Discretionary relief for charities
Charity ratepayers are granted a mandatory 80 per cent relief from non-domestic rates where the property is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes by that charity or by that charity and other charities. They do not need to be a registered charity in order to claim the relief, but must be able to show that they are established for charitable purposes. A distinction is drawn so as to exclude from relief use for the purpose of getting in, raising or earning money for the charity.
A local authority can also give discretionary relief of up to the whole of the balance. This applies to charities and other not-for-profit bodies whose main objects are either charitable or philanthropic in another way, religious, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts.
The discretionary relief is also available where the property is wholly or mainly used for recreation by a non-profit club or society. In practice, the extent of any relief varies from one local authority to another. Where a discretionary relief has been granted and the billing authority changes its mind, it must give notice to the occupier one year in advance. The revocation will have effect at the end of a financial year.
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