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Frequently asked questions about business rates

For more information on this subject, see Business Rates on the GOV.UK website.

Who has to pay the business rates?

The occupier of a non-domestic property normally pays the business rates, usually this is the owner-occupier or leaseholder. If a property is empty, the owner or leaseholder will have to pay a reduced rate.


What if I work from home?

If you work from home, the council may charge business rates for the part of the property used for work, and you will have to pay council tax for the rest of the property (although your property’s valuation band may change). It will depend on the circumstances of each case and you should contact your local Valuation Office Agency (VOA website) for advice.


What if I own a holiday home?

Unless you plan to make your holiday home available for hire for at least 140 days a year, you will not have to pay business rates on the property. You will have to pay council tax instead.


Are any non-domestic properties exempt from business rate?

Some types of property are exempt from business rates. This means that no business rates are charged for them. Exempt properties include:

  • Agricultural land
  • Fish farms
  • Churches and other places of worship
  • Sewers
  • Public parks
  • Certain property used for disabled people; and
  • Swinging moorings for boats


What if I can’t afford to pay my bill or I think it is wrong ?

If you feel you cannot pay the bill or any of the instalments, or you think the bill is wrong for any reason, you should contact your council straight away.

Do not ignore your bill, if you do not pay your bill or do not agree an arrangement with the council, further recovery action could be taken against you. This could increase the amount you have to pay.


What if I don’t pay?

If you miss an instalment you will get a reminder notice giving you seven days to bring your payments up to date. If you do not do this, or if, after a second reminder, you fall behind with your payments again, you will have to pay the outstanding balance of your business rates for the year. If you do not pay the balance, the council will probably start recovery action.


Other questions

Business Rates (GOV.UK website)


Contact us

Telephone: 020 8545 3751
Fax: 020 8545 3960

You can write to us at:

Director of Corporate Services
London Borough of Merton
PO Box No 559

We are no longer able to attend to personal visitors at the Civic Centre. You can email us anytime or telephone between 9am and 5pm.