Mandatory relief from rates for charities and registered community amateur sports clubs. Discretionary relief for charitable and voluntary organisations.

This applies to any non-domestic property which is wholly or mainly used for charitable or non-profit making purposes.

Relief is given at 80% of the full rate bill or of the transitional bill where the transitional arrangements apply. Billing authorities have the discretion to remit all or part of the remaining 20% of the bill on such property.

Authorities also have the discretion to remit all or part of any rate bill in respect of property occupied by certain bodies not established or conducted for profit. 

Who qualifies for mandatory relief? (Maximum 80%)

Occupiers of the following qualify for mandatory rate relief:

  • non-domestic premises occupied by a charity or the trustees of a charity where the premises are used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes
  • non-domestic premises occupied by an organisation, which although not a registered charity, has charitable objectives (a copy of the Articles of Association or the constitution of the organisation must be provided for inspection by the council)
  • in the cases of charity shops, use of the premises must be wholly or mainly for the sale of goods donated to the charity and the proceeds of the sale (after deductions for expenses) applied for the purposes of the charity
  • registered community amateur sports clubs

Where a property receives mandatory relief, a claim cannot be made for Small Business Rate Relief.

Who qualifies for discretionary relief? (Maximum 100%)

The council has a discretionary power to grant relief from rates in respect of non-domestic premises occupied by one of the following:

  • non-profit making organisations whose main objectives are charitable, philanthropic, religious, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts
  • non-profit making organisations occupying premises wholly or mainly for the purposes of recreation
  • organisations entitled to mandatory relief as set out above

Each application for discretionary relief is considered on an individual basis.

The council's Cabinet Resources Panel will take into account the criteria set out below, which it would expect an organisation to comply with, either in whole or in part.

Criteria for discretionary relief

  • organisations should have an open membership policy
  • facilities should be provided for disadvantaged groups
  • facilities should be available to non-members
  • whether the organisation provides training for its members particularly the young
  • facilities should be provided by self-help or by grants from bodies other than the council
  • facilities provided should be complementary to those provided by the council or relieve the council of the need to provide such facilities
  • the facilities should, in the main, be for the benefit of those who reside in the city
  • generally, no discretionary relief will be granted to national charitable organisations
  • rate relief will not be granted to sports and social clubs of industrial firms or other business organisations
  • no relief will be granted where the organisation is capable of supporting itself financially without the need for assistance from the council
  • organisations which receive direct grant aid from the council will be granted rate relief but the amount of grant aid will be correspondingly reduced. Relief will not be granted where government funding is available to meet the liability

Criteria for discretionary relief for sports clubs

  • more than 50% of the membership should be active playing members
  • generally, no relief will be allowed where an admission fee is charged to the public, or where a club is a professional or semi-professional organisation
  • applications from organisations involved in minority sports will be given sympathetic consideration
  • in the cases of clubs with bar facilities, relief will generally not exceed 50% unless there are exceptional circumstances
  • sympathetic consideration will be given to organisations affiliated to local or national organisations and where participation in local/national events publicises and promotes the city of Wolverhampton

Duration of the rate relief

Where an application is determined by the council prior to 30 September relief will be allowed for both the current and previous financial years where appropriate. An application will only be determined for the previous financial year, if the application and full supporting information is received in the Council's Finance Department not later than 31 August.

In the cases of applications determined after 30 September, rate relief will only be allowed from 1 April in the current financial year or a later date where appropriate.

How to claim rate relief

To claim rate relief, download and complete the charitable and similar organisations rate relief application form, from the download section, and return it to the address stated on the form.

The Articles of Association, Constitution or rules of the organisation should be sent to the Business Rates Office. You should also send copies of the last two years' annual reports and audited accounts. If audited accounts are not available, financial statements prepared by an appropriate officer of the organisation should be submitted to the Business Rates Office.

An application for rate relief should be made immediately even if the Valuation Office Agency has not assessed a rateable value for the premises. 

Apply for Relief