Registered charity rate relief

Charity rate relief is available where registered charities are making substantial use of a property for the purposes set out in their charitable objects. 

If you are a registered charity, you must apply for charity relief rather than small business relief. If your charity isn't registered, see not for profit organisation rate relief.

It's important to understand the potential risks for both the charity and its trustees if you're thinking about committing to a tenancy agreement expecting to get rates relief. The Charity Commission gives useful advice about the risks of entering into a tenancy agreement and applying for rate relief.

How much rate relief registered charities can get

There are some mandatory discounts and some discretionary ones. All registered charities can get the mandatory discount if we agree they are making substantial use of the property for the purposes set out in their charitable objects. Some types of charity can also ask for an extra discretionary discount. This isn't guaranteed. 

Discounts for registered charities

Categories for charitable rate relief
Type of charityMandatory discount Maximum discretionary discount Rate relief category
Village halls, community centres, meeting rooms  80%  20%  1
Youth organisations  80%  20%  2
Voluntary schools - aided and Special Agreement  80%   -   3
Schools / colleges including foundation schools  80%   -   4
Nursery schools  80%  20%  5
Charity shops - local charity within Cheshire and with own accounts  80%  20%  6
Charity shops - national charity  80%   -   7
Drop in / advice centres with open access to public  80%  20%  8
Local charity admin office - within Cheshire and with own accounts  80%  20%  9
National charity admin offices  80%   -   10
Sports and social clubs with a bar and where the rateable value is above the Small Business Rate Relief threshold  80%   -   11
Sports and social clubs with a bar and where the rateable value is below the Small Business Rate Relief threshold  80% 5%  12
Sports and social clubs without a bar and where the rateable value is above the Small Business Rate Relief threshold  80%   -   13
Sports and social clubs with a bar and where the rateable value is below the Small Business Rate Relief threshold  80%  20%  14
Museums / historical houses / heritage centres - free admission  80%  20%  18
Museums / historical houses / heritage centres - admission charged   80%  10%  19
Other local charities - within Cheshire and with own accounts  80%  20%  20
Other national charities  80%   -   21
Social housing organisation premises (Registered Friendly Societies)  80%   -   22

How to apply for registered charity rate relief

To apply for rate relief for a registered charity, print off and return a rate relief application form (PDF, 223KB).

You must keep paying the rates shown on your bill while you wait to hear from us, unless we've agreed you don't have to.

Backdating charity rate relief

The rules about backdating depend on whether the relief is mandatory or discretionary.

Mandatory relief 

You can backdate mandatory relief claims to 1 April 2000.

Discretionary relief

You can only apply for discretionary relief up to the 30 September following the 1 April - 31 March period the application relates to. This means you must apply for any relief for the rating year ending 31 March 2017 before 30 September 2017.

What happens next 

We'll normally visit the property to make sure it's being used to support the charity's objects. We'll also check that the use is substantial - we can't give the discount if it isn't. If you're applying for any discretionary relief, we'll consider what we can give.

When we give discretionary relief, we are spending Council Tax payers' money, so we need to be sure that giving the relief will benefit the community. We follow guidelines set down by councillors.

Once we've made our decision, we'll either send you a new bill or let you know why you can't get a discount.

We try to make decisions within 4 weeks of getting all the information, but it might take longer.

If you think we've made a mistake about a mandatory relief or you want to challenge a decision about a discretionary relief, you can appeal

Renewing registered charity rate relief

Once charity relief is added to your bill, you'll get the relief automatically the next year. 

Changes in circumstances for charity rate relief

You must tell us about any changes that mean the property no longer counts for charity rate relief.

We do sometimes review reliefs. If you haven't told us about a change that means your property no longer counts, you'll have to pay the backdated business rates within 14 days