Posted: Fri 22nd Apr 2022
Some companies that pay business rates in England and were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic but didn't qualify for previous business rates-related support may still be able to claim 100% relief on their 2021/22 payments.
The government announced the £1.5bn COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) in March 2021 but the amount allocated to each English local authority and the types of businesses that can be supported was not confirmed until December when the government issued guidance.
Businesses can receive up to a 100% refund on the rates they paid in the last tax year if they have been affected by the pandemic but were ineligible for other business rates relief schemes.
To be eligible, businesses must:
have been adversely affected by COVID-19
have been in occupation of their premises and trading or providing a service during the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2022
be liable to pay business rates between the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2022
CARF will not be awarded if the business received or was eligible for:
the Extended Retail Discount (covering retail, hospitality and leisure)
the Nursery Discount
the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme
Examples of eligible businesses include:
manufacturing or wholesale businesses occupying properties such as factories, workshops, warehouses and trade only stores.
transport businesses occupying properties such as coach depot, storage, distribution and office-based transport businesses.
office based professional services.
How to access the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund
Some councils have already delivered the business rates relief but many have yet to do so.
In March, research by real estate advisory business Gerald Eve showed only 32% of councils had made any payments through the fund.
Jerry Schurder, business rates policy lead at Gerald Eve, said the research found "that where local authorities have put schemes in place, a mix of onerous documentation requirements, a lack of clarity on what businesses will receive and when, arbitrary caps on the relief provided, and paltry sums potentially available are proving a real deterrent to businesses".
The relief is not automatically paid and businesses need to apply via their local authority. To check if the relief is available in your area, find your council website here.
Here are some examples of councils with schemes currently open: