Business rates explained

Find out who has to pay business rates and where the money goes.

What are business rates

Non-domestic rates, or business rates, collected by the local authority are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. 

Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1 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. 

The money, together with revenue from council tax payers, revenue support grant provided by the government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided.

Who pays business rates

You’ll probably have to pay business rates if you use a building for some other reason than a home, for example as a shop, office, café or warehouse. You’re responsible for paying business rates if you occupy the property, whether you’re the owner or the leaseholder.

Business rates go towards local services in Bristol like education, adult care, planning, and street lights.

Business rates are based on the value of the property. Find out more about how business rates are calculated.

Find out how business rates are calculated, and where your money goes in our business rates explained 2017 to 18 document (pdf, 151k) (opens new window) .