephone: 0207 831 3505


Telephone: 0207 222 7000
Helpline: 020 7334 3811

Valuation Office

Valuation Office Agency
Non-domestic Rates South West
2nd Floor Temple Quay House
The Square
Temple Quay, Bristol


Telephone: 03000 501501