Retail Discount 2021

Since 2019/20 the government has provided a Business Rates Retail Discount for retail properties which for 2020/21 it expanded to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. On 3 March 2021 the government confirmed that the Expanded Retail Discount would continue to apply in 2021/22 at 100% for three months, from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021, and at 66% for the remaining period, from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022. The government confirmed that there would be no cash cap on the relief received for the period from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021, relief will be capped at £105,000 per business, or £2 million per business where the business is in occupation of a property that was required, or would have been required, to close, based on the law and guidance applicable on 5 January 2021.
Retail Discount from 1 July 2021 is subject to a cash cap. The cash cap does not apply for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.
Businesses are required to complete a declaration regarding the cash cap to either accept or refuse the Retail Discount from 1 July 2021. To accept the 66% Retail Discount from 1 July 2021 please complete and email FORM A to refuse complete and email FORM B. Before completing the appropriate form please read the guidance. The forms are at the end of the guidance set out below.

The Cash Caps

  1. No cash caps will apply for the period between 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.
  2. Under the cash caps, a ratepayer may only receive up to the following cash caps of Expanded Retail Discount in 2021/22 ignoring any relief for the period before 1 July 2021:
  • A. £2 million for ratepayers meeting the eligibility for the closed cash cap test set out in the section “Eligibility for the Closed Cash Cap (£2 million) (subject to paragraphs 3 - 5), or
  • B. £105,000 for all other ratepayers (subject to paragraphs 21-23).
  1. No ratepayer can in any circumstances exceed the £2 million cash cap across all of their hereditaments in England. Where a ratepayer eligible for the closed cash cap also occupies hereditaments which do not meet the criteria for the closed cash cap and the value of the discount on the closed hereditaments is less than £2 million then they may also claim the discount on other eligible hereditaments but only up to the cap of £105,000 in respect of those other eligible hereditaments. For example, such a ratepayer whose rate bill from 1 July 2021 onwards on hereditaments eligible for the closed cash cap is £1 million and also occupies other eligible hereditaments with a rates bill of £3 million is able to claim up to £1,105,000 in discount from 1 July 2021 onwards (£1million on their closed hereditament and then up to the £105,000 cash cap on their other eligible hereditaments).
  2. Where a ratepayer has a qualifying connection with another ratepayer then those ratepayers should be considered as one ratepayer for the purposes of the cash caps. A ratepayer shall be treated as having a qualifying connection with another:
  • A. where both ratepayers are companies, and
    • i. one is a subsidiary of the other, or
    • ii. both are subsidiaries of the same company; or
  • B. where only one ratepayer is a company, the other ratepayer (the “second ratepayer”) has such an interest in that company as would, if the second ratepayer were a company, result in its being the holding company of the other.
  1. In those cases where it is clear to the local authority that the ratepayer is likely to breach the cash caps then the authority should automatically withhold the discount. Otherwise, local authorities may include the discount in bills and ask the ratepayers, on a self-assessment basis, to inform the authority if they are in breach of the cash caps. Annex D of this guidance contains a sample cash cap ratepayer declaration, which local authorities may wish to use to discharge this responsibility.

Eligibility for the Closed Cash Cap

Ratepayers that meet the eligibility criteria for the closed cash cap will be ratepayers who for a chargeable day occupy one or more hereditaments whose use on the chargeable day would, based on the law and guidance applicable on 5 January 2021, have meant that the business or activity would have been mandated to close by the government.
  1. For the avoidance of doubt, hereditaments which have closed due to the government’s response to coronavirus should be treated as occupied for the purposes of the closed cash cap.
  2. If, under this eligibility test, a person would have been required to close its main, in-person service but could have adapted its business to operate takeaway, click and collect or online with delivery services, it will be considered closed and be eligible for the closed cash cap because its substantive business would have been mandated to close.
  3. In cases where hereditaments would have remained open to provide services that can continue as they are exempt from the regulations (e.g. post office services, food banks) the ratepayer may still be eligible for the closed cash cap, because they would have been unable to provide their main in-person service.
  4. The following hereditaments do not meet eligibility for the closed cash cap:
  • A. Hereditaments occupied by businesses and other ratepayers that would have been able to conduct their main service because they do not depend on providing direct in-person services from premises and can operate their services effectively remotely (e.g. accountants, solicitors).
  • B. Hereditaments whose occupiers may have chosen to close but not been required to.
More information can be found on the Government website.