Discretionary Rate Relief

Where the property does not qualify for mandatory relief, the Council is still able to consider the award of discretionary rate relief under section 47 of the LGFA 1988. The Council has a discretion to grant relief of up to 100% to certain non-profit making bodies. The range of bodies eligible for discretionary rate relief is wide and not all of the suggested criteria will be applicable in each case. To be eligible for consideration, the ratepayer must be a non-profit making body and the hereditament used for charitable, philanthropic or religious purposes, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts, or used wholly or mainly for recreation by a not-for-profit club or society.

Discretionary Rate Relief for Non-Profit Making Organisations (up to 100% of charge), Charitable Organisations and Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs (up to 20% of charge - in addition to 80% Mandatory Relief)

Non-profit making organisations

Legislative requirements (Section 47, Local Government Finance Act 1988) -

  • properties where all or part is occupied for the purposes of one or more institutions or other organisations which are not established or conducted for profit and their main objects are charitable or are otherwise philanthropic or religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts; or
  • properties wholly or mainly used for purposes of recreation, and all or part of it is occupied for the purpose of a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit.

This relief cannot be awarded if the ratepayer is a billing or precepting authority.

Charitable organisations and community amateur sports clubs
Legislative requirements (Section 47, Local Government Finance Act 1988) -

  • the ratepayer must be a charity or trustees for a charity or a registered community amateur sports club; and
  • the property must be wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes or for the purposes of the club or other registered clubs.

Council Policy Guidelines - Discretionary Rate Relief for Non-Profit Making Organisations, Charitable Organisations and Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs:

The award of discretionary relief will be considered for organisations or bodies which

a) meet local needs in the district and benefit local people - where the premises in question are used to provide or administer services of a national, County wide or regional nature the City Council will not normally grant discretionary rate relief. The City Council will consider the extent to which the district of Winchester and its residents benefit in determining the level of any discretionary rate relief to be awarded.

b) provide a valuable service to the community - services provided should be complementary to those provided or supported by the Authority or relieve the Authority of the need to provide such services

c) are open to all sections of the community generally or have restricted access by providing for a specific sector of the community for justifiable reasons such as addressing inequality

d) can demonstrate that the way they operates does not discriminate against any section of the community

e) do not have more than 12 months spending available as free reserves (i.e. not legally 'restricted') unless a business plan exists which details how these are to be used to the benefit of the local community. If the ratepayer wholly or mainly provides services that fall into the following categories:

  • facilities for scouts, guides, youth clubs / groups
  • village halls and community centres
  • sports clubs and other organisations providing recreational facilities

the Director of Finance and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources shall specify a maximum level for reserves depending on the ratepayer's liability for maintenance on the property.

f) the interests of the individual ratepayer must be balanced against the wider interests of Winchester's Council Tax payers

g) evidence should be provided to support the application

h) a copy of the previous two years audited accounts for the organisation should be provided

i) relief will be awarded for a two year period and then reviewed.

The Authority wishes to support organisations providing the following categories of 'service' to the residents of the district

a) support for disadvantaged groups e.g. disabled, unemployed, the elderly, health problems, drug & alcohol misuse, young people
b) support with housing needs
c) provision of education & training opportunities
d) support with debt & financial management
e) facilities for scouts, guides, youth clubs / groups
f) village halls and community centres
g) general store, post office, village shop that provide the only business of that nature within the settlement area
h) sports clubs and other organisations providing recreational facilities
i) theatres, dramatic societies - the maximum amount of mandatory and discretionary relief awarded to this category will be 90%.

Any organisation applying for relief whose work involves dealing with children, young people or vulnerable adults must be able to demonstrate that appropriate checks have been carried out on staff and volunteers and that sound child protection policies are in place.

On the question of access, where a membership exists for an organisation or an entry fee is charged, regard will be had to the following

i. subscriptions or fees must not be set at a high level which exclude the general community

ii. whether fee reductions exists for certain groups e.g. under 18's, over 60's

iii. whether the organisation actively encourages membership from particular groups e.g. young people, older age groups, persons with disability, ethnic minority

iv. whether facilities are made available to people other than members e.g. schools, public sessions.

Regard will also be given to the following where appropriate

i. whether the organisation provides facilities which would otherwise not be available within the parish / local area that are available to the community

ii. whether the organisation provides facilities complementary or of a higher standard to those supported or provided by the Council

iii. the level of social membership in comparison to sport membership of an organisation, as the Council wishes to encourage active participation in sport rather than passive social activity

iv. whether the organisation is run on a voluntary basis

v. whether the organisation is registered with the Inland Revenue as a Community Amateur Sports Club - if an organisation is not registered relief will not be awarded unless reasonable justification is given.

Guidance for organisations with licensed bar facilities

Sports Clubs

Relief should be aimed at the sporting activity of the club.

Where bar income assists the overall operation and development of the organisation this is allowable provided that the organisation is still primarily a sports organisation and that such funds can be shown as providing direct support to the organisations sporting activities.

The level of relief awarded will be reduced if the net income derived from bar facilities and gaming machines expressed as a percentage of total income is 30% or greater.

If bar income is less than bar expenditure the organisation is not eligible for relief.

Other organisations

Where bar income assists the overall operation and development of the organisation this is allowable provided that this is a minor function of the organisation and that such funds can be shown as providing direct support to the organisation's activities.

The level of relief awarded will be reduced if the net income derived from bar facilities and gaming machines expressed as a percentage of total income is 30% or greater.

If bar income is less than bar expenditure the organisation is not eligible for relief.

Authority to award relief

Authority to award this relief is delegated to the Director of Finance in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate Policy (or in his/her absence the Leader of the Council).

Discretionary Relief For Rural Properties

Discretionary relief for rural properties may be granted to a business that is entitled to receive Mandatory relief. It may also be granted to a business provided that

i) it is within the boundaries of a qualifying settlement

ii) it has a rateable value of not more than £16,500 from 1 April 2010

iii) it is used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community, and

iv) it is reasonable for the Authority to make such a decision having regard to the interests of persons liable to pay council tax set by it.

Council Policy Guidelines for Discretionary Rural Rate Relief:

a) to qualify, a business should generally be that of a general store, a post office or a food shop

b) the business should generally be the only business of that nature within the settlement area

c) the business should be open to all sections of the community

d) the business should be able to demonstrate that the way it operates does not discriminate against any section of the community

e) the views of the local elected Council Member should be received

f) the business should not have more than 12 months spending available as free reserves

g) relief will be awarded for a two year period and then reviewed

h) that the interests of the individual ratepayer or an individual community must be balanced against the wider interests of the taxpayers

i) evidence should be provided to support the application

j) a copy of the previous two years audited accounts for the business should be provided.

Normally former agricultural premises, public houses and petrol filling stations would not come within this policy but each case will be treated on its merits.

Authority to award discretionary relief is delegated to the Head of Revenues in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance & Corporate Policy (or in his/her absence the Leader of the Council).