Government guidance on hardship relief
Here are the points of general guidance that we consider when deciding whether to award hardship relief.
- Reduction or remission of rates on grounds of hardship should be the exception rather than the rule
- All relevant factors affecting the ability of a business/ratepayer to meet their liability for rates should be taken into account
- The 'interests' of council taxpayers in an area may go wider than direct financial interests. For example, where the employment prospects in the area would be worsened by a company going out of business, or the amenities of an area might be reduced by, for instance, the only provider of a service in the area
- Where the granting of relief would have an adverse effect on the financial interests of council tax payers, the case for a reduction or remission of rates payable may still on balance outweigh the cost to tax payers if the other interests of the council tax payers are greater
- The hardship caused to a ratepayer may be self-evident, for example where a business has been affected by severe loss of trade, due to external factors such as natural disasters. However, authorities may wish to consider how the business can demonstrate such loss of trade or business. For example, do accounts, order books, till receipts or VAT returns show a marked decline in trade compared to corresponding periods in previous years?