What are business rates?
Business rates (or non-domestic rates) collected by the local authorities are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services.
Under the 'business rates retention' arrangements, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally.
The money, together with revenue from council tax payers and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by the local authority.
You can find more information about business rates on GOV.UK
Who is liable to pay?
Most non-domestic premises have to pay business rates. This includes commercial properties such as shops, offices, pubs, warehouses and factories.
The occupier of a non-domestic property normally pays business rates. This can be one person or a company. This could be an owner-occupier, a leaseholder, a sub-lessee, a tenant or a subtenant. It does not matter whether the occupation of the premises is subject to a proper legal agreement or not.
If you lease a property from a landlord, but keep it empty, you are still liable for empty rates. This is because the lease entitles you, rather than your landlord to occupy the property.
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